Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

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jellyghost
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by jellyghost » 04 Sep 2018, 16:49

My neighbor and I are debating the pros and cons of buying a low budget boat. I have been looking for an aluminum boat, but he suggested a nearby 1973 Starcraft bass boat with a fiberglass boat. It is a great package and a great price. I know everyone on here at least likes aluminum boats, but would you consider an older fiberglass boat? I understand that aluminum is probably a little more rugged, but what other things should I consider? Thanks!
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Weldorthemagnificent
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Re: Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by Weldorthemagnificent » 04 Sep 2018, 16:56

In my parts the motor is worth 500 and so is the trailer. You may find more enthusiasm on iboats or fiberglassics etc but there’s nothing wrong with glass boats. I’m partial to aluminum because there are lots of rocks where I fish (Canadian shield) heck it’s all rock and I like to pull boats up on shore. I think in the long run, I’d want to keep a fiberglass boat inside.


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DaleH
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by DaleH » 04 Sep 2018, 17:13

jellyghost wrote:I understand that aluminum is probably a little more rugged, but what other things should I consider?
Define 'rugged'?

LIFE - In a saltwater environment, even on a protected aluminum boat, it is only a matter on time - not IF - that that salt WILL eventually corrode some rivets and they will need to be replaced. Yes, the sun/UV will chalk up an frp 'plastic classic', but it can be wet-sanded and brought back to a new luster, protected with a good wax or polymer finish after the wet-sanding or even or painted or re-gelcoated. In a saltwater boat, the plastic classic will be a forever boat ... not so much a tin boat.

WEIGHT - For those without PU trucks or larger vehicles, the ease of trailering a tin skiff behind a smaller vehicle realy cannot be beat, or like when throwing a jon boat in the bed of a pickup truck.

ECONOMY - The weight above also translates to performance (fuel economy) on the water, as it takes more horsepower to push a heavier boat.

CARE/SKILL Ownership - I'd say it's a toss up, as there's some basic knowledge and then materials to buy to repair either a tin boat or re-glass the frp.

I'd buy what you're comfortable with ... as I do think they both have their place! I personally would go with tin if in fresh, unless I got a killer deal on the frp hull that I just couldn't pass up.
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MrGiggles
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by MrGiggles » 04 Sep 2018, 18:23

The big potential issue with an older fiberglass boat is when they are left outside all year (as they so often are), water pools in them and rots the stringers and transom. Rebuilding them is very labor intensive. A tin boat can sit outside for years, all it may need is a transom board and a good cleaning.

Glass boats are quieter and smoother riding. They're also much heavier, and consequently require a larger outboard (and more fuel to run it). They're also more fragile when it comes to beaching and collisions.

Aluminum is lightweight, which is good and bad. Easy to tow, takes less power to move them, but causes a rougher ride, and allows the wind to blow it around easier. Aluminum is also noisy.

IMO, for boats in that price range, aluminum all the way. Most cheap glass boats in that range are only worth the motor that's hanging on them.

CedarRiverScooter
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by CedarRiverScooter » 04 Sep 2018, 20:17

I had a glass trihull. Used to beach it, the sand had gravel mixed in. Started taking on water. Found that the keel had worn thru.

Now I have alum & it doesn't mind the gravel so much.

jellyghost
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by jellyghost » 04 Sep 2018, 20:38

Thank you for all of these replies. I like the basic idea of aluminum for all of the reasons mentioned.
One of my main concerns is stability. I have young kids, and if they get scared, they aren't going to want to fish very much. Will a heavier boat be more stable when walking around and riding?

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Re: Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by Weldorthemagnificent » 04 Sep 2018, 20:49

Absolutely. A fiberglass bass boat is a pleasure to fish from. If you are fishing lakes and not beaching the boat regularly. Take a hard look at transom and any visible stringers. Floor condition will be a good indicator of things below decks. Honestly, if that thing runs, worst case scenario you keep motor and trailer and the hull goes to the landfill and pick up an aluminum hull.


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RedHatRedNeck
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by RedHatRedNeck » 04 Sep 2018, 21:40

Where around Kansas City are you from? I had a 14' tried Hull before going g aluminum. Ended up not being the best move on my part but everyone has different situations.
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MrGiggles
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by MrGiggles » 04 Sep 2018, 22:16

jellyghost wrote:Thank you for all of these replies. I like the basic idea of aluminum for all of the reasons mentioned.
One of my main concerns is stability. I have young kids, and if they get scared, they aren't going to want to fish very much. Will a heavier boat be more stable when walking around and riding?
Yes, a 60lb kid bouncing around is going to have much less of an impact on 1200lb hull vs a 400lb.

That's not to say tin boats aren't stable, but they need to be wide.

By the way, if you're in Missouri, Kansas motors (and maybe boats as well) are not titled. They are in Missouri. Might be an extra complication if the seller fudges the paperwork. You can title them in MO with the right documentation, however.

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onthewater102
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by onthewater102 » 04 Sep 2018, 22:51

An older fiberglass boat is more of a project and a health hazard to repair than an aluminum boat. Even metal slivers of aluminum rarely pierce the skin, fiberglass dust is harsh on the lungs and a b!t(h to clean up without the proper facilities/filters etc.

Plus, water logged foam becomes much more likely in an old glass boat as their foam is usually integral in the bottom of the hull between the stringers. The same pooled water that will attack the stringers will get to the foam.

Stability with young kids shouldn't be an issue...you're not going to be taking young kids out in bad weather or on really rough/heavily trafficked water anyway for safety concerns. I'm not saying go grab a 1436 jon boat - but a 16' V-Hull will be easy on the wallet at easy to restore while being plenty stable.
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by jethro » 05 Sep 2018, 10:04

Agree with everything said here. Weight can be a curse as much as it can be a blessing. For me, I like a boat I am comfortable beaching and camping with. You can certainly beach a glass boat using care, but I would not feel comfortable keeping it beached overnight like I do sometimes while camping. You can somewhat combat this with a keel protector, but still, not ideal.
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surfman
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by surfman » 05 Sep 2018, 12:08

Fiberglass is great stuff, I have restored one at least twice, learned from my mistakes. You can do a lot with fiberglass and it is really easy to work with too. An older boat more than likely has wood incorporated into the hull, either in the stringers, in the transom and sometimes even laminated into the fiberglass hull for stiffness. Chances are it is rotten and will need to be redone. That is usually a lot of work which includes disassembling the boat and a lot of grinding of old glass. I would think that an aluminum boat would require less work, depending on it's condition. Although I have seen some people on this forum restore or try to restore severely corroded aluminum boats that I wouldn't even think of fixing. But that is just me.

CedarRiverScooter
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by CedarRiverScooter » 05 Sep 2018, 12:53

Maybe just me, but I can't stand scratching a shiny boat. However, rubbing up against a dock pylon is not a problem for flat olive drab green. Can't even tell.

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Stumpalump
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by Stumpalump » 05 Sep 2018, 14:48

The only reason to buy the Starcraft would be if you need the trailer. I bet you can't get the part to fix the motor. The glass is probably soft and has rotten wood under it. Find a tin boat with an old Johnson Evinrude.
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LDUBS
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Vintage Fiberglass vs. Vintage Aluminum

Post by LDUBS » 21 Sep 2018, 22:22

Well, dry rot isn't a problem for Alum or fiberglass. But with fiberglass you might worry about polyestermites. :LOL2: :LOL2:
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