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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 19th, 2009, 10:42 pm 
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Hey, all these curves and displacement figures leave your virtual customers cold. We'd love to give the St. George a (fully loaded) test paddle. What's Al's projected timeline for the first demo?


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 20th, 2009, 4:00 pm 
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native brookie wrote:
Hey, all these curves and displacement figures leave your virtual customers cold. We'd love to give the St. George a (fully loaded) test paddle. What's Al's projected timeline for the first demo?


What? My curves don't thrill folks? There goes my pole dancing career down the toilet. :doh:


OK, fair enough. First demo will be............... ice out on Lake Clear???

Expect boats to be available to test paddle around May 1. Bring your dry suit; it will be pretty chilly practicing those Hiding Harolds. :wink:


We will be having our grand opening on Memorial Day weekend, May 29-31, 2010. We will be putting on a huge BBQ luncheon, so bring your appetite. All you can eat of BK's special dry-rub ribs, salads, draft beer and soda, etc. If you buy a boat anytime that weekend, all accessories will be 15% below retail (good for a single shopping spree anytime during the following 30 days). Haven't figured out what we'll be carrying or retail prices for anything yet, so just bring all of your credit cards and spend, spend, spend. We'll give you 15% off the total. :D



At this time, we are working up the cost of materials for each boat. Then we'll have to see how fast Al can go laying up the hulls. I'll be doing the woodworking and trim work, and even though I won't be drawing a salary, I will be using my hours worked to compute the cost of labor since eventually I'll be hiring somebody for that job as I'll be way too busy counting all the money. :wink:

We have determined that it is possible to build a high quality solo canoe for $999 and still make a little money. However, we have also determined that we won't be the ones doing it. I expect our entry level canoes (S-glass and a single layer of 5 oz. Kevlar) to start at $1199 - but don't tell the public yet. We don't want to be locked into a losing proposition. The DragonSlayer Bean Counter is quite a piece of software, and not only can it automatically figure out what I've spent, it can also add whatever we take in and it figures that out too. You can use something called "formulas" to do all kinds of things to help manage your money. You can even project way into the future! Not using hyperspace, but the real deal future. It automatically figures out what I'm going to spend, even before I spend it. Don't ask me how it works, probably using what Al calls "FM" (Freakin' Magic). Maybe that's why frozentripper calls it "XL", because let me tell you, it really does "Excel" at this stuff.

Anyway, through the immense powers and magical abilities of the DragonSlayer Bean Counter, we will be able to entirely dispense with the use of the standard canoe making financial formula. We will be able to calculate exactly how much each boat costs to make and how much the entire operation costs to run for the year.

$200 rent + $100 Porta-John + $65 cell phone + $140 power + $375 insurance (yeah... ouch :-? ) + $200 gas + $250 advertising and local events = $1330/month x 12 = $15,960.

We will add on 1% of the operating costs to each boat. 100 boats is our target for the first year, so that should just about cover all the operating expenses for year one. That's comes out to $15,960/100 = $159.60 per boat.

In order to make 100 boats a year, we need to make two per week for 50 weeks (that gives us both two weeks vacation). Al costs me $770/wk all told, so that is $385/boat. We figured that 25 linear yards of cloth should make a single canoe (some more, maybe some less). S-glass is $8.75/yd and Kevlar is $14.60/yd. Our entry level 15' canoe will need 20 yds of S-glass at $8.75/yd and 5 yds of Kevlar at $14.60/yd. + $98 of epoxy resin (1 1/2 gal) x $66/ gal + $30 worth of wood + $5 worth of stainless fasteners + $40 worth of paint. That comes to $421 per canoe. Plus $385 labor = $806 plus $159.60 for business costs = $965.60 to build each boat after all expected expenses are paid for.

So why aren't we going to sell them for $999? :roll: Hey, I'm a nice guy but I want back some of the money I invested. $1199 - $965.60 = $233.60 X 100 boats = $23,360.00/yr. left over for me. Not much, but it buys a lot of peanut better and even the occasional Sausage and Egg McMuffin at McDonald's. :wink:

Here's the beauty of this method. If we can make and sell 200 boats a year instead of 100, I not only get to make twice as much money, I also get to keep all that operating cost money (because we won't be spending it twice). That's $23,360.00 x 2 = $46,720 plus $15,960.00 (100 x $159.60) = $62,620.00/yr. OK... not exactly getting a Caribbean island on that much dough, but it's not bad for a retired guy. It's even exceeds the amount I made during the lucrative guiding years. Plus, I get to live the lifestyle I want. I get to be a professional boat builder. :D

Anyway, it's now April 1, 2010. Winter has relaxed it's grip a bit. The plugs and molds have all been made and we're ready to start laying up our first hulls. Seats and gunwales have been made up while we waited for resin to harden and such. So Al and I will be cranking out bare hulls as fast as the epoxy will harden. We hope to do 10-12/month for the next two months, at which time I am going to have to spend more and more of my time dealing with all the smiling and hand shaking and boat selling... and money counting. At that point, Al will have to work mostly by himself. If we need more boats than he can make (and that will be a good thing) I'll look around at some of the unemployed local talent and put 'em to work making canoes right here at DragonSlayer. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 20th, 2009, 5:43 pm 
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Where in the budget is the line item for RV?

Surely you are not hammocking at all those shows you should attend to get the word out... and you will need demo boats.

It gets tiring sleeping on the ground...

I remember the folks at Langford had a semi hauler one year...maybe its for sale.


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 20th, 2009, 9:02 pm 
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Maybe he could pimp his way across the country sleeping at CCR members virtual houses. I have an extra bedroom for BK to sleep here in Michigan. I also know most of the paddlers that still have enough money now that the domestic auto industry is a small fraction of what it was, to buy a swanky new composite canoe.

After all he's building me a 14 foot Winters designed sport canoe. Didn't you tell me you were making these boats for me? :lol:

PK


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 20th, 2009, 10:25 pm 
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:lol: This thread is dragon on forever! Slay it ! :rofl:


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 29th, 2009, 9:23 am 
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Pricing.

DS canoes is pretending to make, roughly, Ted Bell's White/Gold solo canoe layup, a quality niche continued in Hemlock Canoes' standard laminate and by Vermont Canoe. But DS is able to market the product at half what Hemlock and Vermont ask. Now how can that be? I suspect the answer is ridiculously low cost projections.

The marketplace is usually efficient and Hemlock and Vermont's pricing seems fair. It is amusing that folks who've never working in or operated a composite boat shop are so sure that those who have are gouging them.

Build quality is a funny thing. Loveless knives cost more than twenty Buck blades. Ferraris cost more than twenty times what a Chevy does. Is the better product worth the difference? To some, but not to others, but price always goes up exponentially as any product approaches perfection, be it boats or anvils.

In this situation the Buck/Chevy guys are opining that the product they feel comfortable buying is all that anyone might or should desire. I reject that. My grandfather often told to to always get the very best because it's piss me off less than anything else. History, mine, has proved him right.


Last edited by Charlie Wilson on December 1st, 2009, 4:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 29th, 2009, 11:20 am 
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Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
Charlie Wilson wrote:
Pricing.

Alternatively, maybe I can prove on paper to a Ferrari dealer that the new Italia should be available to me somewhere below half price?



It's interesting to me how often high-cost canoes get compared to luxury cars. I suspect that's because many of us view them as luxury goods.

But the economics of luxury pricing are far different from those that determine how commodities are priced. For Ferrari owners, the car is, worth more BECAUSE it has a ridiculously high price. The same is true for Rolex watches, Gucci bags, and Swarovksi optics. I don't think supply and demand really function in the market for such goods.

Note that I am not saying these products are not of high quality. Just that, even given their extremely high quality, they are still "overpriced".

I don't know whether fine canoes are luxury goods like a Ferrari, or commodity goods like a Hyundai, but I do know that I am a lot closer to being able to afford a luxury canoe than a luxury car.


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 29th, 2009, 12:33 pm 
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$1200 per canoe sounds reasonable. As I mentioned in some thread, Millbrook Boats sells vacuum bagged S-glass and Kevlar WW hulls with all ash trim at around that price and surely makes money.

I'd pay that for the original St. Leibnitz. But I would want the new Hemlock comfort curve solo seat, even if it adds somewhat to the base cost.


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: November 29th, 2009, 3:47 pm 
native brookie wrote:
[...]
For Ferrari owners, the car is, worth more BECAUSE it has a ridiculously high price. The same is true for Rolex watches, Gucci bags, and Swarovksi optics. I don't think supply and demand really function in the market for such goods.
[...]
I don't know whether fine canoes are luxury goods like a Ferrari, or commodity goods like a Hyundai, but I do know that I am a lot closer to being able to afford a luxury canoe than a luxury car.

Indeed, I would not buy a canoe like a RapidFire because they are expensive,
but because I like/prefer the way they paddle and are build.

Dirk Barends


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: December 2nd, 2009, 7:03 pm 
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Interesting thread... though I should declare a certain sympathy for CEW's view of the discussions. That said.... here in the UK we have a small scale producer sticking out kevlar-composite hulls at a fraction of the cost of imports: price is OK, and by all accounts the weight and finish is more than acceptable.

http://www.mega-kayaks.co.uk/outland.htm

Problem is the design: if they'd only chuck a few $$ per craft at John Winters or DY for an updated design (or just make arrangements to produce the Fire series under license here in Europe using their existing technologies) we'd have a competitive composite option being built here - which would be great given the current exchange rate!

Seriously, Dragonslayer would almost certainly be better off being based in the UK: check out the cost of importing Bell, Wenonah, Placid, etc - the competition is not an issue, and I suspect the same would be true in continental Europe!

That said... please do see this through as currently conceived as even allowing for Charlie's reservations about the costings... it makes for an interesting read for those of us who ain't ever really got our heads around the production side of things.


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: December 2nd, 2009, 8:46 pm 
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Charlie, I personally never really considered a $1000 composite canoe as a possibility. But surely there is a price point well below $2000 that a composite canoe can be made that the manufacturer can make money. That might be $1200 that Kaz seems to be able to make a go with, or $1500 which seems more logical to me.... but you make a good point I'm not running a canoe business.

You make the comparison to a Ferrari of a quality composite canoe. I thought it was a BMW. BMW builds a fine automobile, but they ain't Ferraris!!! The reality is that there isn't a current composite rec boat on the market that could be compared to the 2010 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. The Flashfire for example, probably my favorite composite boat above all others would really be more like a 1994 348. Yeah, it's still a Ferrari and people still notice, but it's not an cutting edge car, just like the Fire boats aren't cutting edge canoes. So selling a Flashfire in Infusion technology would be like selling a full carbon monocoque framed, carbon bodied 348 to the Ferraristi.

I know if I was sitting on an extra $230,000 dollars I wouldn't be spending it on 348 made with modern materials, and I know that I'm not going to peel off $3000 buckaroos for any 15 year old rec hull made of those same materials.

PK


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: December 3rd, 2009, 5:22 am 
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pknoerr wrote:
I know that I'm not going to peel off $3000 buckaroos for any 15 year old rec hull made of those same materials.
That's the minimum for a Bell or Wenonah composite canoe over here in the UK: for a rapidfire we'd be looking at $5,000 and upwards! The $2,000 you're not happy with for a top end composite is about what we'd pay for a royalex Yellowstone Solo or Argosy!

Following this and other MYCCR threads has been a real eye opener into WHY the basic US costs are what they are... and have actually led me to the view the US prices from Swift, Placid and the rest as a lot more justifiable than I could ever have imagined.

One additional factor: seems to me (from afar) that unlike here... you've all got access to a decent selection of used composite solos - ideal for the folk who aren't prepared to pay (or can't afford) the $2,000+ prices. Maybe I'm misreading the market... but I'd worry that DragonSlayer canoes might find that the most cost conscious buyers are actually quite satisfied with this way of getting their canoes on the cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: December 3rd, 2009, 6:29 am 
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snowgoose.skipper wrote:
One additional factor: seems to me (from afar) that unlike here... you've all got access to a decent selection of used composite solos - ideal for the folk who aren't prepared to pay (or can't afford) the $2,000+ prices. Maybe I'm misreading the market... but I'd worry that DragonSlayer canoes might find that the most cost conscious buyers are actually quite satisfied with this way of getting their canoes on the cheap.


I think that the used market comes into play more in the US than in Canada, and more among the established canoeists than among those new to the sport. I've bought more than my share of used top end canoes from canoe owners much more well-heeled than I but who lost interest and sold out after heading on to their next dalliance.

PK


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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: December 4th, 2009, 12:45 am 
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Charlie Wilson wrote:
DS canoes is pretending to make... DS is able to market the product at half what Hemlock and Vermont ask. Now how can that be? I suspect the answer is ridiculously low cost projections.


Well, my friend, I put my figures - all of them - right out there on the table for everybody to see. I'll even send you the entire spreadsheet if you want it.

I've been doing research for years about these things and I know most of the main suppliers, even ordered from a few of them. I have a really fair idea of exactly how much the materials that go into these things cost, and how much of them I will need to buy for each canoe. Scraps and bias cuts are used for lots of reasons besides "scientifically applied" reinforcements. Aside from reducing weight, using cuts like this where possible saves the cost of buying needless yards of materials. I know how much resin goes into a hull (give or take 10%) and how much it costs per gallon when purchased in bulk - the same way large concerns like Bell buy it... or even small shops like PBW if they're smart. I know I don't have to buy thousands of yards of cloth to get a decent price break. Sweet Composites (the company I used as a model in my spreadsheet) offers nice deals for even a 100 yard roll, and a lot better for 500 yds. Not a deal breaker for anybody starting up any kind of business.

Build times are your word against mine. I've personally watched every aspect of the infusion process, and from what I've seen, it it goes rather quickly. Apparently, all the labor intensive work lies in the "fit and finish" necessary to produce the BMW, nay... the Ferrari of canoes. Well, when I look at one of these waterborne Ferraris, 95% of what I find attractive is the beautiful lines of a great designer with an eye for grace and beauty. That says nothing about the quality of the construction method used. Can't say I see anything that speaks of "fit and finish" in a boat with infused rails, infused thwarts (or plywood dowels instead) and plywood decks that are stuck on the hull with Plexus... and not always so neatly I might add. Compare that type of work to that done by makers of the highest quality strip built hulls like Nick Schade, or the magnificent hand built wood and canvas creations of Tom MacKenzie and Rollin Thurlow, or the delicious lapstrake canoes of master builder Geoffrey Burke. These are the Ferraris of the canoeing world, not some cloth and resin stuck in a polished mold until it's hard enough to pop out and glue stuff to.

There are scores of folks out there (myself included) who would be happy as a bug in a rug to get a dozen orders for strip built boats at $3000 each. Can you actually compare the labor and materials costs to produce a fine stripper to those of a production composite canoe? Hell, for starters, there's twice as many wet-outs in a stripper as there are in a composite boat (one outside the "mold" and one inside it). Plus several fill coats on the outside and all that sanding. :doh: Then the varnishing itself. Highly skilled work, hand painting 4-5 coats sanded between coats and done in a totally dust free environment under controlled heat and humidity. Can't change the promoters for varying temps like you do with vinyl ester. Varnish just is.

You saw the boat I made for Rose. You called it a "work of art" right in front of me. I am only asking $4000 to build one, with all that fancy wood and carved external stems and hand sculpted thwarts and hand fitted decks of highly figured wood. I figure 160 hours of work at $20/hr and $800 for materials = 1 hand built stripper for $4000. Easy-peasy pricing. I'd make the same boat in a plainer version for $3000. 120 hrs. x $20/hr = $2400 plus $600 for materials = 1 $3000 stripper. Imagine what would happen to the price if I applied some cockamamie accountant's formula to the finished boat, then added a "profit margin" for myself in addition to my own $20 labor rate? Maybe a $10,000 strip canoe? :o Sorry, I'd rather make 'em and sell 'em than to take top honors for Ferrari priced canoes that no one will buy.

The only thing that stops me from doing it is the lack of orders, not the dismal recompense for my labor. It's hard to sell a $4000 canoe, but making them to sell at that price is no problem for me. $20/hr.... plus all the profits from all the accessories I get to sell the customers... not a terrible wage. Every small boat builder I know uses the simple method of adding the materials costs to the hourly rate they need to make things work. None of them are doing it to get rich. All of them would like to make as many boats as they could get orders for. None of them earn much more than $20/hr. Geoff Burke asks $6000 for a lapstrake canoe like Scherzo. 240 hours at $20/hr, plus $1200 for materials = 1 lapstrtake masterpiece at $6000. $20/hr. x 500 hours plus $2000 for materials gets you a $12,000 traditional ADK guideboat - about the going rate.

Labor rates...? Well, there we go again. If production canoe makers are really stuck with a $20/hr pay scale as opposed to what the auto industry pays its new hires, maybe they should go down to Tennessee and score some of those $14/hr folks. Or just come to a resort town like Saratoga Springs where I live and get them for $11/hr. Or to my wife's school and get them for $9/hr (and they won't have to get punched in the face anymore by wacky gang banger teens). All you really need is someone to help line up the cloth and paste it in place with "what amounts to industrial hair spray". Lay in your release fabric and bagging material, seal the system, check for leaks and flip the switch. Come back a few hours later, turn off the vacuum and pop the boat out. It's not rocket science, so you really don't need to hire rocket scientists.

All of the other operating costs were researched for the purpose of the game, even to the point of calling a few real estate agents to finds out how cheaply I could rent a building to build the DS canoes. Of course, this was done for my own purposes since I eventually would like to throw my hat into the ring. Build times at DS are from conversations with established builders of hand laid boats. You can also do the math if you're the least bit savvy. Pete Hornbeck turns out over 400 boats a year, all sold DragonSlayer style - direct sales right at the facility. He has a staff of three on the assembly line. They work 5 day weeks. 400 boats divided by 250 days = 1.6 boats/day. 24 man/hrs./1.6 = 15 hrs/boat. Actually, Pete told me they take less time than that. Perhaps some of his workers aren't full-time, or they don't work in the winter. Whatever the labor costs, he is able to sell a 12' Kevlar canoe for less than half of what a SpitFire retails for, and since his output is roughly 5 times that of PBW... well, you can get a sense of where the market for pack canoes lies. Don't know about Hemlock or Vermont output, but I just never see any of their boats on the water, so that must mean something as well.

Charlie Wilson wrote:
is amusing that folks who've never working in or operated a composite boat shop are so sure that those who have are gouging them.

Loveless knives cost more than twenty Buck blades. Ferraris cost more than twenty times what a Chevy does. Is the better product worth the difference? To some, but not to others, but price always goes up exponentially as any product approaches perfection, be it boats or anvils.


Glad I can amuse you so easily.

How much time have you spent hunched over an anvil pounding out a hot piece of steel fresh from the forge? Not as much as I have, I'll bet. Oh, I forgot... Loveless knives are stock removal knives. No anvil necessary. Get a piece of stainless and grind it to shape, then sell your reputation rather than the intrinsic qualities of a useful product. $25,000 for a knife? Collector's item stuff, not the basis for developing a sound business plan. Try making and selling 1700 $25,000 knives a year... or even 17.

My oldest son and I spent some quality time with James Schmidt before he passed. Jim was the greatest maker of Damascus folders that ever graced the planet. He lived in Charlton, NY... about 20 minutes from my house. Jim's knives were (still are) the most magnificent pieces of "male jewelry" I've ever had the good fortune to hold in my hands. Every piece was a completely original work of art, and he taught many gifted makers how to build folders "Schmidt style". Until you have felt the way a James Schmidt folder opens without effort and locks in place like a vault, you can't even understand the true meaning of fit and finish. Every part hand forged and fit to perfection with files and finishing stones. And their beauty... sitting there in your open palm in the light of a glowing gas forge... enough to bring tears of joy to a grown man's eyes.

At the time Jim died, you could still get one of his new works for under $3000 (somewhere I'll dig out his brochure and scan it to prove my point).... if you had the good fortune to order one in time for it to be made before he died (8 year waiting list). They took about two weeks of painstaking craftsmanship to build from start to finish, made by a man who sat at the top of the knife world at the time.

Charlie Wilson wrote:
this situation the Buck/Chevy guys are opining that the product they feel comfortable buying is all that anyone might or should desire. I reject that.


Go ahead and reject it. Doesn't mean that the world will follow in your footsteps.

I find it amusing that you keep uping the ante with your canoe/car comparisons. Well, I don't think anyone here is really buying your Ferrari/"X" brand carbon/Kevlar hybrid composite hull comparison. I'm not. They will paddle exactly like a well made glass canoe... maybe not as well, as some of us really prefer to paddle heavier canoes. And very few of the clientele for such lightweights are really spending all that much time carting them into distant places, and those that do it all the time really won't notice an extra five or ten pounds on their shoulders.

Anyway, you seem to forget that this is a game, and IMHO, your gamesmanship is a bit lacking here. You were fine when you were providing useful info about layups and materials, but adding comments like "pretending" and "ridiculous" are inciting at the very least, insulting at the worst to those who were enjoying this thread way back in the beginning. If you don't like the way we play ball here, feel free to start your own virtual stock removal cutlery company, or maybe an Italian car company (good luck with finding the true labor and materials costs involved there :doh:). Or maybe a state-of-the-art anvil company making and selling the world's most expensive anvils.

BTW, just exactly what is that "exponentially high priced" perfect anvil you refer to? I'm curious to find out exactly what kind of anvil flattens hot steel better than a Peddinghaus, curiouser still to discover why I'd want to spent more than a Peddinghaus costs unless it comes with its own hammer wielder. I paid $1.75 a pound for my mint condition 100-pound Hay-Budden. It rings like there's no tomorrow, has an unbelievable rebound and it squashes steel just fine with the assortment of used hammers that I got for free, polished the faces like mirrors by myself and custom fitted ash or hickory handles to.

Sometimes the very best doesn't have to cost the very most. :wink:


Last edited by Battenkiller on Wed Dec 04, 2009 12:37 pm, edited 647 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: DragonSlayer Canoes
PostPosted: December 4th, 2009, 5:09 am 
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Battenkiller wrote:
Every small boat builder I know uses the simple method of adding the materials costs to the hourly rate they need to make things work. None of them are doing it to get rich. All of them would like to make as many boats as they could get orders for. None of them earn much more than $20/hr.
I don't doubt you on this... and apologies if what I'm about to raise is covered earlier: I did go through post by post a few weeks ago and struggled to see just how this bit was going to work.

Is there, somewhere in this thread, any projection of future value? If your initial investment is tens of thousands of dollars then you would presumably hope to be able to exit with at least that same amount (if not considerably more, given the risks you've taken, to say nothing of the hours and energy you've committed) as and when you sold up / retired. How does that work in the small-boat building world?

Have you got a figure in mind for the market value of Dragonslayer Canoes after (say) 10 years assuming {a} things go well; and {b} things don't go so well. What combination of asset value and profitability (over and above materials and labour costs, etc) would determine that value?

Alternatively, what hull price and volume of output would be needed for you (or someone else) to employ a salaried manager to take everything over and return you (or someone else) a market rate on however much has been sunk into the business?

As i said, apologies if I've missed discussion of this earlier, and if I'm off track in having this concern: I grew up in a small business that was sold on and dabbled in economics at college but don't presume to know exactly how this sort of thing should be calculated. Does strike me as significant though, 'cos if you are not at least confident of about being able to exit with what you started with... or of sitting back and letting someone else shoulder the work... you surely need to be putting a certain amount per hull into recouping your lost investment (preferably including all those seemingly uncosted hours you appear to be happily volunteering (believe that's right) as part of getting DS Canoes started).


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