About wooden boats

Wooden boats, particularly plywood with the aid of modern epoxies and fabrics, make it possible for the amateur to build a boat that is not only the equal to but, in many respects, superior to, mass produced fiberglass boats available on the market. Fiberglass is an excellent material for boats but does suffer from drawbacks for the home builder as well as performance disadvantages. Home building of fiberglass boats is very seldom attempted because of the problems related to one-off production, the main one being the necessity of building a mold and the plug from which the mold is built. The performance disadvantages stem from the fact that fiberglass is much heavier than wood. This causes the builder to resort to exotic materials and techniques to match the weight objectives that are relatively easily met with plywood and epoxy.

Because wood is much less dense than fiberglass, wooden boat parts can be made much thicker than glass counterparts at the same or lighter weight. In most boat hull parts, stiffness is a most important characteristic. In most cases, if required stiffness is achieved, other strength characteristics are guaranteed. This means that the fiberglass builder must resort to things like lightweight core sandwich materials to meet the stiffness needs or accept either heavier scantlings or floppy hull panels. The result is that, in order to be commercially viable, most fiberglass boats are much heavier than they would be if built with plywood/epoxy/glass like the Bluejackets.

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