Most boatbuilders will agree: when it comes to crafting a beautiful, yet functional boat, there's nothing quite like wood. Distinctive in appearance and satisfying to work with, wood is the traditional boatbuilding material. The Gougeon Brothers have dedicated nearly two decades of research, testing and product development, coupled with on-the-water experience to making wood construction the preferred choice.
From a structural and economical standpoint, wood remains the most efficient engineering material. Lightweight, yet stiff, it gives a boat greater potential for performance and stability. An excellent insulator against condensation and sound, wood's resistance to fatigue also provides lasting power against accumulated damage.
Because wood is a renewable resource, even the most expensive types are more reasonably priced than competing materials. The need for only common tools makes working with wood even more cost-effective. Most of all, wood adds a feeling of life, warmth and craftsmanship that cannot be matched by manmade materials.
There are so many good reasons for building your own boat or restoring that lovely old woodie: the satisfaction, the sense of accomplishment, the substantial cost savings. When you choose wood, your boat will truly be an expression of creativity, a source of pride and a lasting pleasure for years to come.
Problems of the past
As a boat building material, wood also has some well-known disadvantages.
Since dry wood is much lighter and stiffer than wet wood, two of wood's most desirable physical properties are diminished once it becomes water-saturated. And with a high moisture content, plus the presence of oxygen, and warm temperatures, wood becomes subject to dry rot.
The use of mechanical fasteners can also create problems. Because the effectiveness of load distribution is limited, stress concentration can collapse the surrounding wood and ultimately cause fasteners to become loose.
Practical solutions using epoxy products.
Epoxy products were developed to offset the disadvantages associated with using wood in boat-building applications.
To protect against moisture and enhance wood's natural properties, all wood parts are encapsulated with epoxy. The wood is encapsulated at its ideal moisture level, thus capturing the set standards of weight and strength that will give it the greatest dimensional stability.
Coating the wood with epoxy helps eliminate dry rot problems by maintaining a moisture level below that required by fungi activity and sealing out the oxygen necessary for survival of rot spores.
With epoxy, fasteners are replace with bonded joints. This monocoque structure approach offers a number of advantages, including uniform load distribution, improved fatigue resistance and the elimination of stress concentrations. Where fasteners are needed, such as with deck hardware, epoxy is used to provide load transfer interface, prevent the surrounding wood form collapsing and increase holding power.