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Van Dam Boats for Sale

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At Ben Van Dam’s small boat shop in Boyne City, Michigan, the air reeks of fresh wood while his presence fills the space with purpose and an aura of hopefulness. Ben, now 40, has represented his family business for five generations – serving both its business clients and itself. Select the best Van Dam boats for sale.

Van Dam wooden boats require anywhere from eight to 24 months to construct, representing thousands of hours of labor by skilled artisans. Their meticulous work results in one-of-a-kind vessels guaranteed for life.

Customization

Van Dam boats are tailored to meet the specific requirements of their owners and environments – whether that means customizing every detail or retrofitting for future generations. As a result, these vessels will become beloved heirlooms that will endure throughout time.

In 1977, newlywed Steve Van Dam established Van Dam Wood Craft in Harbor Springs, Michigan. As a child, he sailed small wooden sailboats on Lake Macatawa and dreamt of building one to travel the world. Following an apprenticeship under master craftsman Vic Carpenter of Canada for several years, he brought new construction techniques back home for use on his line of wooden boats in Harbor Springs.

Van Dam’s custom wooden boats combine modern engineering and classic woodworking techniques to produce boats that are not only stunningly beautiful but also strong and reliable. Using cold molding techniques – laminating thin strips of wood together using room-temperature epoxy resin – rather than traditional nails or metal fasteners allows Van Dam to build lighter boats than those made exclusively of wood and makes them less likely to leak or rot than conventional wooden vessels.

Van Dam Custom Boats’ builders take great pride in the attention to detail that marks their craftsmanship, finishing each area of each boat that won’t be seen with just as much care and meticulous standards as its exterior mirroring to ensure each vessel will withstand time.

Design

Van Dam takes great pride in both its craftsmanship and engineering of boats, but also the design and engineering. Many designs are created by Van Dam employees renowned for their design skills and meticulous approach to detailing. Additionally, they use advanced technologies such as cold molding, which allows them to assemble planks of wood with adhesive instead of the more conventional method of gluing the pieces edge-by-edge; as a result, their structures are lighter yet stronger while requiring less maintenance than previous structures.

Van Dams employs an eight-person crew that puts in long hours, frequently working five 10-hour days per week during busy periods. Prices do not appear on their website; however, Crain’s Detroit Business reported in April 2019 that boats start at around $200,000 and can exceed $1 million in price.

Van Dam employs outside manufacturers for parts such as gauges and seats, such as Jesse Brown from Maine, who is an expert at creating quality parts from wood and steel. Jesse and his shop staff are currently learning foam machining so that they can produce fully sculpted seats in the style of modern concept cars – their goal is to create boats that will last generations!

Construction

Any boat can get you from point A to point B, but a Van Dam Custom Boat provides more than transportation; it is an experience that demands patience, understanding, and an appreciation of artistry.

Visits to their Boyne City, Michigan workshop reveal an atmosphere of calm purposefulness. The prominent building smells of freshly cut wood and is abuzz with skillful work; in the back room, a machine shop foreman bends metal into shape using a manual lathe – slowly creating tiny coils as he fashions an exhaust pipe.

Since Steve and Jean Van Dam founded their shop from their garage north of Harbor Springs in 1977, Van Dam has grown tremendously; today, it employs twelve staff and produces more than two boats annually.

Van Dam boats take between 6,000 and 20,000 hours to build, and our meticulous team pays careful attention to detail during each stage of assembly. Every piece of Honduran mahogany used in construction is book-matched, meaning its grain pattern aligns precisely on either side; double planking with Okoume plywood ensures stability on deck, while the third skin of Honduran mahogany gives extra support.

Van Dam’s team of designers takes great care in designing new boats. Utilizing cutting-edge 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software and CNC machining processes, they use visualization software and full-size mylar patterns to craft visual representations and full-scale prototypes of their vision for each vessel they create.

Maintenance

Van Dams are dedicated to crafting boats of impeccable quality that will serve their owners for generations. Each boat undergoes a yearly inspection where its artisans, who built it, examine every inch of the surface. If necessary, touch-ups or the application of varnish layers are made as part of this meticulous process – each Van Dam Custom Boat bears witness to this passion and dedication put into creating it!

Van Dam Boats has built up an excellent reputation, as well as created an extraordinary family business that goes far beyond boat building – it serves more as a partner and speaks volumes of its attention to detail and commitment to its clients. Their lifetime guarantee stands as a testament to this.

Van Dam’s story of expanding their business from a short 3-year stop into one of the most revered names in wooden boat building is truly incredible. Beginning as a father and son team working for paltry wages, they continue their legacy of craftsmanship and patient ownership until today, leaving an indelible mark upon history with unwavering dedication and passion, resulting in the lasting legacy they have left upon the world.

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