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Old 04-04-2011, 09:06 AM   #1
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Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Wooden boat maintenance is something I have zero actual knowledge of.

I know that before fiberglass boats were made of steel or wood. I know many of the issues of maintaining fiberglass hull boats. I have no clue about wooden boats though.

Thinking about a wooden boat hull.

How is the outside of the hull sealed?

What types of finishes are used, and how long do they last?

What types of wood are used for the hull, for the stringers, and for the deck.

Thanks very much...Kevin
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:54 AM   #2
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Oh my! So much to tell and so little time. Been there and done that for 22+ years. My advice is to start reading every issue of WoodenBoat Magazine you can get your hands on. They have had articles on just about any topic imaginable to do with wood boat construction and maintenance.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:32 AM   #3
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

That is really hard to discuss as there are many different kinds of wood hulls.* We have several wood hulls boats in our marina, and I just post Under Ugly Boats a site for older classic boats.* A lot depends on the type of hull construction and how they have been maintained.* Also its hard to find financing and insurance and many marines if the boat is not in good condition will not take them as there is a lot of cost and time required to maintain a wood boat which many owner do not have the time and money.
*

If you could be more specific as to what boats, make/model year, the area*and salt or fresh water, *we could be more informative.* For what is worth I would not buy or take on a wood hull boat unless it was dry dock/stored and/or on a trailer.* The coat of buying a wood boat is very attractive but they take a lot of cash/funding to maintain which will probable cost you more in the long run.*
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:53 AM   #4
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

ksanders,Phil,

Most wood boats need to be stored IN the water. Plywood and a few others are exceptions. If a planked wood boat is hauled it must be relaunched in a month or so as the planking will shrink up, the seams will open up and when launched will leak a lot for a day or two even though properly caulked and painted.

ksanders,

See your PM for my phone # for more info on wood boats.
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #5
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
dwhatty wrote:
Oh my! So much to tell and so little time. Been there and done that for 22+ years. My advice is to start reading every issue of WoodenBoat Magazine you can get your hands on. They have had articles on just about any topic imaginable to do with wood boat construction and maintenance.
********* I totally agree, Owning a boat and owning a wooden boat are two different hobbies.* Most people who enjoy wooden boats feel just as content maintaining them as actually using them.* It also helps to be in an area where wooden boats are understood, otherwise you will feel like you do not belong, and will spend a lot of time telling people why you have a wood boat.

********* A well constructed wood boat that is in great shape is a joy to own. They usually are pricey to buy.

**********JohnP

*
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:30 PM   #6
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Ditto all of the above.

On inspection, bring an icepick.* Probe.* Find soft spot, walk away.* Expect plywood to either have fallen apart, or to be in the process of falling apart.* Unless it is encased in epoxy glass.

The ideal?* I looked at the Lady Faye, a Malahide before I took on Delfin's refit.* She was contructed of 3" teak over 6" steamed oak frames.* Fastening is also super important.* The ideal is silicon bronze, although clenched copper is also pretty good.* Galvanized fastening will need to be replaced, now or later, one fastener at a time of most all of them.

If you own a wooden boat, you will leak, but that is not that big a deal, just a reality of slow seepage, unless you buy the boat described by Farley Mowatt in "The boat that wouldn't float".

The absolute best comment on this thread so far is JohnP's:* Owning a boat and owning a wooden boat are two different hobbies

Now there's a man who's owned a wooden boat!
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:23 PM   #7
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
ksanders wrote:

Wooden boat maintenance is something I have zero actual knowledge of.*

I know that before fiberglass boats were made of steel or wood. I know many of the issues of maintaining fiberglass hull boats. I have no clue about wooden boats though.

Thinking about a wooden boat hull.

How is the outside of the hull sealed?

What types of finishes are used, and how long do they last?

What types of wood are used for the hull, for the stringers, and for the deck.

Thanks very much...Kevin
Hi Kevin
*
With all due respect, from the statements you made and questions you ask, re caring for a wood boat... I strongly recommend you locate a fiberglass boat you like.* *
*
That said, youd need to be and may well be a very fast learner and would enjoy accomplishing ongoing repeat efforts and upgrades toward wood care.* Wood is great; I know having worked for years on many wood craft in boatyards for the first decades of my life.* But! A good fiberglass boat is 10 times easier to care for and 20 times less work effort than a woody needing repairs; therefore its a whole lot more fun... in my opinion!* Thats why I own a real nice fiberglass Tollycraft, even though I know how to take care of wood boats pretty darn well.
*
Although most wood boats*are now extremely inexpensive, the cost of maintenance and repair could become very, very expensive... that is if you cant do the repairs yourself and can even locate any Boatwright that will still work on (or even still has the tools available for) a wood hull or superstructure.* At todays depressed boat prices there are plenty of fiberglass craft in good condition for reasonable prices.* Some of them the current owner simply no longer uses and wants to get out from under ownership and the resulting dock/storage fees.*
*
Dont be afraid to offer really low prices... ya never know... what a fiberglass boat owner may accept could surprise you!* BTW My rule of thumb regarding old, out of shape wood boats in todays depressed economy, if you can find one with good bones and decide to fall in love with it and take on the task of its upgrade with continued maintenance.... Unless the wood boat is in pristine condition to begin with its only worth about 10% of the price of a comparable very good condition fiberglass boat.* However, if its built correctly by a good boat builder, and its in great condition then a wood boat is worth whatever the buyer decides to pay for his upcoming love affair with a wood craft!
*
Whatever boat you buy... take your time... visit many boats first and make comparisons.* Ask many questions and be careful to do your homework.* Then if you really like one, make sure a recent survey is available from a certified surveyor.* If its a wood boat be sure the surveyor is not too young to fully understand wood boats and that he or she has experience from several previous wood boat surveys.* Also, be sure to have the surveyor have seen it on the hard and for you (surveyor too if possible) to take a prolonged sea trial before purchase.*
*
Once you locate your new boat - - > Have a kick A$$ time!* Happy boating to you and yours! - Art

*
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
Art wrote:
ksanders wrote:

Wooden boat maintenance is something I have zero actual knowledge of.*

I know that before fiberglass boats were made of steel or wood. I know many of the issues of maintaining fiberglass hull boats. I have no clue about wooden boats though.

Thinking about a wooden boat hull.

How is the outside of the hull sealed?

What types of finishes are used, and how long do they last?

What types of wood are used for the hull, for the stringers, and for the deck.

Thanks very much...Kevin
Hi Kevin
*
With all due respect, from the statements you made and questions you ask, re caring for a wood boat... I strongly recommend you locate a fiberglass boat you like.* *
*
That said, youd need to be and may well be a very fast learner and would enjoy accomplishing ongoing repeat efforts and upgrades toward wood care.* Wood is great; I know having worked for years on many wood craft in boatyards for the first decades of my life.* But! A good fiberglass boat is 10 times easier to care for and 20 times less work effort than a woody needing repairs; therefore its a whole lot more fun... in my opinion!* Thats why I own a real nice fiberglass Tollycraft, even though I know how to take care of wood boats pretty darn well.
*
Although most wood boats*are now extremely inexpensive, the cost of maintenance and repair could become very, very expensive... that is if you cant do the repairs yourself and can even locate any Boatwright that will still work on (or even still has the tools available for) a wood hull or superstructure.* At todays depressed boat prices there are plenty of fiberglass craft in good condition for reasonable prices.* Some of them the current owner simply no longer uses and wants to get out from under ownership and the resulting dock/storage fees.*
*
Dont be afraid to offer really low prices... ya never know... what a fiberglass boat owner may accept could surprise you!* BTW My rule of thumb regarding old, out of shape wood boats in todays depressed economy, if you can find one with good bones and decide to fall in love with it and take on the task of its upgrade with continued maintenance.... Unless the wood boat is in pristine condition to begin with its only worth about 10% of the price of a comparable very good condition fiberglass boat.* However, if its built correctly by a good boat builder, and its in great condition then a wood boat is worth whatever the buyer decides to pay for his upcoming love affair with a wood craft!
*
Whatever boat you buy... take your time... visit many boats first and make comparisons.* Ask many questions and be careful to do your homework.* Then if you really like one, make sure a recent survey is available from a certified surveyor.* If its a wood boat be sure the surveyor is not too young to fully understand wood boats and that he or she has experience from several previous wood boat surveys.* Also, be sure to have the surveyor have seen it on the hard and for you (surveyor too if possible) to take a prolonged sea trial before purchase.*
*
Once you locate your new boat - - > Have a kick A$$ time!* Happy boating to you and yours! - Art

*

*Oh, I'm not actually considering a wood boat. This was really just for information only.

*
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:25 PM   #9
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

I really shouldn't get involved here as for me boats are made of wood and I mean solid wooden planks not strip plank or plywood.
All other vessels are just containers that keep the water out.
I still have my adze, caulking hammer, caulking irons , clinching tools for carring out the odd repair.

Now don't take me too seriously all you owners of waterless containers.

Benn
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:20 AM   #10
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

The key rule for a wooden boat is wet/dry wood ROTS.

So the smallest leak , or drip , a drop a week , places the boat in great danger.

The leak will wet the wood and as it dries out it passes thru the dry rot moisture zone.

Solution is easy for a liveaboard , no leaks.

But for a non liveaboard its a challenge.

The biggest hassle is after the boat has wood that needs replacement , finding proper dried wood , and a skilled person to do the repair is very difficult, and expen$ive.
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:21 AM   #11
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
Tidahapah wrote:I really shouldn't get involved here as for me boats are made of wood and I mean solid wooden planks not strip plank or plywood.
All other vessels are just containers that keep the water out.
I still have my adze, caulking hammer, caulking irons , clinching tools for carring out the odd repair.

Now don't take me too seriously all you owners of waterless containers.

Benn
Hi Benn - Glad to learn you've kept your wood working tools!* Wood work*can be*greatly satisfying, and, some wood boats are the finest built craft.* Sounds like yours is a great craft.
*
Having taken nearly three decades leave of absence from my early-years of 2.5 decades of consistent New England boat/sea life, when in 2004 I decided to enter Pleasure Boat Life in SF Bay Area, having worked my young years in boat yards on wooden boats and often cruised the North*Atlantic coast on some*great woodies, I thought Id NEVER own a Clorox Bottle - LOL.* But upon four (4) years of intense research, before purchasing a low hour twin screw, 34 tri cabin, 1977 fiberglass Tollycraft (in August 2008), and having looked closely at many, many wood boats... I must admit that when I thought of all the work I used to perform (when much younger) on wood boats, compared to the obvious Tollycraft ease of fiberglass care... I relinquished my wood boat love and decided to tool around on a Plastic*"Clorox Bottle"!*
*
BTW Mid 1970s Tollycraft are built like a tank and laid out really nice.* Tolly are the best built (superior, thick fiberglass layup rugged as heck, with a thick gel coat finish) and laid out well (spacious) mid 30 footer fiberglass boat I could find, and, although other fiberglass mfgs also made some real nice craft... I checked on Hatteras, Bertram, Chris Craft and others... Tolly won!* For comparison, shortly after buying the Tolly, I also bought a great condition 1973 31 Uniflite sedan sport fisher.* Used it often too for nearly a year.* Kept the Tolly, sold the Uni... Uniflite is nice... Tollycraft is great! *Longer I own the Tolly the more I love it!* And believe me, Im the kind of guy that gets real close and personal with every portion of my boats... basically, I do all the maintenance, repair, installations of new gear and anything else needed on my boats!* I learned in young years of boating... If you want to make darn sure its done right then ya better do it yourself!**
*
6,000 + year...TIME LINE!
*
4352 BC thru 1948 AD Boat Definition: A hole in the water... Usually surrounded by wood...* Into which one throws time and money!
*
1949 thru 2011 Boat Definition: A hole in the water... Usually surrounded by wood*or fiberglass... Into which one throws*time and money!!
*
Boat definition aint changed much in over 6,300 years lmao!!*
*
Happy Boating! Art

*
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:51 PM   #12
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

I think you guys are way over the top painting the wood boat like some kind of monster that's going to turn pleasure boating into drudgery. I know wood is'nt that bad. If I had to choose between a FG boat w a rotten deck core, Rotten stringers, blisters, craising on the cabin and decks and a wood boat that was surveyed as in fair condition for an older boat I'd take the wood boat in a flash. If you need to have a boat that's a yacht club head turner like Walt's then you better get a FG boat but if you're fine w a boat that looks a bit used and dos'nt require dark glasses at close range a wood boat is fine. Some of you think you know all about wood boats and you don't. Consider paint. At least 99% of you go down to the store and buy very expensive marine paint or plastic coatings that require great amounts of preparation and careful application and after all that you only get a season or two to show for all your money and work. At that time you have the horrific job of stripping the old finish off (some of it extremely well adhered to you're boat) and then do the refinish ordeal all over again * * ....and in a year or two??? How often do you paint your house? Most of us expect to get at least 10 years and 15 or 20 is not out of the question and that's with NO MAINTANANCE. Most wood boats are fine if you keep up with the window leaks, support them properly, maintain them with traditional materials and expect them to look like a good average wood boat. Choose a boat w NO teak and NEVER put any fiberglass on it. But even if you do well w your wood boat she won't be able to reward you when it's time to sell.*
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:24 AM   #13
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

If I had to choose between a FG boat w a rotten deck core, Rotten stringers, blisters, craising on the cabin and decks and a wood boat that was surveyed as in fair condition for an older boat I'd take the wood boat in a flash.

You are not describing a GRP boat , more like a TT "composite" that was built for its interior carpentry..

A genuine GRP, hull, deck , cabin, PH solid fiberglass boat , built with no core , or a proper marine core can sit unloved for a decade or two (plenty here in FL ) and be restored to dry inside simply by re-bedding everything.

A woodie in similar conditions would have to be sent to the landfill , after it was raised.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:10 AM   #14
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

My 1983 IG has a solid glass hull. a solid glass cabin and flybridge-no plywood.

Teak trim (some varnished, some bare) teak transom overlay. And a teak deck.

The hull has simulated plank lines it was painted (PO did it)* It is no longer bright and shiney, but not yet chalky.

I can't tell you how many dock walkers compliment me on how nice I keep my WOODEN BOAT.** It makes my day.* I am easy like that.** JohnP
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:03 AM   #15
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
JohnP wrote:
My 1983 IG has a solid glass hull. a solid glass cabin and flybridge-no plywood.

Teak trim (some varnished, some bare) teak transom overlay. And a teak deck.

The hull has simulated plank lines it was painted (PO did it)* It is no longer bright and shiney, but not yet chalky.

I can't tell you how many dock walkers compliment me on how nice I keep my WOODEN BOAT.** It makes my day.* I am easy like that.** JohnP
*John:

Interesting that your boat is solid cabin and flybridge. I had occasion to drill a hole in the side of the cabin (just aft of the helm door) on ours last year and it was a thin layer of ply sandwiched heavily by glass. Same with the flybridge sole/cabin overhead. The sides of the flybridge appear to be solid. The hull definitely is solid. Different builder on its own using a different layup schedule or change in Halvorsen's specs for the builder? Wonder how how much latitude a builder is given in how they do the layup?

*
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:15 AM   #16
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Hey guy's ,

I think you're definition of "solid" needs some clarification. It's possible there is only one brand on this forum that dos'nt have timber reinforced hull bottoms and they almost all scum to water ingestion and rot over time. John, if your cabin has no wood reinforcement it is unusually heavy or weak. FG lacks stiffness and plywood has lots of that and that's why is's use is nearly universal. Foams that deliver the stiffness (like airex) are very expensive and take time to install. Airex core is the best FG construction but so expensive it's not used on production boats. FF says; "You are not describing a GRP boat , more like a TT "composite"". That's what most all of the boats on TF are. I don't think the Albin 25 has wood structures inside but I don't know of any others.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:30 AM   #17
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
nomadwilly wrote:
Hey guy's ,

I think you're definition of "solid" needs some clarification. It's possible there is only one brand on this forum that dos'nt have timber reinforced hull bottoms and they almost all scum to water ingestion and rot over time. John, if your cabin has no wood reinforcement it is unusually heavy or weak. FG lacks stiffness and plywood has lots of that and that's why is's use is nearly universal. Foams that deliver the stiffness (like airex) are very expensive and take time to install. Airex core is the best FG construction but so expensive it's not used on production boats. FF says; "You are not describing a GRP boat , more like a TT "composite"". That's what most all of the boats on TF are. I don't think the Albin 25 has wood structures inside but I don't know of any others.
*No timber in my bottom. Solid glass. Now the stringers are probably a different story.

*
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:44 AM   #18
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
dwhatty wrote:
*I had occasion to drill a hole in the side of the cabin (just aft of the helm door) on ours last year and it was a thin layer of ply sandwiched heavily by glass. Same with the flybridge sole/cabin overhead. ......
* * * * I've been told by those in the know that the 32 IG & Gourmet cruisers are solid FG, no coring. Like dwhatty, after mounting my EPIRB, cup holders ( rod holders (in the gunnels) etc, I have seen wood chips come out of evey hole I've drilled. When I replaced the horns on the cabin top, I had the same results. Wood chips. Having said this, I have to wonder what "people in the know" mean when they say that these boats are "solid FG, no coring."

*I'm not complaining, mind you, as they are great little trawlers. I just want to know what "no coring" means. To me it means, no coring of foam, wood or anything else!
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:30 PM   #19
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
nomadwilly wrote:Hey guy's ,
I think you're definition of "solid" needs some clarification. It's possible there is only one brand on this forum that dos'nt have timber reinforced hull bottoms and they almost all scum to water ingestion and rot over time. John, if your cabin has no wood reinforcement it is unusually heavy or weak. FG lacks stiffness and plywood has lots of that and that's why is's use is nearly universal. Foams that deliver the stiffness (like airex) are very expensive and take time to install. Airex core is the best FG construction but so expensive it's not used on production boats. FF says; "You are not describing a GRP boat , more like a TT "composite"". That's what most all of the boats on TF are. I don't think the Albin 25 has wood structures inside but I don't know of any others.
Regarding wood that is incorporated as sub strata or fillers into fiberglass boats, between fiberglass layers or otherwise utilized in fiberglass building methods:
*
Tollycraft is my choice!
*
Were the proud 2<sup>nd</sup> owners of an extremely well cared for 1977 34 Tollycraft tri cabin.* The original British owner loved his Tolly, utilized a top boat-yard and a great mechanic for care of his Tolly, and, at 92, in 2008 he had to leave the water.* As well as continuing the care on our fine Tolly, and even instituting some improvements, I also deeply study Tollycrafts history and am often conversant with many Tollycraft owners as well as with Gordon Graham who for over 2 decades had been the lead purchasing manager for Tollycraft Company.* He and wife Patsy live minutes from Mr. Robert Merland Tollefson himself (who turned a healthy 100 this year) and they occasionally visit him to sip some Cutty Sark, Mr. Tollys favorite.* Gordon Grahams website is the pivot point for Tollycraft parts, many sales of all sizes and years of Tolly boats, and just some good ol conversation with Gordon if ya want to learn something re Tolly building practices or company history.* Gordon IS a champ!* His website: http://www.tolly-classified.com/* I recommend you visit the site and be sure to listen to the whole Tollycraft song talk about relaxing and simply the way we boaters want/need it to be!!!* Yup... Im deep into enjoying Tollycraft boats and the near cult like group of Tolly owners!
*
A little Tolly history: As with any boat builder company over a long period of construction, Tollycraft production methods went through numerous gyrations during the companys 50 + years.* Originally, as Mr. Tollefson is a fine carpenter and cabinet maker, all Tolly were wood.* In mid to late 60s they went to cold lam.* My beginning 70s Tolly was well into solid fiberglass construction. ***Early 70s to late 80s the originator, Robert Merland Tollefson, was strongly at the helm of production and demanded nothing but the finest materials and best building methods.* You could say he was a fanatic about building the best production boat in the world, and for a couple of decades he was successful at it!* By saying that I dont mean to imply that other year Tollycraft were not also built to very high standards... because they surely were.* But, in the 70 and 80s the boating industry was doing exceptionally well with sales galore and continually tall annual profits; that is why Mr. Tolly himself could afford to demand nothing but the very best in materials and building methods!* In the 90s, not too long after Mr. Tolly retired, the company experienced financial problems and was kept alive by further investment but eventually succumbed to changing times and closed its doors for good in late 90s.* I wrote a multi page poem about the history of Tollycraft and Mr. Tolly.* Gave two bound copies to Gordon Graham and he hand delivered a personalized copy to Robert Tollefson.* PM me your email address if youd like to read an attachment of the poem. *
*
So... regarding wood (or the lack of it) in our nearly 100% fiberglass 1977 34 Tolly tri cabin...
*
1.****** Hull is solid hand laid fiberglass of the finest web/mesh and resin available, no filler at all.* Bottom is approx 1.25 thick / sides approx 1 / transom approx .75 / keel solid fiberglass / bow stem solid fiberglass
2.****** Stringers are high quality foam core used as a mold for hand laid resin impregnated fiber mesh intricately woven into the hulls fiberglass construction.* Approx thickness of stringer top and sides .75 real solid units, no flex here!
3.****** Main deck is high quality foam cored with multi layered hand laid fiberglass top and bottom
4.****** Superstructure walls are solid fiberglass and some foam cored fiberglass
5.****** Sun desk and fly bridge decks are foam cored and fiberglassed top and bottom
6.****** Fly bridge sides, front and console are solid hand laid fiberglass
7.****** Swim step is mostly solid, thick fiberglass with a bit of foam core
8.****** Full railings and stanchions surround every deck and on bridge top and sides as well as all four ladders are 1 SS round stock
9.****** Forward and rear bulkheads under salon floor that create step downs into master and fore peak state rooms and the wall and floor for anchor rode are marine grade plywood
*
There are only five minor sized locations on our Tolly where exterior wood at all exists or is exposed to the elements: One is 1.5 x 2.5 full length spacers at the junction where the fly bridge sides bolt onto the salons top.* One is where the sliding doors on either side of salon meet their forward casement area.* One is both sliding doors themselves.* One is the front hatch cover.
*
Long and short of it... Our 1977 Tolly is basically 100% fiberglass with NO wood fillers that could rot between fiberglass layers and the foam sub strata sometimes used is of the highest quality.* Maintenance and upkeep is simply a breeze on our Tollys exterior, interior, engine compartment (a very roomy area under two large salon floor hatches) and its bilge throughout!* Also, she has two large heads, one in each stateroom; with electric flush toilet, H/C sink, shower apparatus, mirror and plenty of cabinets.
*
Happy Boating!* Cheers!!* Art *
*
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Old 04-06-2011, 02:53 PM   #20
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Vessel Model: Tollycraft 34' Tri Cabin
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re: Tell Me About Wood Boat Maintenance

Quote:
Willy wrote:Invader the old fishboat is a com[letely different vessel. Shelf plank construction. planked and framed in a "mold" with no calk and fastened from the inside. She has beams inside and out along the hull thast keep her very stiff. Ice sheathed with iron wood fastend with SS. Galvinaized fastenings for all other. Yellow cedar hull , red cedar decks, oak frames, ironwood keel etc.*
Willy - I love your "Invader" hull design!* Cool superstructure too!!* Brings back memories of some boats during my*Atlantic years in New England waters.**Hull like yours*slice through water and ride the waves.**I recall that hull type as very seaworthy and fun to pilot*too!* Built like a*tank.*- Enjoy! Art*

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