A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts
So I was thinking about this, I think it would solve several major problems:
1) A CLC kit would eliminate the problems associated with rampant materials substitution, and improve resale on ply boats that generally sell second hand for very poor prices. Part of the reason for that is that people make substitutions and redesigns.
2) The Tiki designs are basically 40 years old, and there has been huge change in ply boat tech since then, A kit would professionalize what has hitherto involved a lot of guessing, and it would improve antiquated practices in the build.
3) Obviously there is a huge improvement in the speed with which a boat could be built which in financial terms can offset the additional cost.
4) Bring together the main brand in cruising multis, and the main brand in commercializing hom built ply boats. CLC works with others, so there must be some basis for a deal.
Main downsides, are choosing a design that has max commercial appeal, probably needs to be newish, and the fact that Wharram already works with a commercial US builder, though that probably isn't a real world problem; and CLC is in the Brown camp on multis.
Here is the quote page for their 31 foot proa which is probably in the range of a 26 foot catamaran:
4300 dollars, which includes top grade materials, plans (would probably have to be bumped), and CNC time.
Of course there is lots of other stuff to buy, this is just the plywood and the plans aspect, but the whole process would shift to a much faster and easier to follow process, where pieces go together like puzzle pieces.
I'm the ultimate guy when it comes to not know where to draw a sensible line on do it yourself, and trying to go cheap. I have been looking at CNC for my own shop, and make my own tools etc... But it would be hard to argue with the CLC kit approach for people who want to make a backyard boat from scratch, and don't have a lot of gear.
Would anyone here be interested? What boat would you like to see? Baring something we haven't seen before, I would expect it to be something like the Tiki 26.
There is a good discussion here of some of the hurdles they have gone through with their process:
I've dealt with CLC for a number of years, and recommended countless people contact them to get complete kayak kits. They are a great company, but you get what you pay for. If my experience is a good indicator, having CLC, or anyone else for that matter, kit up a boat about doubles the cost of materials. This is not a strong selling point with the Wharram crowd.
Additionally, kitting up a boat like the Tiki 26 is at least an order of magnitude more complex than the typical kayak kit that could include a few sheets of plywood parts and 1-1/2 gallons of epoxy. Because of this, I don't see CLC bringing anything to the table that, for example, Boatsmith couldn't provide if he choose to. While building a kayak or small boat involves minimal handholding (tech support), building something the size and complexity of the Tiki 26, is a completely different proposition.
For someone to make this work, they are going to need a new and different approach involving a business model fundamentally different than what CLC is doing. If you are serious about pursuing this, I suggest you discuss this offline with Dan Kuntz.
It seems that JWD have beaten you to this thought - the new Mana24 will be available as a kit/CNC.
From the Wharram site.
CKD in south Africa have a partial CNC solution for the tiki38 too.
I guess it depends what your time is worth as to whether paying extra for pre cut panels is worth it?
My guess is that a lot of people would choose this option.
Thanks for the thoughts.
As far as the order of complexity issue is concerned the 31 foot proa is considerably more complex than a Wharram, and to bring it to market some of their recent kits include hundreds of pages of step by step instuctions.
CNC is interesting in that while complexity takes a little extra time on the machine, it doesn't really add that much. You can therefore start thinking about far more assists to construction like interlocking tabs, the puzzle joints, and a lot of very fair curves where overly straight lines have previously been used. It would really revolutionize the nature of a boat like the Wharrams. I don't think there are all that many shops that have been far enough down the road that CLC has been down to do this kind of thing. Or that have the capacity.
There is also a legacy issue, at least in the dream-world that I am sceptical could actually exist, in which these two forces could be brought profitably together. Harris is a lot younger than Wharram is. The Tiki design has been around since roughly the 70s, and with a freshening up could last a lot longer. In CLC's hands it would be like an anuity for whomever that would function.
The CLC thing also functions as a form of copyright protection as the plans wouldn't ever need to hit the streets, the design could be sold as a kit only, though that might actually be a bad thing for the plans side of the deal.
Anyway, don't expect it to happen, but I think it would be a good thing if it did.