It’s from a kit

I've put my heart and soul and about 300 hrs into building a Southwester Dory.  Every time I tell someone I'm building a boat they have to ask, "is it a kit?"  People seem to think it's like a snap together plastic model. It really irritates me to the point I'd not build from a kit again just to prove the point that I have some skill. Maybe CLC shouldn't call them boat kits, use another term. What's your reply when you get the belittling kit comments? Maybe my skin is just too thin.

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RE: It’s from a kit

   You don't owe any explanation really, but personally speaking I'd never thought that I could build a boat until I found the stitch and glue kits. When I get asked the same thing I just tell them that it is a kit but that really just means that they cut out the pieces from the plywood. The ease of a kit is that it gathers all of the required materials together, not that it truly does any work for you.

RE: It’s from a kit

Skeeter2, if I were you I'd build a Skin-on-Frame next. That'd put me into the 'thin-skinned' class once & for all.

The Waterlust I'm currently building (note I didn't say assembling) I started early in Nov. 2019. Kit arrived Feb 2017, sat on basement floor until I got everything ready to begin construction.

The 14' Pumpkin Seed scow I built back in '72-73 was from plans. I built that in about 8 months while also working full-time 25 miles distant.

Some folks don't comprehend the nuanced difference between assemble and build... but they're not us.



RE: It’s from a kit

   Hey Skeeter, I hear you, I also get the feeling of a punch to the gut of the ego when I hear the word "kit". I end up having to clarify that all I get is a box of cut wood and a book. Fortunately most people are intrigued enough to ask more questions, so I get a chance to describe all the blood, sweat and tears.

Yes, there must be a better word than "kit".


RE: It’s from a kit

   I work as a fabricator building stuff from scratch, including design most of the time. Most people simply have no idea what it takes. there is always someone out there asking 'oh, did you smelt and extrude the aluminum?' or whatever the next step up (and down) the line is. If you build a boat from raw materials they will just ask, 'oh, did you use a plan?' if you don't use a plan they will ask 'oh,. did you use a calculator or did you do all the measurments using the length of your arms like the old timers......' and on and on. 

These boats are kits. the ignorance of the part of the population that uses this fact to dismiss the difficulty and art of boatbuilding speaks only to their personal ignorance and not to the reality of what the project is. If it bothers you personally that its called a kit then build from scratch. If it bothers you to use a plan designed by someone else then make your own. there are deep rabit holes in both directions of craftsmandhip from sourcing the materials and ideas to the detail and form of the finishwork, and you cant please everyone. 

Please yourself and enjoy building the kit if thats what you want to do.


P.S. Dories historicly were often built as kits and assembled when needed. I hope your Southwester turns out awsome and is enjoyable.

RE: It’s from a kit

I would take any question regarding,  “is it a kit?" simply as a sign of curiosity and not read any ill will into it.   In fact, its great when people are curious and ask questions.   They are just trying to express their question in a vocabulary bounded by their experience.   Not a lot of people do this kind of thing.

fwiw, I get that question a lot as i am out there using my kayaks several times a week and it’s a great opener to share and encourage further interest and participation in boat building and boating.

My typical answer is its called a kit, but not like a plastic model where everything is just put together.   there is a company, CLC (which sells the kits) bundles plans and all the materials needed in a box.   It takes a lot of effort out of having to source all the raw materials yourself much of which is hard to find in a local store…..but  then you put in a lot of time, skill, tools and effort to make a boat come out….several hundred hours in many cases.  It’s kind of like buying a kit for a sweater (or pick your favorite analogy) and you get a pattern and a ball of yarn in a box…. there is still has a lot to do.

anwyay, i can appreciate also how it makes you feel when somebody doesn't appreciate how hard you have worked....but i would not respond to in in anyway other than the person is just curious.


RE: It’s from a kit

Yeah, kit boats are nothing new.  Wasn't there a prefabricated shallop or some such in The Swiss Family Robinson or Robinson Crusoe?  Heck, the way Lyman built boats, they were alomst assembling their own kits of prefabricated parts.  Maybe we should refer to these kits as "partially prefabricated boat part sets".

I wish you all joy of your Southwester Dory.  Sure looks like a lot of adventure waiting to heppen.


RE: It’s from a kit

   I made the sail for my Peapod from a sailrite kit. The designer knew the correct cut of the individual panels from dimensions provided by CLC and I did the sewing.  What a challenge from a "kit"! Not sure I want to do that again.

I agree with the many comments. People do not understand the complexity of buidling a boat in this way. I explain that it allows be to skip building a mold and cut right to the fun. They seem to understand.


RE: It’s from a kit

I always tell people what is included in a kit and that in rural Minnesota it pretty difficult to source the necessary supplies. It bugs me that the first question is always, "is it a kit?"  I guess it's their ignorance.  I like the suggestion of building a skin on frame next. 

I am finally getting ready to varnish my inside. I am looking forward to time on the water. I think I'm probably a builder more than a sailor. I am putting a epropulsion 3 hp electric motor in my boat. I have maybe a month to go yet. I was hoping to be ready for the 4th of July boat parade on our lake. I am not going to rush and do poor work just to get it done. 

Thanks for letting me vent. 


RE: It’s from a kit

  "..... they have to ask, "is it a kit?"  ...." 

Just remember it WAS a kit. Now its a boat. There is a lot of fitting, sanding, bending, and sanding and sanding and sanding and sanding. 

Remember too that..........Plastic model kits of this caliber were a lot of sanding ,  fitting and custom finishing too. 


PS....the CNC machine cuts a straighter line than I do. 

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