Our Construction Process
The crew, well versed in old-world craftsmanship and building techniques (the skill-set that is at the foundation of Van Dam Custom Boats), also embraces technology and innovative design as an integral part of the future of custom wooden boat building.
Technology, at the hands of a master, will not strip away the intricacies of custom handworkings in wood, but will assist in making it last longer and perform better. A balance is reached between convenience, function, performance and beauty. Our processes envelop them all.
It has been called a master craftsman’s art form. At Van Dam Custom Boats, we use the process of cold molding to build all of our one-in-the-world watercraft. This process involves the utilization of room temperature (cold), cured, epoxy adhesive to laminate many thin layers of wood together – creating the hull and structural elements of our boats. By marrying legacy craftsmanship with sound engineering principles, we are able to construct vessels that are stronger, lighter and more durable than boats built via methods used by other builders. Van Dam Custom Boats are built for generational enjoyment and constructed to stand the test of time.
Unlike our early days of hand-drawing the boat on a lofting floor, we now use state-of-the-art 3D computer aided design (CAD) software to generate full-size patterns on mylar. They are accurate to a few thousandths of an inch. We plot detailed shop drawings that outline the framing, mechanical systems, seating, and hardware needs. Craftsmen are able to make adjustments and modify renderings at the touch of a button, ensuring precision, accuracy and the efficiency of the build.
Every board that goes into our custom builds is craftsman selected and carefully sorted by characteristics that will dictate whether it is used for structure, cosmetics, or in some cases both. Each is hand cut and hand bent per design specifications, while attention is given to book matching the grain throughout the construction. Our wood is used as a unidirectional fiber as it is much stronger along the grain than it is across the grain. Engineering takes full advantage of this characteristic and while such precision takes time, it is what separates a Van Dam Custom Boat from others in the industry.
Artistry and functionality carry over to our metalwork, with intricate craftsmanship being a company wide offering. From hand polished cutwaters to custom shaped seating and framing adornments, all metal work is skillfully created on site. Design revisions, or improvements to performance, are made at the hands of our metal craftsmen, utilizing their natural talents and the state-of-the art equipment at their disposal.
Paint & Varnish
Finishing the areas of each boat that will rarely be seen, with the same care and meticulous standards as our mirrored exteriors, is one of many attributes that sets Van Dam Custom Boats apart in the world of custom wooden boat building. It not only guarantees the longevity of quality and function, it affords you peace of mind – your commission is of top-of-range craftsmanship, inside and out. It is not about simply finishing the build and moving on to the next project. It is about you, your expectations and your future enjoyment on the water.
We are no less fastidious in our approach to mechanical and electrical component construction. Power, performance and ease of use are integral aspects of your boating experience and Van Dam Custom Boats recognizes this area as a craft unto itself. Master Certified craftsmen in systems and electronics create and assemble the perfect inner workings, allowing you to control your boat effortlessly, safely and with confidence.
Pay attention to the details.
Do the little things right so the big things work out.
The best place to go with your idea for a dream boat is Van Dam Custom Boats. We were impressed as much with the total experience as we were with the end result. WOW’s on and off the water.”
– Chocolate Chip 3 Owner