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Why Order a Wooden Boat from NEXUS?

Why are wood boats better?

As custom boatbuilders, we were first attracted to wood because it is pleasant to work with and because it is the least expensive way to build a quality custom boat. We discovered that with all-glued construction it is possible to build a lighter boat in wood than is practical in any other material. We say "practical" here, because it is possible to build a lighter boat in plastic or aluminum. However, the plastic boat must be built with a core and thin skins of exotic materials to equal the weight of single-skin wood. The thin plastic skins are vulnerable to puncture and abrasion and can delaminate from the core, causing a tenfold decrease in strength. Aluminum boats can be built with very thin single skins but thin aluminum tends to dent at high speeds from water pressure and trailer loads and is very subject to fatigue.


Fatigue is a very important issue in fast, light powerboats. In as little as 30 hours of high speed operation, the hull material may be flexed as many as 1,000,000 cycles. At this point fiberglass retains only about 22% of its original strength, aluminum about 37% of its strength, while epoxy laminated wood still retains 64% of its strength. The picture for wood is even better than these figures suggest. Since wood has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than other materials, a single-skin wooden boat will have a thicker skin than one of equal weight in either plastic or aluminum. A thicker skin means less deflection under load, and therefore even less fatigue.

In use, pressure loadings on a powerboat's bottom can go over 250 pounds per square foot. The large unsupported surfaces common in fiberglass boats will deflect and fatigue. As a fatigue resistant material, wood is still unequaled. There are 2000 year old, 300' high trees in the forest, and wooden boats that last hundreds of years. Nature has spent millions of years developing a great fatigue-resistant material.


Besides the structural advantages provided by wood/epoxy construction, there are aesthetic ones as well. The curved, complex lines of a wooden boat are all created by the bending of wood. Wood bends naturally into fair curves; that is, smooth, even curves without lumps or hard spots. A wooden boat is designed particularly to take advantage of this property. So a wooden boat has an indefinable beauty of line that is difficult or impossible to produce by molding or bending thin sheets of metal. Especially beautiful portions of a wooden boat's structure can be varnished if desired. There is simply no comparison between the beauty of a varnished teak windscreen and the stark look of an aluminum one.

There is also the element of craftsmanship. If a wooden boat is to be as durable as ours are, considerable care must be taken in the fitting of each piece to produce strong, watertight joints. This obvious care shows in every part of the boat, and is one of the main reasons people are attracted to our boats.

Custom shop

Finally, there is the great advantage of having your boat built by a small shop. High quality wooden boats, demanding this degree of attention to detail, are not amenable to production line building. The best ones are now, and always have been, built by small shops. This means that your boat and your needs get a lot of personal attention. Since each boat is built to order, your boat will suit you exactly. You will have great latitude in your selection of engines, hardware, paint, electronics, and their placement. You can have various items altered or built in. It is much easier to do this kind of customizing with a wooden boat, which is built one piece at a time. You also can bring your boat back to us for later additions and know that the people who built your boat will be doing what you want, correctly. Your boat will be as exact an expression of your taste and lifestyle as we can make it.

There is another great advantage to having your boat built in a small shop. You aren't paying for full-page color ads in national magazines when you buy your boat, nor does your money go to the high salaries of upper management, or to pay off the debts of yet another corporate raiding party. The money you pay for your boat goes into your boat. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that your unique vessel was built with only the highest quality materials and workmanship. We think you'll agree that our wooden boats are an excellent value.

Being a custom shop, all our boats are built on order only. We can build oar, sail, outboard, or Diesel powered boats from 8' to 42'. We have many designs for boats in all these categories and sizes. We also have in-house custom design services. So if what you see in our brochures or on our website does not exactly suit your needs, contact us and give us your exact requirements. Our prices for custom work are reasonable.


We handle our contracts in one of two different ways. If the boat is one on which we can give you a firm price, we take a 10% deposit to hold your place in the building schedule. Progress payments are then made periodically. With a custom boat, some payments are usually made on a schedule, others by periodic invoices. When you're thinking about ordering, remember that we usually have a backlog, and order early. If you can imagine it, we can probably build it. So what are you waiting for?



For brochures on semi-custom wood boats or further information on our custom wooden boat building and design services, please email us by clicking on the E-MAIL icon below, or inquire by mail to:

Nexus Marine Corporation   Phone 425-252-8330
3816 Railway Ave.    
Everett, WA 98201-3838 Email to Nexus Marine Corporation
service (at)
Custom wood boat builders!

We are located on the Snohomish River in the Pacific Northwest, about 20 miles north of Seattle.
Click here for a map to Nexus Marine Corporation.

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