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Old September 12th 05, 03:12 AM
Blazer Fan Dan
 
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Default career question

I'm not sure if this is where to ask, but I've tried writing some
people who make canoes/boats for a living and most don't seem to want
to respond (can't say I blame them).

Is it possible to make a decent living making canoes (cedar strip
ones)? Is it a pipe dream that's not worth even trying?

thanks for any help


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Old September 12th 05, 04:01 AM
Glenn Ashmore
 
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If you are willing to suffer for the first 4 or 5 years maybe so. A well
built 16' stripper can sell for $3-4K but between materials, shop space
rent, tool costs, insurance, taxes, sales commissions etc. you will be luck
to net half that on each one. You would have to turn out more than one a
month to survive and while it can be done it will take a lot of discipline.
Once you get some volume up you can buy material in volume and time for
price. As you build a customer base and a reputation you might sell 40-50
or so a year but you will have to hire some help to do it which cuts your
margin considerably..

I am guessing that the upper limit on the before tax net income for a really
well known stripper builder might be in the neighborhood of $50K. After
that you will be managing a factory which is not as much fun as building
canoes.

--
Glenn Ashmore

I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
there of) at: http://www.rutuonline.com
Shameless Commercial Division: http://www.spade-anchor-us.com

"Blazer Fan Dan" wrote in message
ups.com...
I'm not sure if this is where to ask, but I've tried writing some
people who make canoes/boats for a living and most don't seem to want
to respond (can't say I blame them).

Is it possible to make a decent living making canoes (cedar strip
ones)? Is it a pipe dream that's not worth even trying?

thanks for any help



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Old September 12th 05, 04:13 AM
Blazer Fan Dan
 
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Glenn Ashmore wrote:
If you are willing to suffer for the first 4 or 5 years maybe so. A well
built 16' stripper can sell for $3-4K but between materials, shop space
rent, tool costs, insurance, taxes, sales commissions etc. you will be luck
to net half that on each one.


well, space, tools and what not, are all already in my possession.

You would have to turn out more than one a
month to survive and while it can be done it will take a lot of discipline.
Once you get some volume up you can buy material in volume and time for
price. As you build a customer base and a reputation you might sell 40-50
or so a year but you will have to hire some help to do it which cuts your
margin considerably..

I am guessing that the upper limit on the before tax net income for a really
well known stripper builder might be in the neighborhood of $50K. After
that you will be managing a factory which is not as much fun as building
canoes.


im not expecting to make a whole mother load, just enough for a single
guy to live decently on (meaning: I won't starve)

--
Glenn Ashmore


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Old September 12th 05, 04:32 AM
Drew Dalgleish
 
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On 11 Sep 2005 19:12:41 -0700, "Blazer Fan Dan"
wrote:

I'm not sure if this is where to ask, but I've tried writing some
people who make canoes/boats for a living and most don't seem to want
to respond (can't say I blame them).

Is it possible to make a decent living making canoes (cedar strip
ones)? Is it a pipe dream that's not worth even trying?

thanks for any help

I doubt it. A semi-retired peson may supplment their income but to
make a decent living you'd have to be so prolific churning out the
canoes it wouldn't be much fun.
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Old September 12th 05, 05:57 AM
Jim Conlin
 
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I've tried and the answer is no.
Strip canoes and kayaks in particular are a tough sell. The number of hours
in one is high enough that you need to charge a price that very few will
pay. There are very good composite canoes on the market at lower prices,
and it's hard to get someone to pay an extra $1000 for a strip boat which,
even if it is prettier, is no lighter, no stronger and needs more
maintenance.






"Blazer Fan Dan" wrote in message
ups.com...
I'm not sure if this is where to ask, but I've tried writing some
people who make canoes/boats for a living and most don't seem to want
to respond (can't say I blame them).

Is it possible to make a decent living making canoes (cedar strip
ones)? Is it a pipe dream that's not worth even trying?

thanks for any help





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Old September 12th 05, 12:56 PM
Glenn Ashmore
 
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"Blazer Fan Dan" wrote

well, space, tools and what not, are all already in my possession.


I have let several young furniture makers use my shop to get started and run
into this all the time. It is always hard to get these facts across to
beginning craftsmen. Space costs money even if you own it. You have to heat
it, maintain it, insure it and pay taxes on it. In time you will need more
of it to store material and products. If you were not using it you could
sell it or probably rent it out so to be completely accurate you should
include that in your costs. After all if you are only netting $1,000 a
month but could rent out the space for $500 is all that effort worth the
extra $500?

Similarly tools cost money. You have to have things repaired and replaced,
buy blades and abrasives and occasionally add to the repertoire. I work
weekends and nights, maybe 25 hours a week, and have to budget at least $100
month in tool maintenance and supplies. Unless you are willing to give a
lot of your profit to your suppiler for finished strips you will have to
invest in a good jointer, planer and shaper. Preferably with power feeds as
milling a few miles of strip is a mind numbing job. And don't forget the
power bill. Lights, power tools and air compressors use a supprising amount
of it.

im not expecting to make a whole mother load, just enough for a single
guy to live decently on (meaning: I won't starve)


And how much is that? To stay just above the poverty level you will have to
produce and sell 12 - 15 hulls a year. You also have to sell them. That
means spending a lot of time taking your boats to boat and craft shows and
other outdoor events where people can see them. Can you build 1 or 2 a
month and still spend a third of your time selling them?

Over time, if you build an exceptionally good quality product at a
reasonable price, you will build a reputation and people will start coming
to you so your selling time will go down and your prices can go up. But the
first 4 or 5 years will be very tough.

I am not saying don't do it. In fact I spend a lot of time encouraging
young craftsmen and artisans. But you have to understand the business end
of it or you won't last long enough to build a reputation.

--
Glenn Ashmore

I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
there of) at: http://www.rutuonline.com
Shameless Commercial Division: http://www.spade-anchor-us.com


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Old September 12th 05, 02:34 PM
William R. Watt
 
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Look at www.cedarboats.com. Been in business since about 1940 making cedar
strip boats.

The fibreglassed over cedar strip canoes and kayaks are such good home
build projects because they are so labour intensive and you don't pay
anything for your own labour. Same for the skin over frame boats. Lots and
lots of fiddly little pieces to put together - takes a lot of time. If
you can find weatlhy clients who will pay for the uniqueness and
attractiveness of the wood grain and will pay a high price for it, then
you can probably make a living at it. Better still, stop being single, get
an understanding wife with a good paying job, and go for it.

BTW don't forget cost of insurance, accountant, etc. Running a small
business can be a pain in the butt.
--
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William R Watt National Capital FreeNet Ottawa's free community network
homepage: www.ncf.ca/~ag384/top.htm
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Old September 12th 05, 04:18 PM
Blazer Fan Dan
 
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William R. Watt wrote:
Look at www.cedarboats.com. Been in business since about 1940 making cedar
strip boats.

The fibreglassed over cedar strip canoes and kayaks are such good home
build projects because they are so labour intensive and you don't pay
anything for your own labour. Same for the skin over frame boats. Lots and
lots of fiddly little pieces to put together - takes a lot of time. If
you can find weatlhy clients who will pay for the uniqueness and
attractiveness of the wood grain and will pay a high price for it, then
you can probably make a living at it. Better still, stop being single, get
an understanding wife with a good paying job, and go for it.


if the last part was only that easy.


BTW don't forget cost of insurance, accountant, etc. Running a small
business can be a pain in the butt.


insurance of what sort?

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Old September 12th 05, 06:15 PM
Jim Conlin
 
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Insurance is desirable for:
- the physical assets - building, tools, tooling, inventory
- product liability
- The care of you and your employees- health, Workman's comp, etc.

"Blazer Fan Dan" wrote in message ...
insurance of what sort?



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Old September 12th 05, 07:39 PM
Blazer Fan Dan
 
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Default


Jim Conlin wrote:
Insurance is desirable for:
- the physical assets - building, tools, tooling, inventory
- product liability
- The care of you and your employees- health, Workman's comp, etc.


well luckily, I don't have to worry about most of those right off the
bat.

It'd be me, a place I don't have to worry about insurance on (in a
sense) and some other things that don't apply.



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