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Phil_B

What boat builder for manufacture of a custom designed shell?

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Just now, dmr said:

I can see you point of view, but boat building is a craft, its not really engineering.

Apart from the fabricators who turn their hand to welding a boat kit together when the workshop is quiet on orders for steel tanks.  They will take a "Tab A into Slot B" kit of lasercut parts and deliver you a shell.  Good luck getting them to then do custom modifications to the plan they paid for.

 

4 minutes ago, dmr said:

I expect many builders have their own "special" method of forming the shapes, pull a bit, stand back and look, pull a bit more, yes, that looks right, weld it in place.

Yep, all the ones I know do this.  I don't know if @Phil_B is aware that most of them mark the windows out with chalk then cut them out of the steel cabinside, rather than "build" window apertures like you would in a house.

 

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Have a look at Nick Thorpe Boatbuilding on the web. He is a brilliant long established builder who is pleased to incorporate owners personal requirements.  But he's always busy so you have to book up a year or thereabouts ahead.  But it was worth the wait when he built ours!. Cheers. Mick

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22 minutes ago, Phil_B said:

I mean this is absolutely ridiculous we are well into the 21st century here and your telling me most of them are not even vaguely familar with CAD that came in decades ago, lol. I think you must be winding me up! 

A narrowboat is not an engineering piece - it is more akin to a commissioning a sculpture than buying a widget.  You are getting someone to create from flat steel a knockoff of a wooden boat with a few tweaks - it is very very different to ordering a car or designing a type of house. 

 

You are also doing it based on 10 year old prices from a bankrupt company that churned out cheap shells of debatable variable quality.  I don't think you will get the shell you want at a price you want to pay, built the way you want to work unless you design the whole thing yourself and contract it out to a jobbing fabricator shop, not a boatbuilder.

 

I'm sad that you think we are winding you up, but there is a reason we are not all telling you it can be done - those of us that know the "industry" (it's more like a craft fair!) don't think you understand how it works.

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7 minutes ago, Phil_B said:

It says I'm a fool. I trust no one. I'm thd one paying and there is no point me paying if I'm not going to be getting what I am paying for.

 

I mean this is absolutely ridiculous we are well into the 21st century here and your telling me most of them are not even vaguely familar with CAD that came in decades ago, lol. I think you must be winding me up! 

 

I'm looking for a boat builder with a big of intelligence up top to understand what is required of a CAD drawing, a perfectly reasonable request. I don't need some hillbilly or oaf who pleases himself and is ignorant of what the customer wishes. Would I be right in thinking I would be best avoiding the smaller Boatbuilders who I'm guessing are old boys and set in their ways?

The best built boats on the system more often than not are produced in yards/sheds that defy description & because they don't resort to the latest "Gismo's"doesn't mean they are not capable of producing a good swimming /handling quality shell you have to realise a lot of shell producers on the UK system are steel fabricators not boat builders who jumped on the band wagon when leisure  boating became popular & the demand of the customer requiring the max of interior space has produced all manner of Ugly hulls with short swims (handle horrible)lack of cabin tumble home (bridge bashers) weird shaped fore ends  & then you get a shell built  with tape measure chalk line & soapstone chalk stick by some one who understands the iffs & buts of shell building & you get a real sweet hull in regard to performance  But as your the guy opening his bank account the final choice is yours Just a thought have scroll though Apollo duck & view some of the hull end shapes  If you see one or more you like note the builder & maybe go from there

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Talk to Colecraft as they are one of the best volume producers of shells. They have a basic hull style that works and has stood the test of time. Ours is 30 years old and is totally predictable in its handling. They do however build variations on the house style for hire boat companies or individuals. But don’t expect changes to their basic style to come cheap!! They have a reputation and will not risk compromising it. 

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Another factor that illustrates the nature of hull building is the number of reports of boats that turned out a foot or two longer in length than that ordered. If yours turns out an inch or four too long, would you reject it? Would the windows positions be measured from the stern or the bow? 

 

Bear in mind your budget seems very low so you are in no position to be picky. You'll need to double your budget to find a builder to meet your demands, I suspect.

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2 hours ago, Phil_B said:

The bows he does seem to look ok. Not too much of the weird upturn like some of them. Any idea of a rough figure what he might charge for a hull with a few external cabin specifics?

Ask him - it's 12 years since he built ours, so any prices I told you would be out of date.

He works in the country but is neither a hillbilly nor an oaf, just a craftsman.

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1 hour ago, SUIGENERIS said:

Have a look at Nick Thorpe Boatbuilding on the web. He is a brilliant long established builder who is pleased to incorporate owners personal requirements.  But he's always busy so you have to book up a year or thereabouts ahead.  But it was worth the wait when he built ours!. Cheers. Mick

Thanks, looks like a good possibility, seems pretty cheap on the website. How much did yours cost?

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12 hours ago, Phil_B said:

That's handy to know Alan, I can probably compromise on internal width a little so don't mind to much there. As long as I can get a good 6ft internal height, which is my height so 6ft 1" or perhaps preferably 6ft 2" then that's what I really need to avoid a stoop.

 

An effective way of increasing internal height is to specify a thicker than normal baseplate, say 15mm rather than 10mm. 

 

Steel is heavier than paving slabs or engineering bricks, so takes up less space, allowing the floor to be lower.

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4 minutes ago, cuthound said:

 

An effective way of increasing internal height is to specify a thicker than normal baseplate, say 15mm rather than 10mm. 

 

Steel is heavier than paving slabs or engineering bricks, so takes up less space, allowing the floor to be lower.

 

Another (possibly cheaper) way is to draw the boat 3" taller on the CAD files.

 

:giggles:

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Another (possibly cheaper) way is to draw the boat 3" taller on the CAD files.

 

:giggles:

 

 

 

I believe that is what Nick Norman did with his boat.

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11 hours ago, Phil_B said:

 

 

I'm looking for a boat builder with a big of intelligence up top to understand what is required of a CAD drawing, a perfectly reasonable request. I don't need some hillbilly or oaf who pleases himself and is ignorant of what the customer wishes. Would I be right in thinking I would be best avoiding the smaller Boatbuilders who I'm guessing are old boys and set in their ways?

Try this ad on Gumtree

Wanted: a person with welding experience who would build a boat under my direction for under £12,000 to be paid only when signed off by myself.

Has to be CAD aware and compliant open  to new ideas, must not be constrained by a lifetime's experience in steel fabrication/boatbuilding and must have big of intelligence up top.

Edited by LadyG
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I don't see what all the fuss about CAD files is about. Its standard practice in most industries to use CAD has been for decades. It's not like I'm suggesting some new fangled piece of computing/way of doing things. In fact in industry such as Architecture it's all moving on from line drawing programs like AutoCAD and onto 3D modelling programs like Revit.

 

I know yacht builders all use CAD. For Narrow boat builders not to use it is not good and very out of date. I'm guessing the ones that produce boats for the general public to buy up of tge shelf use it or the internal space wouldn't line up on each. The guy in the workshop may not be seen with it but I'm thinking it is more in use in many of the boat builders than you may think.

 

Not using CAD and ending up with a boat that is a foot or more out is not ok. A good craftsman would do it specification not say 'this what I made of it be satisfied with that'. Again a boat builder with such an attitude I would not touch so going to see them first does indeed sound a good idea. My guess is that it will be the smaller boat builders where such attitudes might still exist.

 

The 12k was just based off that website. I had no way of knowing it was so out of date. Most would have been taken down or updated. I'm guessing with the price of cheap steel imports since would have kept the cost down though. I can of course go higher than 12k but really want a good balance between cost and a decent hull. I'm not really looking for a state of the art piece of Hull building as of course that will cost which is money I don't wish to pay.

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11 minutes ago, Athy said:

This all reminds me of Cardew Robinson.

Can you elaborate? I think the OP is going to struggle to find a builder that either he approves of or that will tolerate him.

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3 minutes ago, BruceinSanity said:

Can you elaborate? I think the OP is going to struggle to find a builder that either he approves of or that will tolerate him.

People have been building narrow boats for 100+ years without CAD, how did they ever manage?

Maybe the OP can run a spreadsheet detailing what builders he visits and how long it took to get shown the door after mentioning CAD and telling them that they are hill billys for not using it.

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58 minutes ago, Phil_B said:

The guy in the workshop may not be seen with it but I'm thinking it is more in use in many of the boat builders than you may think.

BESPOKE Boat Designs

Some of the most well known steel boat builders know the benefits of having their own design computerised. This allows the builder to select his own profiling company to get the best rate or at a convenient location.

We can translate your boat design into computer format and supply the DXF cutting disks to enable plasma profiling of parts.

 

The industries most respected steel boat builders use our design services, including:- Will Tricket, Steve Hudson, Jonathan Wilson, Bluewater Boats. R.L.L Boats, Peter Nicols and Piper Boats.

 

http://www.dutch-barges.net/bespoke_designs.html

 

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1 minute ago, TheBiscuits said:

BESPOKE Boat Designs

Some of the most well known steel boat builders know the benefits of having their own design computerised. This allows the builder to select his own profiling company to get the best rate or at a convenient location.

We can translate your boat design into computer format and supply the DXF cutting disks to enable plasma profiling of parts.

 

The industries most respected steel boat builders use our design services, including:- Will Tricket, Steve Hudson, Jonathan Wilson, Bluewater Boats. R.L.L Boats, Peter Nicols and Piper Boats.

 

http://www.dutch-barges.net/bespoke_designs.html

 

Which suggest to me that the boat builders do not have the facilities / equipment / knowledge to computerise their designs relying on subcontractors to do the 'computerisation' for them so they can then forward the design to the steel suppliers to profile the parts.

 

The 'man' in the middle (the boat builder) doesn't appear to have the ability to use CAD

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Had a little walk round Hebden bridge yesterday, there are a few little craft workshops making all manner of things but not a CAD system in sight. We make some stuff here on the boat and although we both have a very long history with computers we don't use CAD. Not using CAD is a choice, not a sign of inability to use computers.

 

I think the OP is really not going to enjoy the canals. People still paint boats with a paintbrush amongst many other things that show a total disrespect for modern methods.

 

..............Dave 

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11 minutes ago, dmr said:

I think the OP is really not going to enjoy the canals. People still paint boats with a paintbrush amongst many other things that show a total disrespect for modern methods.

 

I was thinking something similar. All those Gardners and hardly an electric boat anywhere to be seen. I was vaguely expecting another thread about propulsion by now, stating this was to be an all electric boat rather than relying on the dying technology of diesel.

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1 hour ago, Phil_B said:

I don't see what all the fuss about CAD files is about. Its standard practice in most industries to use CAD has been for decades. It's not like I'm suggesting some new fangled piece of computing/way of doing things. In fact in industry such as Architecture it's all moving on from line drawing programs like AutoCAD and onto 3D modelling programs like Revit.

THE "FUSS", AS YOU SO RUDELY PUT IT, IS BECAUSE PEOPLE ON HERE NO MORE ABOUT CANAL BOAT BUILDING AND CANAL BOATS THAN YOU DO. TO MANY OF THESE BUILDERS CAD IS A NEW FANGLED THING.

I WOULD ARGUE THE POINT ABOUT MOST INDUSTRIES USING IT. THIS MORNING I'VE COLLECTED SOME WELDING FROM THE LARGEST WELDING FABRICATOR IN THIS AREA AND THE ONLY COMPUTER IN THE PLACE IS IN THE OFFICE, BEING USED BY THE SECRETARY. I ALSO HAVE A FRIEND WHO OWNS A VERY BUSY FABRICATING BUSINESS IN THE BLACK COUNTRY AND HE ALSO DOESN'T USE CAD.

 

I know yacht builders all use CAD. For Narrow boat builders not to use it is not good and very out of date. I'm guessing the ones that produce boats for the general public to buy up of tge shelf use it or the internal space wouldn't line up on each. The guy in the workshop may not be seen with it but I'm thinking it is more in use in many of the boat builders than you may think.

DO ALL YACHT BUILDERS USE CAD? I SUGGEST YOU HAVE A WANDER AROUND SOME OF THE BUILDERS ON THE WEST COAST OF WALES AND OPEN YOUR EYES BECAUSE YOU WON'T SEE THAT EQUIPMENT IN MANY OF THEM, ESPECIALLY THOSE BUILDING IN WOOD.

YOUR COMMENTS SHOW JUST HOW LITTLE YOU KNOW ABOUT CANAL BOATS AND BOAT BUILDING.

 

Not using CAD and ending up with a boat that is a foot or more out is not ok. A good craftsman would do it specification not say 'this what I made of it be satisfied with that'. Again a boat builder with such an attitude I would not touch so going to see them first does indeed sound a good idea. My guess is that it will be the smaller boat builders where such attitudes might still exist.

AND GOOD CRAFTSMEN NEVER MAKE MISTAKES?

I WOULD SUGGEST THAT IF YOU APPROACH MOST BOAT BUILDERS WITH THE ATTITUDE YOU ARE SHOWING HERE THEY WILL VERY QUICKLY SHOW YOU THE DOOR, PROBABLY NOT VERY POLITELY, ESPECIALLY WITH THE FINANCE FIGURES YOU ARE QUOTING.

 

The 12k was just based off that website. I had no way of knowing it was so out of date. Most would have been taken down or updated. I'm guessing with the price of cheap steel imports since would have kept the cost down though. I can of course go higher than 12k but really want a good balance between cost and a decent hull. I'm not really looking for a state of the art piece of Hull building as of course that will cost which is money I don't wish to pay.

THEN PERHAPS YOU NEED TO DO MORE RESEARCH! A QUICK STUDY OF THAT WEBSITE WOULD HAVE SHOWN YOU THAT IT HADN'T BEEN UPDATED FOR MORE THAN 3 YEARS.

AND PERHAPS YOU NEED TO LOOK AT THE PRICE OF THE STEEL NEEDED FOR BOAT BUILDING A LITTLE MORE CLOSELY BEFORE YOU CONTINUE.

 

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2 hours ago, Phil_B said:

I'm guessing with the price of cheap steel imports since would have kept the cost down though.

Oh dear oh dear, now its to be built from cheap steel. Do you know what grade of steel is required for successful boat building? And where it comes from? And how much it costs?

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1 hour ago, Mike Hurley said:

People have been building narrow boats for 100+ years without CAD, how did they ever manage?

Maybe the OP can run a spreadsheet detailing what builders he visits and how long it took to get shown the door after mentioning CAD and telling them that they are hill billys for not using it.

Difference is people have more specific requirements these days. Back in the day when narrowboats were use for hauling coal etc I'm sure the requirements were quite basic and no one was that fussed.

 

Early leisure narrowboats probably weren't that fussed either. Now a days though that the technology is available to have accuracy and simple customisation with ease why not. Have the boat built around and to the wants of the user rather than just people in general. We're not talking a lot of complex stuff here either.

 

Boat Builders should welcome CAD print outs. A good A1 size set of print outs will tell them exactly what is required. It will save them time working out how to translate a sketch into a boat. It will also save on disputes. They won't have the client turning up each day saying 'this is not what I wanted/we discussed' or 'you've done it like this and I want it more like that'. Any builder who after being shown CAD  drawings then promptly went to sketch I would not use. Good CAD drawings will show in far better detail and clarity what is required.

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41 minutes ago, Graham Davis said:

 

Few yachts are built of wood these days. No I am not interested in dealing with old odd bods who can't move with the times. I am the customer if they have an attitude that 'it's all on my terms but I'll take your money and you will have to be satisfied with whatever you get' then no that's never going to be something I would accept. A bad overbearing attitude from a boat builder is going to remain so throughout thd build. What I am asking is what boat builders are not like this so I can avoid the odd bods or you could do me a favour and tell me thd odd bods I should certainly avoid :)

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