Re: Reply to Laz & You To

Posted by Laszlo on Jan 30, 2005


The other (non-CLC) S&G boats I've built depended on the bulkheads, frames and possibly temporary mold frames to define the shape of the boat. The plywood wrapped around these frames formed a nice conic curve as a direct result of the frames' locations. One to three frames were all that was needed, and there was no winding or fairing. All that I had to do was the cross string check. My point is that if the boat is designed for it, the CNC cutter is not necessary, 1/8 inch tolerances are good enough, the wood can be cut with jigsaws, circular saws and patterns and your idea gets even cheaper.

Another thing that will make a small custom run less labor-intensive is a basket mold (a concept I first saw at It is used to support the hull bits while they are being stitched together and is usually made of cheap lumberyard wood. It's for larger boats or those designs like the Chessie that assume stitch first then bulkheads. Again, it gets away from the CNC investment.

So, yes, you should be able to make small production runs using S&G with minimum tooling costs.

But forget about unskilled workers. To have any chance of breaking even, let alone making a profit, you'll need workers who are motivated, very fast, use minimal materials and turn out high quality results. Remember, you'll be competing with manufacturers who make a finished kayak in 20 minutes. While your capital costs will be much less, you'll still have all the sanding, priming, painting and varnishing in addition to the hull assembly.

And there'll be the liability tail (Johnny ignored the sign and took his wooden kayak over a 20-ft waterfall where it broke in half and he drowned, obviously a case of defective materials, let's sue the kayak maker), the hazardous waste disposal, etc.

Probably the only way to survive would be to tout the boats' performance and quality and put it into the Rolls Royce niche - universally acknowledged quality and service at a premium price.

But with all that in mind, you're probably right, S&G is a good method for very small production runs.

Let us know if you open the factory,


In Response to: Re: Reply to Laz & You To by Mark Camp on Jan 28, 2005



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