The Lost Art of Wooden Boat Construction

July 8th, 2015 noahsmarine

wooden boatNothing is more relaxing than hitting the lake with your family on those long summer weekends. There’s something about the wind in your hair, the clean lake air in your lungs and growl of the boat motor under your feet as you weave and lean through the inlets and bays of your favorite lake. And nothing says classy family relaxation quite like a mahogany polished motorboat.



After World War II, when aluminum was abundant and subsequently cheap, wooden boat construction took a backseat to different material. In addition to newly-introduced material, assembly-line means of construction took precedent. And assembly lines had no room for the custom attention wooden boat craftsmanship required.



By the early 1960’s, boat manufacturers for the most part ceased wooden boat construction in favor of fiberglass, which in addition to the exponential increased affordability, was also exponentially lighter weight. Understandably, boat builders went with the cheaper material which wouldn’t compromise performance. But with this transition, collectors’ items were born.



The art of wooden boat-building has been largely lost since it requires far greater individual skill. This is the very reason wooden boat manufacturing was nearly completely phased out, and the very reason wooden boats are sold for so much more. So those having hung onto their wooden boats, allowing them to appreciate, enjoy a piece of Americana no longer built.



Fiber reinforced plastic materials are now used extensively in construction of small runabout boats to reduce weight and maximize speed when racing powerboats. But these are no substitute for the excellent craftsmanship found in wooden boat construction, courtesy of Chris Crafts or Hackercraft, we just don’t see anymore.

Written by noahsmarine

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