Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-08-2009, 13:36   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 82
Wood Interiors - Why?

I'm a relatively new sailor interested in buying a performance cruising boat in the SF Bay area. There's one thing that I just can't understand about monohull sailboats and I was hoping y'all could help me come to terms with it.

Sailboats, particularly monohulls, seem to have primarily wood surfaces in the interior. It turns me off and I can't understand why buyers seem to prefer this. I'm sure there are some good reasons but I can't fathom them.

1) Maintenance. It seems like almost any other surface -- fiberglass, gelcoat, Awlgrip, Formica, anything -- would be easier to maintain. Old boats with wood interiors often look terrible, dark streaking where water collects, worn finishes, etc. I don't even want to contemplate fixing all those problems on my boat. Boat owners complain constantly about all the maintenance, so I don't want to sign up for more than necessary. You don't build a house with a wood veneered bathroom. Boats are constantly wet, yet the fashion seems to be wood everywhere.

2) Style. So many monohulls look like 1970s wood panelled basements. It's dark, dreary, and suffocating. I hate it, and my wife hates it even more. I guess boats that were actually built in the 70s have an excuse, but most new boats look the same way. Ironically the more you spend, the more wood you get. That's not the way people decorate their homes, why their boats?

3) Cost. I don't know much about how boat interiors are made, but I can't imagine all that wood makes it cheaper. White formica is $20/sheet and the labor is almost nil, wood veneers can be $20/sqft and the labor is breathtaking. Handmade wood cabinetry is jaw droppingly expensive in homes, can't imagine it's cheaper on boats. Plus the hull is already built out of fiberglass. Boat topsides look real good and stand up well to salt water without any wood veneer, why can't the inside of the hull be done more or less the same way?

4) Weight. Wood is heavy. Fiberglass is strong and light.

Don't even get me started on teak decking. I have never heard of anything so crazy in my life.

Unfortunately, my preferencs seem to limit my choices tremendously, particularly with used boats. So many good boats have interiors that turn me off. I don't want to limit my choices to Hanse or Aerodyne or J/Boats just because of what feels suspicously like a prejudice of mine.

So please help me -- explain to me why I am wrong and why it is correct for boat interiors to be made of wood. I want to get with the program! Or is this really just some crazy self perpetuating tradition that is making everyone's life miserable for no good reason?

Martin
__________________

__________________
Sparohok is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 13:51   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lakeland, FL
Posts: 1,296
Partly it is manufacturing tradition from the wood boat era. But mostly it’s the traditional expectations of customers and presumably this is born out by market research. In other words most buyers disagree with you on #2. Plenty of boats have been made with white largely plastic interiors, but most still have considerable woodwork because that’s what most customers want - gloom/maintenance/weight be damned. If your primary interest is performance, this probably doesn’t make much sense - but it still sells.
__________________

__________________
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
slomotion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 13:58   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
unbusted67's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Islesboro, ME
Boat: Looking for a new boat
Posts: 2,198
Images: 24
I'm sorry but I have a problem with the argument that white fiberglass makes you feel more warm and cozy than yellow pine wainscoting or a teak desk. Wood interiors are a lot more homey than other alternatives. Yes they do require more upkeep but keep in mind they are inside, not on deck getting pelted with salt water and sunlight. Don't get me wrong I have seen some pretty ugly looking wood interior on some of the cheaper production boats there is a distinct wood laminate that almost looks like plywood that I can't stand.
__________________
unbusted67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:03   #4
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,757
Absolutely. If you like being on the inside of a clorox bottle, there's always the MacGregor 65. Been trolling long?
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:15   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
There is a fair amount of tradition. Quality wood interios were really all you could get a long time ago. Woods like teak and mahogany are naturally resistent to salt water. What you see in a lot of oldboats is boats that used to be. It really wouldn't matter if they didn't have wood.

Old world craftsmanship has long been valued. One area that has changed is the move away from teak and mahaogony and to Cherry. It's a lighter wood, still hgideously expensive, and looks nice when preserved. Getting light below is a resonnmany old boats don't look so great. quality offshore ports that are big are VERY expensive. Little bitty ones are far less so.

I don't like dark interiors myself. We have a solid mahagony interior. It's from 1991 and has no marks except a few on the sole.

My problems with fiberglass and gelcoated interiors is they are all cold to the touch. They can stain as easy as anything and scratch easily too. They never age well only poorly. For what you are loking for maybe find some old J35's. The one desing boats have minimal interiors so you wouldn't be too disapointed.

Being wrong is not an isue. It's OK to like what you like, it's just most people don't agree. It's not a bad thing just a different idea. Performance cruisng boats are something of a myth. It's an easy claim but not an easy lifestyle. Most crusing boats don't require performnce because they don't travel all that often. They are homes that float and sail. They are loaded with what it takes to live on aboat and the gear for long distance travel. When forced into peformance mode it places you in a hurry - not a cruising ideal that is healthy.

I would suggest you start defining your prospective boat in more significant terms that might point you in a direction that defines boat qualities other than "no wood".

Herreshoff has a nice quote: "there are only two colors for a boat - white or black and only an idiot would paint a boat black". maybe it's an explination why most boats are white. Maybe not. Tradition is when history repeats itself a lot.
__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:18   #6
S&S
Registered User
 
S&S's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Boat: 48' 1963 S&S yawl
Posts: 851
Images: 6
Why a wood interior? That's easy: it's a match to our boat's wood exterior.

Oh and BTW, per your #4, wood has higher strength to weight than 'glass.
__________________
S&S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:30   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 4,413
Wood to most people is a warm material. It is a flexible material can can be crafted into any shape. It can be finished as matte through to mirror gloss. It is installed by skilled craftsmen and it shows and has a "hand built" feel.

Since the grains are different every boat of the same model will be unique.

I don't care for all white interiors, but our head liner is gel coat, but everything else is teak except for the counter tops. It's held up remarkably well for 24 yrs with little or no maintanence. Even the few dings give it "character".

It's also a technology that most owners can work with on their own, add to or modify and get it to look right.

I like wood interiors - even heads. Our head is all wood, looks great, has no odors and is easy to maintain.
__________________
Sandero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:35   #8
Registered User
 
2ndstar's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norfolk, VA
Boat: Herreshoff 45 Second Star
Posts: 46
Martin,
To each his own. Personally, I wouldn't consider a boat that didn't have some wood in the interior and I mean real wood, not formica. I find it adds warmth, character, beauty, and interest. I agree that some boats with poor lighting and dark wood can feel claustrophobic and dreary. I wouldn't have that either, but I certainly don't want to live in a big bathtub.

1) Maintenance of a wood interior is not significantly more than plastic.

2) Personal preference, there are obviously some people that do like it.

3) Cost, agreed. This appears to work in your favor.

4) The strength to weight ratio of most woods is greater than fiberglass.

On exterior wood, you have a point as far as maintenance, but I still prefer to have some. Teak decking has excellent nonskid properties and longevity and looks nice in my opinion. I don't have a teak deck, but certainly would consider a boat that has one.

Regards, Carl
__________________
2ndstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:42   #9
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Eastern Seaboard
Boat: Searunner 34 and Searunner Constant Camber 44
Posts: 949
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparohok View Post
Weight. Wood is heavy. Fiberglass is strong and light
Hmmm. Not so sure about that.

Perhaps you've noticed that wood floats whereas fiberglass (unless cored) is a bit heavier -- that is, it sinks.

Douglas fir is about 33 lbs/ft3; fiberglass is about 115 lbs/ft3. Water is around 64 lbs/ft3. Some folks call wood 'miracle fiber W' .. with good reason.

Besides, if you build the hull out of wood as some do, you tend to build the bulkheads out of wood. Not to huge of a jump to making the interiors out of that too since you have all (or most) the tools.
__________________
Regards,

Maren

The sea is always beautiful, sometimes mysterious and, on occasions, frighteningly powerful.
Maren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:43   #10
Registered User
 
Christian Van H's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Princeton, NJ
Boat: Challenger Anacapa 42
Posts: 2,097
Images: 57
Before completely knocking wood, I urge you to cut the end off a bleach bottle and stare inside...this is your boat without wood...
__________________
www.anacapas.com

Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women!
Christian Van H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:43   #11
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,371
Dark interiors are an issue in monohull sailboats especially. Wood is warm feeling and looks good though. I've always had an affinity to a quality piece of lumber, especially Teak, Mahoghany, flame maple, yellow cedar etc.... just cant keep from picking it up, rubbing it, smelling it etc. It's "of the earth" but it's on the water. I like the combination of the two, a large white bulkhead with teak trim and furniture is great. A formica head is superb... etc
__________________
Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 14:52   #12
Eternal Member
 
imagine2frolic's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Las Brisas Panama AGAIN!
Boat: Simpson, Catamaran, 46ft. IMAGINE
Posts: 4,508
Images: 123
There are also light colors of wood that do brighten the boat up. One of the Ford, as in car, family boats is all bamboo inside, and very light.. Everybody gets through life differently, and the suggestion of Macgergor 65 goes well with shag carpet, then there's this example...lololol....i2f
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Imagine port pantry.JPG
Views:	199
Size:	181.4 KB
ID:	9217   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAGINE SALON.jpg
Views:	189
Size:	46.8 KB
ID:	9218  

__________________
SAILING is not always a slick magazine cover!
BORROWED..No single one of is as smart as all of us!
http://sailingwithcancer.blogspot.com/
imagine2frolic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 15:06   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
nautical62's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
Boat: Beneteau 32.5
Posts: 2,264
Images: 12
I think many newer boats have less interior wood.

Having gutted most of one boat, the reason I went with wood for a rebuilding material is that it is easier to work, easier to obtain and less expensive than other materials. Personally, I think it can be made to look much nicer than many of the plastic products out there that cost much more.

Often I finished the wood with laminates or epoxy resin and glass. However, wood was still at the core of these and adding these did not make it less expensive. Your example neglected that these products are usually used over wood, not in place of it.

As Paul mentioned, aesthetics are a personal choice.
__________________
nautical62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 15:28   #14
Registered User
 
anjou's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Malvernshire, on the sunny side of the hill.
Boat: 50' steel canal and river cruiser
Posts: 1,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
I think many newer boats have less interior wood.

Having gutted most of one boat, the reason I went with wood for a rebuilding material is that it is easier to work, easier to obtain and less expensive than other materials. Personally, I think it can be made to look much nicer than many of the plastic products out there that cost much more.

Often I finished the wood with laminates or epoxy resin and glass. However, wood was still at the core of these and adding these did not make it less expensive. Your example neglected that these products are usually used over wood, not in place of it.

As Paul mentioned, aesthetics are a personal choice.

More production boats are built in modules which are craned into the open hull. The modules are cored glass. Lockers are faced with lacquered wood but it tends to be so much lighter than traditional teak or mahogany.
__________________
www.amy-artimis.blogspot.com
anjou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2009, 15:35   #15
Registered User
 
Jetexas's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Boat: 1982 Oday 34
Posts: 439
Images: 10
Martin, your boat is going to be your boat. I just got an amazing deal on one simply because most of the wood inside had been rotted. If you don't care for wood, why not take a look at some contemporary design styles and materials. You could probably get a great deal on a boat with a rather ratty wooden interior and use the money you saved to put in something more to your liking.
__________________

__________________
Jetexas is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wood with a History theonecalledtom Construction, Maintenance & Refit 1 08-07-2009 01:21
Wood help USFREIGHT Construction, Maintenance & Refit 23 26-04-2009 17:46
LEDs and wood ShadowRWolf Monohull Sailboats 19 15-12-2008 05:39
wood panelling michaelmrc Construction, Maintenance & Refit 4 27-10-2008 01:02
wood - am I nuts? Scott k Monohull Sailboats 18 28-10-2005 04:30



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 18:50.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.