Visited my friend Jim Shula up in the Portland, Maine area for the Maine Wooden Boat Show. Got in a very nice visit with Jim and a bunch of Tolman Skiff Builders, and Renn Tolman, the designer of the boat. It was good to see Renn and finally get to chat with him. A two day visit was way too short though, and I find myself contemplating another visit, perhaps this time to the Tolman Skiff birthplace of Homer, Alaska.
While visiting with Jim, he was very kind to demonstrate his Precision CNC milling machine by cutting out some signs, and boat parts for the Tolman Skiff Kits he sells. He uses his CNC machine to precisely cut the skiff parts out of very high quality marine grade plywood.
Without a wooden boat kit, a good portion of boat building time is spent on lofting the plans onto wood, then painstakingly cutting out each part by hand, and then smoothing out less than perfect cuts. A human does not cut wood by hand using a jigsaw, hand saw, circular saw or router with the precision of CNC milling and cutting machines. A wooden skiff kit saves upwards of a hundred hours of lofting, cutting and fairing time. This is a huge savings. You really have to contemplate dollars versus time saved, and add in the cost of materials wasted.
In addition to boat kits, Jim offers custom sign carving using his CNC Machine. You can get all the benefits anesthetics of a custom hand carved sign, but with more precision and much less cost. If you can imagine a 3d sign design, then Jim can plug this into his computer and perfectly replicate it on wood.
New England, and Portland, Maine Sign Shops
CNC Sign Carving
Wooden Sandwich Signs