Author Topic: Longevity of a glue and stitch boat  (Read 518 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Midshipman
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
    • Email
Longevity of a glue and stitch boat
« on: December 13, 2020, 12:53:03 PM »
I have been going back and forth on building a GA. I have done so searching on hear and the web about longevity of a plywood glue and stitch epoxy coated boat and have seen most say about 20yrs. I have seen threads that have said there are epoxy glue and stitch boat that were built in the 60's and 70's are still around,  50 to 60 years old boats? What is the consensus on with this group for the lifespan of a GA? I would leave mine in the water for part for the year and on the dry the rest.

The tolmans in Alaska were left in the salt most the time I would think. I wonder how long the old tolmans lasted up there?


  • Lieutenant
  • ****
  • Posts: 335
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Longevity of a glue and stitch boat
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2020, 06:28:48 PM »
From my understanding it comes down to how well you encapsulate the wood and how fast you are able to cut out and replace pieces that get waterlogged. In reading Renn Tolman's book (specifically the maintenance section) he talks about breached wood as being cancer in a composite boat, which makes a lot of sense since the water can get in but can't really get out. The wood will eventually swell and start to impact areas around it, breaking other encapsulations and just causing more and more problems until it turns the whole thing into a trash pile. But I think people who do a good job building and then are really on top of maintenance can have a boat that outlasts them by a long shot. Only one way to find out...


  • Administrator
  • Commodore
  • *****
  • Posts: 1955
    • View Profile
    • Glacier Boats of Alaska
Re: Longevity of a glue and stitch boat
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2020, 09:09:34 AM »

I have an epoxy/glass/wood skiff that my son and I built about 24 years ago.  It has been stored outside for all that time and has never needed epoxy/glass/paint type repair at all.  I did finally notice this year that a spot or two of some coated, but NOT fiberglassed plywood edges are starting to split a little.  This boat was built with BS-1088 okoume ... good stuff.

A Great Alaskan is 100% fiberglassed on the outside of the boat ... unless some have chosen not to on things like bulwarks, coaming, pilot house roof edges, roof visors and the like.  I recommend, in the instructions, that all weather-exposed wood have at least a layer of light glass ... especially endgrain areas.  Even 1-1/2 oz glass is fine for edge protection.  Do this, and the boat will out-last the skiff above.  Do normal maintenance and it'll last virtually forever.

The Great Alaskan - Professional performance - Easy to build! -  ><((((> .`.><((((> .`.><((((> .`.><((((>