Thread: Wooden Boats
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:27 PM   #7
John Riddle
City: Lake Erie
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 5

Both you and Skipperdude made similar points that reflect common thinking about wooden construction, whether it's of traditional construction (ex: plank-on-frame) or one of several wood-epoxy techniques. But I think some of those points by themselves are somewhat misleading because they don't tell the whole story.

It has appeal but it's way expensive if you're talking about plank-on-frame construction and it's done properly.
Realistically, when we're talking about new wooden construction, we're usually considering wood-epoxy construction vs. traditional methods like plank-on-frame. Wooden construction is really well suited to custom builds and its cost can compete favorably with high quality construction in other materials. It can even compete with the best semi-custom production builds because of the amount of handwork involved in both cases.

A neglected wood boat can start to allow moisture to get into places it shouldn't be and then you have the potential for problems that can be a major effort and expense to fix.
That is true of any construction. Moisture is bad when it gets in anywhere it doesn't belong, regardless of the construction. I take care of 50-plus year-old wooden boats, some of which are mostly original. I've also repaired 12 year-old decks, transoms, stringers and other cored structures in fiberglass boats. Cores can be wood, balsa or various foams - it doesn't matter. When water gets in, bad things happen.

The WEST process of cold-molding and whatnot may have merit depending on the type of boat. But I don't really regard those as "wood boats." They are composite boats with resins and epoxies providing the real properties of the hull.
You're right, they are "composites" of (usually) multiple layers of wood, fiberglass or other reinforcing materials, and the resins that bond it all. One may regard them as something other than wood boats but it is the wood that gives them their great strength, stiffness, relatively light weight, and insulating properties. The epoxy (and fiberglass where it's used) serves to bond it all together into a one-piece, monocoque structure and as importantly, to keep the water out.

If you get "really rich and want a new boat", I hope you'll look me up. You clearly have knowledge and seem like a guy who could be enlightened with a little more information! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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