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Hull Material Tradeoffs: Wood/FiberglassPlastic/Aluminum/Steel

Discussion in 'Boats & Boating Equipment' started by MichaelMc, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. cerich

    cerich ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Georgia
    You can find the expertise in Chester Nova Scotia, and a couple spots in New England. doesn't much matter because you can't get the wood. Old growth is all gone and old growth wood lasts in seawater, new growth ...not so much.

    Back in the day of old growth the old wooden squareriggers could easily see a hundred years plus HARD service, even RN ships in the 17-1800's often saw 50 plus years service.

    The majority of the last of the old growth was used up by the turn of the 20th century and between WW2 and WW1 post WW2 you aren't seeing any new construction wood ships from old growth unless a VERY wealthy person or government footing the bill.
    shoredivr and couv like this.
  2. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    Dumb question. What are modern day minesweepers made out of ? I know that the Greek Navy still is busy around Crete.
  3. Wookie

    Wookie Curmudgeon Apprentice ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    Mine hunters and mine sweepers are now glass.

    Actually, look up helo squadrons HM-14 and HM-15. Mine hunters are often helo squadrons.
    Akimbo, cerich and rjack321 like this.
  4. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    The wooden boat school in Port Townsend WA also has the expertise. But they are not a commercial shipyard.

    The limited old growth on Vancouver island that is still logged is mostly cedar which isnt' suitable for knees, or planking or any of these other structural members of a boat like Conception. My point was really building any kind of charter vessel from scratch, out of wood, isnt something that could be practically done. But you are right its not just the human capital which is functionally missing but the materials.
    cerich likes this.
  5. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    The big downside, it was as labor intensive as fiberglass, and a lot of time hulls were made thicker (heavier) for strength instead of better technique. An outfit in Sacramento built them commercially back in the 70's. They were mostly made by amateurs because of cost, if you don't count labor, I don't know how that's going now because you do need good steel for reinforcement.

    If done properly, somewhere around 30', the vessel weight is around the same as a steel or fiberglass boat.

    As for longevity, there is ferrocement boats still in existence from 1848, and a costal freighter still use from 1917.

    The World of Ferroboats

    Oh yeah, the guy that started the technique also included in the patent it's use for bridges and other structures, as well. I think the other uses overshadowed the boats.

    rjack321 likes this.
  6. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    No its about 10yrs old now (2007 build date and I bought it new)
    Its made from a 5000 series alloy but I dont know the supplier or exactly which series anymore. Its from a Canadian manufacturer near Vancouver BC and I imported it myself for personal use.
  7. shoredivr

    shoredivr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ontario
    Wolf Boats? @rjack321
  8. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
  9. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
    There are so many variables, it's almost impossible to make an apples for apples comparison.

    Wood )if you could get and afford the materials, requires and incredible level of craftsmanship as well as design to build one. These skills are now getting rare. Unless it was a new build special replica I can't envisage a time where it's be used again

    Fibreglass, lends itself to making more complex forms and repeatability for a production run. There is significant investment required for molds etc, but this can be offset with volume. It has a different skill set from metal (I won't say easier, since once I spent a month assisting in laying up wind turbine blades so I could fully understand the process) But it is more repeatable.

    Aluminium is not a difficult material to work, unless you're starting to want complex curves. It just requires a different skill set and different understanding of material science. Issues highlighted up thread with corrosion, were long since solved in the aerospace sector (and now in automotive). Structural adhesives are common in use, and are stronger than rivets and in some instances welding. Over the longer term in some environments it's more durable.

    If I were to buy my own 30/40' boat I'd want Ali - but maybe that's because I understand the material better so I'm biased!
    MichaelMc likes this.
  10. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
    This is the big one.

    Remember there are regulations regarding soft furnishings in many industries. Aerospace, Automotive, Hotels, Care homes and domestic use, all have standards requiring certain flame resistance (Not the term resistance not proofing)

    As you correctly say, everything will burn given teh correct temp. The idea is to limit these materials from becoming additional fuel too quickly. Even wood (lumber) can be pressure treated

    There are products mainly used by live events, where you can spray the soft materials directly. The principle being, is that if you remove the heat source they will smolder or self extinguish - and have a fire resistance of a certain time (just like a fire door). It's generally not teh materials that combust, but the gasses they give off initially.

    Older members will remember the changes to domestic furnishings in the 60/70's? To prevent them catching fire when people dropped cigarettes or fell asleep smoking in bed.

    In principle then if say a battery or charge caught fire, on a countertop near a window with curtains, then if teh correct materials were uses, while they'd char they wouldn't coombust adding additional fuel to the fire

    The flame retardant for soft furnishings does deteriorate with age (approx 5 years) and certainly with washing/moisture. In the Theatre industry the municipality test shows regularly on a fire inspection (blow torch) but you can spray treat. In automotive and aerospace, the fabrics are presumably different.

    @Wookie will know what the regs are for fire resistance of materials on boats, not doubt it will depend on size and what is inspected or not
    MichaelMc likes this.

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