Buying Plywood

Hi All,  I am new to this forum, but not new to boat building. I bought plans for the Wood Duck Double and so I am looking at the pricing on the kits. I would expect the kits to come with pre-cut panels and all of the other materials. My question is regarding the costs. The kit seems pretty expensive although I know that there would be some considerations for time saved in laying out patterns and cutting, beveling, etc. A relatively quick internet search finds 4 mm 4 x8 Okoume plywood for around $50 a sheet (plus shipping) and so I'm wondering what you more experienced builders do. Do you buy kits that CLC offers or do you just buy plywood from them, or elsewhere. Any suggestions for local sourcing would be an appreciated plus, I'm in the Kansas City area (Missouri)  thanks! Chuck

6 replies:

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RE: Buying Plywood

I think the determination of plans vs. kit really is a function of how much effort you want to put in and your skill as a woodworker, and those very much influence each other.

I know the kits seem costly, but what you get is parts machined down to sub-millimeter precision, far better than I could ever do on my own. Add in the challenge of accurately scarfing plywood parts rather than puzzle joints, and the choice was clear for me.

Ultimately, it's your choice. Yes, you can do it a lot cheaper on your own, but you also have to put a value on the extra time and energy you'll spend building from scratch.

As an afterthought, CLC does sell puzzle-jointed sheets of plywood that would eliminate the pain of scarfing, if that's a middle ground you'd be interested in.

RE: Buying Plywood

Building from plans is nothing to do with the amount of effort you want to put in or your skill as a woodworker. For me, living in SW Turkey I simply can't afford the price of a kit and shipping. 

I'd love to build from a kit Chuck but it's not going to happen. If shipping to Kansas City didn't break the bank I know what I'd be doing.  I'm sure I'd get better plywood in a kit too! 

RE: Buying Plywood

áááI highly recommend you pick up the wood from clc in person. And bring me a few bottles of Arthur Bryant's sauce while you're up here.

RE: Buying Plywood

   Hi, I built a couple WD doubles with friends in my shop from plans over the last couple years. I bought 4mm okoume from Plywood and Door in Chicago, and cleaned out their inventory- they planned to stop carrying it and gave me a deal to take the rest away ($20/sheet).

I still have many sheets, and also a full set of underlayment ply patterns I made from the plans, if you’d like to use the double-sided tape and flush trim router method. I’m in Kirksville, MO, about 2.75 hours to your NE.


RE: Buying Plywood

I built a NE Dory from plans and sourced all my own plywood and other wood needed for the build. (I'm UK-based and bought the plans from the very helpful people at Fyne Boats. Fyne Boats will also sell you a complete kit).

Did I save money? Probably. Though it was a close run thing.

Was the quality of the plywood and wood I bought as good as the stuff Fyne Boats sell? Yes, but I had to work very hard to find similar quality to Fyne Boats' plywood. 

Would I build again from plans and supply my own materials? Maybe. The work involved in chasing down reliable suppliers (esp. for decent 'real' marine grade plywood in the UK) should not be underestmated.

Having said all that, I did like the idea of starting with a pile of plywood sheets/wood and eventually end up with a finished boat.

Looking back I would say the balance of advantages probably lies in buying a complete kit especially if you're a first time builder. Those with confirmed masochistic tendencies will always choose plans-only!

(Here's my build on the Fyne Boats forum):

RE: Buying Plywood

How much is your time worth?     

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