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Thinking of building a skiff in the 18'-20' range.

1724 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  minuteman62-64
Hey guys, first off, I know this isn't a boatbuilding forum, but I figured I'd bounce off a few questions off some who may have experience with wooden boats. So to start, I'm thinking of building a fairly simple skiff with an outboard motor and a center console. Construction would most likely be plywood. The question of a frame or stitch and glue is up in the air still. I've got a few skiffs I've been looking at on the web that I like the lines of, some of which even offer full kits to build.

So, my biggest question. Is there a market for selling wooden boats? I did a little bit of research online and found that there really isn't. I'm hoping to find some folks with a different opinion that can tell me there is a small market. I've been doing some estimations on costs to build, and the simplest skiff would cost at least 5k bucks in just materials to build not including motor or a trailer. Add both of those and you're close to 10k. Is it possible to sell a completed 18' skiff that looks great, is super functional and economically friendly for more than 10k?

The reason I ask, I'm fairly young at 22. However, have a huge interest in building boats and enjoy it greatly so far.... I've built from scratch a 16' Cedar strip canoe, that itself cost almost 1k bucks. I will be purchasing a house with a large garage/barn in the near future and am planning on building a boat in it, I would love to build many but I just don't know if I can afford it. I'm able to get the money to build a single boat, but would like to be able to sell it, and then fund a second boat which I would keep for myself.

Basically, I don't want to lose too much money since it is precious and want to build boats more than just as a hobby.

Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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I have received my building plans for an Asa Thompson skiff, I am sorting out the what to plank with ...
Hey groovy, I remember you saying in my canoe post that you were thinking of the asa thompson skiff. I'm not sure if you've taken a look at my website, but I've got a page where I documented a week long class at the wooden boat school building the asa thompson. Here is a link to the page http://www.tjgwoodworking.com/index.php/boats/asa-thompson-skiff/ I enjoyed building the boat and would build another. However, it is a bit to short for what I had in mind, I also want up to a 60hp motor.

As for planking material, at the school, we used marine grade plywood. seemed to work quite well.
Yes actually if you search bing for asa Thompson skiff your page is in the results, I am going to attempt to go all lumber / no epoxy..
Look up WoodenBoat Forum
There is a small market in my area. Very pricey stuff and usually very high end quality or antique. I live on the st Lawrence river and between there and the Adirondack mountains there is a small market but very local. Look into the antique boat museum in Clayton NY their website may have some info.
I'd go talk to the owners of some marinas if you're looking to build for sale. They'll likely be able to tell you what the market is like in your area.
Thanks for the comments, I will take a look at the wooden boat forum. I like the idea of stopping in at the marinas and talking with them to see what the market is. I live close t lake Champlain so I could see larger boats having a market. My grandfather was originally from old forge, NY and had built many ADK guideboats. I would love to build a few of those as well. I suppose smaller boats such as row boats, canoes and the like would so better where there are more lakes and bigger boats with cabins and such would do better where there is ocean access. I will look into the boat museum website too. This is the boat is like to build. http://www.bandbyachtdesigns.com/ec018.htm
wood boats

if you haven't built a boat yet. you may want to consider rebuilding and restoring an old one, first. The Wood Boat Forum is one good resource among many. The Antique and Classic Boat Society is another. Lots of links on both of them. And it is almost the season for boat shows to start popping up. I watched a one hour video twice a couple of years ago at the Chicago Boat Show. They scratch built a Gage-Hacker twin engine inboard from a pile of lumber. Pretty amazing stuff. I'm looking at restoring a 15 1/2 foot Chris Craft plywood inboard that I learned to ski behind 50 years ago. It will be a retirement project for me.
Rob, I have built a 16' cedar strip canoe. It's not a full size skiff, but it's still a boat. I will be doing repairs to the hull of a '68 26 foot ocean goer Chris Craft this spring before I get started on anything of my own though. So that should give me a little bit of hands on experience with larger boats.
nice work on your tables. You'll have fun with the boats for sure.
In this day and age you are going to find that there is very, very little interest/demand for a wooden boat of any kind. (canoes and kayaks being the exception) The only wooden boat that will sell will be a classic from years past.

If you really want to combine wood work and boat building then you need to develop your skills so that you can work on the interiors of yachts.

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The reasons for building a plywood boat in that size range would be (1) for the satisfaction of saying "I built it myself" and (2) to attain a very user specific configuration - hull or interior - not commercially available. If you are thinking of a commercial endeavor, I doubt if you can compete with the fiberglass hulls - not to mention liability issues, etc.

Best bet for building wooden boats for sale is to identify a "nitch" market (luxury yacht tenders?) and build finely crafted/outfitted boats to fit that need (all of the above IMO).
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