Restoration Tip 10-27-14: Build a Boat Cradle
When we start any significant project at Ensigns Spars, the first thing we do is put the boat on a work cradle. Besides keeping the trailer out of harm’s way, it also puts the boat lower to the ground and allows us to move it around as needed (our cradles all have casters on them). Additionally, it allows us to access the bottom better and the cradle takes up much less room in the shop.
For the garage based boat worker, this may seem like a needless extra step and expense, but if you are doing any kind of major work, the extra time saved by not stepping over the tongue or working around the fenders, will be much appreciated when you start doing the work.
A good wood cradle can be built for about $200 and a good steel cradle can be made between $400 and $600 depending on material and welder availability. I would encourage fleets and clubs to consider building one or two steel cradles with nice adjustable pads and sharing them among members.
Although it may not seem like it when you’re working on your own boat, your time is worth something, and building a cradle could be the biggest time saver for your project.