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Old 11-04-2013, 12:10 AM   #1
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What are boats made of...

Hat are the advantages/disadvantages of wood, fiberglass, aluminum, or any other material in boat construction?
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:26 AM   #2
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Hat are the advantages/disadvantages of wood, fiberglass, aluminum, or any other material in boat construction?
How long's a piece of string?
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:37 AM   #3
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The biggest advantage I can think of with wood is its natural insulation- a wood boat will tend to be warmer than its FG or metal counterpart. Wood can also demand much more diligence in maintenance, especially in warmer climates.

One construction method to avoid would be fiberglass over wood, unless it's part of the original construction method. Putting 'glass over the wood of an older boat sounds like a good idea; what the 'glass does is seal in any moisture that may be present in the wood.

Fiberglass- light, strong, and easy to work with.
Aluminum- same.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:45 AM   #4
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A broad question, try a good boating reference handbook, like Nigel Calder`s Cruising Handbook which from p34 deals with construction materials. Your municipal library might have something.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:43 AM   #5
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FG plastic is not strong and light. It is heavy and weak.

Plywood is the strongest and lightest. Yes FG sheathed wood boats are better but will eventually de-laminate. If wood it's far better to be all wood.

But there are many kinds of strength. If your boat was to be beaten apart by waves or overloaded metal or plywood would be best. Running into a rock is a very different kind of strength. I remember when FG boats first came out they'd stand up a small boat and shoot a gun at it to demonstrate how strong it was. But FG boats are the first to fall apart if left on an exposed beach.

I think the biggest advantage w wood is lightness but that dosn't apply to most old planked boats.

Pau Hana I'm not pick'in on you .. I'm just disagreeing.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:47 PM   #6
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The reason I'm asking is that I found two boats that match my criteria. Trailerable, small enough to operate single handed, big enough to stay one or two days out. One of the boats was 1970's custom boat made out of wood apparently well keep and in good running conditions. Price was 6k. Then I saw a 98 fiberglass boat, not exactly a trawler, but something that works for me, that looked very well keep in the photos for 10K. Assuming that both are in relatively good and similar conditions. Would it be worth paying the difference for the FG.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
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In my opinion, and based upon you are asking the question, yes. Fiberglass is worth the extra money. I passed on several very nice woodies because I do not have the time to give them the love required.

Woodies are a labor of love and not for everyone.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:18 PM   #8
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If you are asking....good chances that you aren't experienced enough with wood to really want one and take care of it properly...no slam..just most boat owners are not knowledgeable enough to do so...

Fiberglass and it's variants can be extraordinarily light and strong...probably why it's used more and more in aviation....it just ahs it's limitations and cost factors so there's no real general statement that really applies.
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:28 PM   #9
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Josan89,
If you had said new wood boat I'd say wood boat but that wood boat is 40 years old.

Get a good FG boat .. Not necessarily the one you spoke of. There are good reasons most all pleasure boats are FG.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
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FG plastic is not strong and light. It is heavy and weak.

Plywood is the strongest and lightest. Yes FG sheathed wood boats are better but will eventually de-laminate. If wood it's far better to be all wood.

But there are many kinds of strength. If your boat was to be beaten apart by waves or overloaded metal or plywood would be best. Running into a rock is a very different kind of strength. I remember when FG boats first came out they'd stand up a small boat and shoot a gun at it to demonstrate how strong it was. But FG boats are the first to fall apart if left on an exposed beach.

I think the biggest advantage w wood is lightness but that dosn't apply to most old planked boats.

Pau Hana I'm not pick'in on you .. I'm just disagreeing.
And back at ya, Eric. I heartily disagree with you re FG being heavy and weak- and I believe many manufacturers would disagree as well.

As far as the OP's question- the best advice given was "If you have to ask, go with the FG boat".
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:18 PM   #11
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On another thread on likely ownership costs, the OP says the boat will likely be trailerable. Others will know if are there issues keeping a timber planked boat out of the water?
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:29 PM   #12
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Yep, most Hartley 16s (the first notable trailer yacht) all leaked like sieves as they aged.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:33 PM   #13
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But FG boats are the first to fall apart if left on an exposed beach. .
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:12 PM   #14
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Yes Walt. I was surprised when I was told that. Seems to me the source was excellent but I don't remember who it was. One wouldn't think so I admit. And of course it may not even be so.

Pau Hana that's why FG boats are so heavy. The material is so weak it requires a lot more of it to make a reasonably strong boat. Sure you can make a strong plastic boat but not w common economical materials and methods. Look at wood and FG kayaks. Wood ones are far lighter and unreinforced plastic kayaks are even heavier yet. Plastic is a very heavy material and glass fibers only solve part of that problem. Adding FG sheathing dosn't make a wood boat stronger. To objectively compare you'd need to remove 1lb of wood for every pound of plastic applied. It will make it more abrasion resistant and less likely to be holed by puncture but overall strength will be higher w/o the FG sheathing.

And planked boats should be kept in the water. Especially those w wide planks, planks of wood not very directionally stable or both. Trailer boating didn't become popular until plywood boats.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:24 PM   #15
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Worth noting, wood can rot, and fiberglass has it`s own kind of "rot", namely, osmosis.Not all boats get it, severity varies, can be costly and time consuming to fix, if present should be found at survey. Having a boat at home on a trailer would be good for a handyman who read up on how to.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:54 PM   #16
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V: What do you burn apart from witches?
P1: More witches! (P2 nudge P1)
(pause)
P3: Wood!
V: So, why do witches burn?
(long pause)
P2: Cuz they're made of... wood?
V: Gooood.
(crowd congratulates P2)
V: So, how do we tell if she is made of wood?
P1: Build a bridge out of her!
V: Ahh, but can you not also make bridges out of stone?
P1: Oh yeah...
V: Does wood sink in water?
P1: No
P3: No. It floats!
P1: Let's throw her into the bog! (yeah yeah ya!)
V: What also floats in water?
P1: Bread
P3: Apples
P2: Very small rocks
(V looks annoyed)
P1: Cider
P3: Grape gravy
P1: Cherries
P3: Mud
King: A Duck!
(all look and stare at king)
V: Exactly! So, logically...
P1(thinking): If she ways the same as a duck... she's made of wood!
V: And therefore,
(pause & think)
P3: A witch! (P1: a witch)(P2: a witch)(all: a witch!)
V: We shall use my largest scales.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:17 AM   #17
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.good chances that you aren't experienced enough with wood to really want one and take care of it properly...no slam..just most boat owners are not knowledgeable enough to do so...

Wood boat owners were seldom capable of doing the maint required to keeop the boat afloat.

Thats why boat yards were invented.

Years ago many boats over 40 -45 ft would have a :man: aboard who would clean , ventilate daily and do the minor repairs .
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:04 AM   #18
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Spy I enjoyed your witch hunt but not sure where it went.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:43 PM   #19
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I'd personally never opt for a wooden hull if boating in warm southern waters. I just don't have the time/expertise/money that is required to maintain a wooden hull. I understand that some yards won't haul wooden boats.

I was reading a book from the 1970s yesterday evening about boat building and there was a section devoted to the pros/cons of ferrocement. The idea of cement hulls seemed popular in the 1970s but never took off I presume. I've seen more ferrocement hulls on land and unfinished than completed projects in the water.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:58 PM   #20
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I've seen more ferrocement hulls on land and unfinished than completed projects in the water.

That is because on a sail boat the hull at best is 15% the cost of the boat.

Most of these folks could not afford to finish a FREE hull.
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