Wooden boat- building or restoring

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by aspetuck, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. aspetuck
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: CT

    aspetuck New Member

    I was looking into restoring a wooden sailboat, about 20-30'. I would love to fix a basket case, but I was wondering...
    With some of these you'd have to completely take it apart, and replace most of it anyway. Would it be cheaper/faster to construct a new one from plans? If I was to do this project by myself as much as possible, about how much might each option cost? How long would one take?
     
  2. Yellowjacket
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 611
    Likes: 90, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 447
    Location: Landlocked...

    Yellowjacket Senior Member

    If the boat isn't in good shape it takes more than twice as long to restore it than it would if you just started from scratch. Been there and done that.

    First you have to tear it down, then you have to replace what is damaged, and then you have to put it back together.

    If the damage isn't that bad and a total rebuild isn't required, then the refurbishing can be a good deal. The trick is to buy it right.

    The biggest problem with refurbishing is that you generally find more things wrong that you didn't know were there and didn't factor into the price. Old paint can cover a lot of rot and damage and that's where the job starts to get a lot bigger.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. aspetuck
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: CT

    aspetuck New Member

    If I was to build, by my self, a boat along the lines of a Herreshoff S class, with basically no interior but good sails and wood, about how much might that cost?
     
  4. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 139, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    Building a boat yourself is almost the most costliest way to get yourself a boat, even if you do not count your time. Buying a new professinally built boat could be approximately the same cost, save a lot of time and likely would be made better.

    Most cost effective is to buy one that was restored by someone else who had to sell it after it was completed.

    If you find one is good structural condition that just has a lot of deferred maintenance, refinishing in places, etc. it might be a reasonable thing to do, if you buy right. One of the best buys would be someone who started a restoration, has bought all of the replacement fittings, sails, engine, appliances, etc but wants to unload an unfinished project for various reasons: lost interest, ill health, divorce, etc. There are many abandon boats in boat yards that can be purchased for the back fees alone, many seaworthy boats that can be bought in marinas for the back slip fees.

    I once ran across a beautiful 36 ft danish built deep water cruiser that was all rebuilt and refinished except the deck still needed to be finished, all new sails and rigging, rebuilt diesel engine, and with all the interior fittings and fixtures, all complete except it had to be put back together since it was taken apart for the refinishing. All for only $2000, or the owner would be willing to "work something out" so he can see it on the water. the owner had started it as a retirement project, took too long but spared no expense, his health took a serious turn for the worst and realized he was not even well enough to sail it. He was hoping someone would take it, finish it and put it back in the water just so he would know all his hard work would could benefit someone. It was rather heartbreaking, he just wanted to see it sail before he passed away.

    The engine alone was worth that. I would have considered it if it was not still a lot of work to get it all back together (a sailboat "kit"), and I did not have a place to put it. renting a shop out of the weather and having it moved would have been costly. And there was likely still 1000 hours or more worth of work, and I was still supporting a family and needed to work many hours at the time. No time and no money. Once completed I can see it worth one hundreds times that cost, easy.

    they are out there. There are many neglected boats available for nothing, or next to nothing. I have been offered complete boats for free, even a 42 ft seaworth ketch (the owner was living on it). he was tired of doing the maintenance on it and wanted to move back into a land based home. But many boat owners say the boat you can afford least is the "free" one, so be wary, do not over spend. You might try restoring a 14 to 16 ft wood day sailor or dingy and see if you have it in you to get it done. If not you did not spend too much money.

    Good luck.
     
  5. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 745
    Likes: 64, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 512
    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    I don't know how old you are, your level of experience, health and physical fitness or financial position. I'd suggest that if you want to rebuild a "basket case" you should think long and hard about it. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.

    This spring my 27', 1973 Silverton sedan, finally goes into the water after 8 years of work. Keep in mind that this boat sports a robust fiberglass hull, which I had to do literally no work on. The boat was very well cared for, the engine/transmission in good shape with 1000 hour on the clock. The rest of the boat was shot. Rot everywhere. So I decided to do a complete restoration. Decks, cabin, electrical, plumbing, even stringers needed replacement. I learned as I went along and stayed true to the original design, only making modifications in a couple of places where it was obvious that the original scantlings were too light for the job.

    I took my time and worked on it as a hobby. I'm retired and work part time and have summers off so I have time to do this. Could I have pushed harder and finished the boat in say 4 or 5 years? Sure, but that would have taken the fun out of it.

    All together I have about $43,000 invested in this project. Included in that total are the yard charges over the past years, all materials and tools/supplies that were needed to complete the project. I've made no allowance for my time.

    Was it "worth it" for me? Overall I'd say yes, but I was fifty when I started it and at fifty eight now, I wouldn't do another, as I'm not sure how strong I'll be in my mid sixties. Keep in mind that I always liked building things. Models as a kid, radio controlled aircraft as an adult. I always enjoyed butchering wood and built decks and remodeled kitchens and baths and did all kinds of home repairs over the years. I'm the kind of guy who would rather pull the fuel tank on his truck and replace the fuel pump himself just for the fun of it. Maybe I'm nuts.

    Come to think of it you need to be a little eccentric to tackle a boat restoration.

    Think about it.

    MIA
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 471, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's much easier to cut, install and then finish a piece then it is to remove it, without tearing it up too badly, repair or restore it, stripping the old finish, putting on a new one, then reinstalling it, will not tearing up anything else in the process.

    This said, the decisions is yours and only you can access your tools, space allotment, time, skill sets, etc. As a rule restoration takes longer and costs more, but there's a level of satisfaction involved too, but the intrinsic value of bringing an old gal back to life.

    Access you skill set and have a hard look at your budget, which are the two major considerations for this type of adventure's success.
     
  7. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 139, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    Par,

    You assume every peice would have to be removed. If that was the case than that boat would NOT be worth restoring. If all you had to do was strip old paint and apply fresh paint, that would be less work and way less cost than building a new boat. Removing a few bad parts and replacing them is also much less work than building every part on a new boat. So there is some point where renovations and repairs are worth doing, but that point is quickly exceeded, particularly when a project is taken on without careful consideration due too much enthusiasm or strong feeling of nostalgia.

    Think it can be much simpler: add up all the costs you estimate, and all the labor you think it will take at a fair wage, than double them (which often is still not enough); than figure what a reasonable finished value for this boat would be on the market. Most project boats fail that test miserably. And most times costs will be triple or even higher than estimated.
     
  8. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 745
    Likes: 64, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 512
    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    PAR & Petros both make good points. On one hand Paul (PAR) speaks to the adventure of bring an old gal back to life. On the other hand Petros seems a bit more analytical in his thinking. Both perspectives are equally valid, albeit from vastly different vantage points.

    I'd add this. A key consideration for me was the design of the boat I eventually ended up restoring. I wanted some headroom, at least 6'3" in the cabin. I wanted dual stations. I wanted side decks I could actually walk on without fear of falling off the boat. I wanted a single engine. I wanted it in a small package, under 30' so I could easily handle the boat alone.

    I couldn't find anything with these attributes in a new or newer production boat. So I decided it was worth it to restore an older design that had the attributes that I valued. I probably could have had a one off built, but I just didn't want to go that route.

    There are many aspects to consider. That's why pondering for awhile is a good idea.
     

  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 471, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum and the realities of restoration.

    One thing that is assumed, which I should have mentioned and is likely the most difficult aspect of this type of work, is determining if the project is worth the trouble. This can be a can of worms if you're not particularly familiar with the type, the build method, etc. You go into it looking to repair a few frames and toss on some new bottom planks, but once you get into her a bit, you realize most of the frames are done, floors too, maybe some stringers, carlins are shot, all the finishes need redo, plus half the topside planking, maybe some new deck and house coverings, etc. This is the butt kicker and a difficult thing to recognize initially, without considerable experience (and previous bath taking, while you learn).
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.