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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see a lot of threads of these boats built from plans. Not to offend anyone as I truly appreciate someone building something by hand. But why would someone want a skiff made of all kinds of materials, glued, nailed, screwed, taped and wedged together. Then covered over with resin and glass, sanded and painted. To me it seems like a lot of coverup. Something you would hate to uncover in a purchased boat. It seems more like first step in making a mold for a hull except it ends up being the hull. Explain if you like. No explanation owed to me. I build things myself too. Just curious. You wouldn’t build a front door out of scraps then glass and paint it.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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I'm mostly here for the incoming comments. BUT as a someone building a skiff I understand what you are saying yet feel that the majority of materials being used are the same or comparable to what is being used by production skiff companies.
I have no first hand knowledge of build practices from production skiff companies but I assume based on conversations from people who do have that knowledge (previous production skiff builders and engineering buddies) that the practices being encouraged by Chris Morejohn and other home builders are acceptable in terms of integrity and longevity.
 

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BBA Counselor
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Actually that's how some fiberglass doors are made.

You don't seem to fully understand the process. It seems chaotic, but once covered in glass it solidifies the entire structure so it does not matter how many parts are used. With there being a core you typically end up with a much stronger and lighter hull then you can get from a hull made of just glass and popped out of a mold. Not to mention you can get a superior hull for a fraction of the cost most times.

I think amost no one builds there own hull with resale in mind. It's to get exactly what you want, build better then a production boat, lighter, and the ultimate cool factor to say you did it.

The last part still surprises me, I still get stopped at the ramp or bait shop each time we go out. Guys are extremely impressed when they find out you built it.
 

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I definitely agree with you.. I think the government should get involved, this should not be allowed! I demand an investigation, but first we must act decisively, and rashly.

And I really think we should ban miniature dachshunds! You can’t trust ‘em, the little wiener dogs, half a dog tall and two long, it’s not right... it;s just not right!

Also, I want the letter M stricken from the alphabet.
 

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Lip Ripper
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Most home built skiffs have a complete core, foam or wood. Production skiffs have foam core but the foam is typically just cut and laid on the skin coat where there are voids and the seperate pieces are just laid next to each other instead of being glued or epoxied before they either hand lay glass or infuse it. So when you look at it, home built skiffs are actually built a little stronger than a lot of production skiffs. After going over to @bryson house and putting my hands on it, i'd trust that skiff just as much as any purchased skiff out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Firecat. I’m sure the glass skin of a door is not produced from a few guys rolling glass over wood. I’m sure the skin is a preformed skin attached to a wood structure. This isn’t meant as an insult. I really do appreciate craftsmanship. I just question if a few buddies are building a better hull than let’s say Beavertail or Hells bay. Would I like to build one. Hell yes. Have at it. Love to see one. Seems wrong, that’s why I’m asking.
 

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I would say as someone having a Conchfish built by Travis on here that I can get the same type of skiff in the case of the HB eldora for almost a third of the price that'll by alot of tackle. And in the end you know exactly who's working on the boat every day it's not Like Kevin or Mel are personally building each boat even though they're probably overseeing it as that's their reputation.
 

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Cost, Customization and self accomplishment/pride. Same feeling you get when you catch a redfish on your own compared with a guide. Individuals on this forum have the talent and capabilities to build and so they do so.

As for the first steps of a mold I would be all for a conchfish microskiff mold hull and cap!
 

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Capnredfish, you should tell Paul Spencer he is doing it wrong ;)
....or the folks @ Buddy Davis, Jarrett Bay, Shearline Boatworks, Paul Mann---the list is endless. As others have said, most of these one-offs are far stronger/ lighter than any production boat coming out of a mold w/ the exception being those production boats that are being built using kevlar, carbon inegra, and using infusion techniques. Quite frankly, Ive always looked at those being akin to driving a Ferrari that can run 300mph in the middle of New York City rush traffic--for the most part, it's just overkill and not needed.

That being said, if / when I ever complete one, I am hoping to get my ex to put it thru its first runs in case everything flies to hell.
 
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It’s just old school boat building. These guys are all doing great work and take a lot of pride in what they are doing. Most of them have plenty of guidance from the designer to help them along the way. If you’ve never been on a fully cored “wood or foam” skiff, find one and take a ride! It is a totally different feeling, the boat just feels good under foot.
 

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Panhandler
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Yep, the plethora of custom builders in North Carolina as well as Stuart, Florida (or Pompano Beach in the case of Merritt) have been producing seaworthy, high performance one-offs for years. Go to Pirate's Cove Marina, Oregon Inlet or a South Florida sailfish tournament and you'll see many still in rugged use years after being splashed. And although they haven't been around quite as long there are still plenty of Bayshores, Willy Roberts and other semi-custom flats boats in operation.

You get economy of scale with production builds and regimented quality control ideally. But it's still not the attention to detail and individual customization that you get with a "home build" or custom boatworks. I applaud the members on here doing it themselves and they'll have a quality product as a result!
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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@Capnredfish Are you talking about the difference between an "amateur" builder and a "professional" builder, or about the difference in building essentially a cold-molded boat vs. building from a mold?

If you're talking about amateur vs professional, I can assure you there's no magic that happens once you start referring to yourself as a professional. If you're talking about building methods, as a mechanical engineer that is also building a boat, I feel like I'm fairly qualified to respond, although I don't have heaps of experience with boat-building specifically. My predicable engineer response: "It depends."

Just like any other home-built projects from furniture to airplanes, it's completely dependent on the builder. I agree with you that I would be extremely hesitant buying a home-built boat from someone I didn't know, unless maybe they had meticulous photos and documentation that it was built to a certain standard. It's too easy to cut corners that can be hidden in the end product. The same holds true for production boats, but they stand to lose a lot more if their shortcuts are uncovered, so they have rigorous in-process inspections to prevent mistakes.

If built correctly, boats built from foam (like many are doing with the Conchfish) can be a stronger/stiffer or lighter product than a comparable production boat. Like @mtoddsolomon mentioned -- look at the core locations in a typical layup. A cored composite (sandwich) structure is extremely stiff/strong for its weight. On many home builds you are constructing the entire boat this way rather than the just large flat areas. The floor and bulkheads are made separately and become part of the structure, rather than a drop-in cockpit like many mfgs do (although they still typically bond the tub pretty well). Also, like @trekker said, epoxy is used on lots of home builds. Epoxy has significantly better adhesion than poly on secondary bonds, and doesn't require the use of a chop strand mat (saving weight and bulk).

Probably the biggest allure for me is that I can outfit the boat exactly how I want, and I know exactly how the construction was performed. For example, it's amazing to me how many boats come rigged with self-tapping screws everywhere. Some into core, some go into straight glass, and some may be driven into epoxy slugs, but in my opinion they are all a shortcut to some extent, one that I can refuse to take on my skiff. Same story for drain plugs and any other through-hulls, engine bolts, wire saddles, etc.

Basically what it boils down to is that I am the "company owner" and I am the customer. A small dry section of laminate or a tiny air bubble that may go unnoticed or covered up on a production line will be absolutely unacceptable on my boat. I can hold myself to exacting standards because I'm going to be the one that has to live with the boat when I'm finished. I'm the one that's going to have to fix things when they break. Imagine you're a layup guy on a boat-builder's production floor. How will the quality of your work change if you are laying up the hull with your name on it? How about if the CEO was looking over your shoulder?

Anyway, a little rambling there, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each construction method. In my opinion, the absolute most important thing is that the builder(s) must be informed, disciplined, and able. This holds true in your garage or in a production facility, and it applies to much more than just boat building.
 

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Firecat. I’m sure the glass skin of a door is not produced from a few guys rolling glass over wood. I’m sure the skin is a preformed skin attached to a wood structure.
Sir you would be mistaken. I used to order custom doors. Plenty of cheap stock ones that were popped from molds, but not the better quality customs.
 

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Are there one or two downsides to building your own small skiff? Yes there are... but they’re far outweighed by the advantages.

I actually know a bit about how most production boats are built - and most are far from perfect. Take your choice.
 

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Bryson and others see things as I have.
I built my first boat for several reasons. First, because I wanted to see an idea of mine floating. Second, was out of necessity because I could not afford a store bought one, and third because I wanted to know every inch of her.
The best performing sail or powerboats on the water today built to win or be the best are built in the same method as all the CONCHFISH skiffs being built today. It’s a time proven method that if followed will produce a far superior hull build than a production built skiff.

One of The problems I see today in many of the top skiff company’s that are infusing their hulls using core throughout and carbon or eglass in the interiors is that they are not building to time proven methods. They are side stepping procedures that will insure future hull failures. Because all the CONCHFISH builders are building in the one-off method they are insuring that they will have the best hulls built.
What’s happening is that when you build by hand one step at a time you take the time to taper all the core edges. What this does is to ensure the cloth has no hard edges to go over. But I see many top end skiff companies side step this absolutely necessary step in the haste and I feel ignorance to get hulls out the door quickly.
I say ignorance as I know that many of the owners of top store bought skiff companies have never built a skiff using their own hands ever. They are salespeople first and shop owners next.
When you see a completely cored hull that has been infused with the very expensive carbon inner skin being pulled down over the untapered cores sharpe edge this shows lack of care, and just absolutely bad building practices. The carbon or eglass skin will fracture along all these untapped edges over time. The inner skin lamination is more important than the outer skin as it’s being pushing against all the time. These fracture will not be seen at first but will show up over time as exterior stress cracks.
I can go on from here on what I see going on by these same company’s with the rest of the build. It’s a great business for the guys that fix these skiffs for the second and on owners.
The best things in the world are built by human hands.
The best boats in the world are built by people who care.
I make a fuss over details because I like to win, be the best I can be and to sleep peacefully knowing that my builds are going to be there for the long haul.
 

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I see a lot of threads of these boats built from plans. Not to offend anyone as I truly appreciate someone building something by hand. But why would someone want a skiff made of all kinds of materials, glued, nailed, screwed, taped and wedged together. Then covered over with resin and glass, sanded and painted. To me it seems like a lot of coverup. Something you would hate to uncover in a purchased boat. It seems more like first step in making a mold for a hull except it ends up being the hull. Explain if you like. No explanation owed to me. I build things myself too. Just curious. You wouldn’t build a front door out of scraps then glass and paint it.
@Capnredfish - To each his own. Keep buying production boats.

I enjoy the process of making things with my own hands. I assemble my own rods. I used to tie my own flies. I've made my own vacuum infused carbon kayak paddles. I've built my own CNC 5' x 9' router table. I've built my own microskiff. As you can probably tell, I enjoy the process as much as the results. I don't go itno any of these endeavors expecting to get mytime & money back. HOWEVER... In everyone of these activities I have built something better than I can buy and customized to my tastes and needs. On some of them I may have saved some money, but if you factor in the tools and time, then someone could easily argue I lost money. In the end I have an item and the tools to make just about whatever I want and probably just as important I have the knowledge & tools to make any repairs and improve the next creation.
 
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