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From A to sea: How Bar Crusher builds its boats

Bar Crusher has been at the forefront of Aussie-made factory-built plate aluminium boats for the last 20 years.

The techniques and processes may have changed dramatically, but Bar Crusher’s passion and attention to detail remains second to none.

The Tradie got to experience that meticulousness firsthand by taking a tour of Bar Crusher’s headquarters at Dandenong South in Melbourne’s southeast.

It’s at this massive facility that Bar Crusher is able to cut, craft, colour and deliver many tradies the boat of their dreams.

All hands on deck

Bar Crusher Operations Manager Glen Kostuik ran us through the many processes Bar Crusher goes through on-site.

From raw materials, all the way to customers picking up their new favourite toy, there’s someone on-site handling each boat through its build.

Image: Prime Creative Media

Stage 1: Machine shop

All Bar Crusher boats start as blank sheets of aluminium. It’s locally sourced and brought into the warehouse floor for laser cutting and bending.

“These days, there’s pretty much no one out there with a saw – everything’s laser cut on design from the office,” Glen said.

Stage 2: Welding

As well as making boats tradies love, Bar Crusher also employs a fair few for certain works. This includes the welding of the pieces together, which requires speciality aluminium welding training which Bar Crusher does in-house.

“We generally take on people who’ve started in the welding industry, started in steel, and we’ve retrained them to work with aluminium and the specific styles we use,” Glen said.

As each vessel naturally needs to be as water-tight as possible, the welding process is hugely important to get right.

“Everything is made to fit in a specific way, we don’t measure using tape measurers,” Glen said.

“Everything has to be precise because boats are inherently hard to measure.”

Image: Prime Creative Media

Bar Crusher General Manager Sam Holmes emphasised while this stage was very important to get right, every stage needed to be done perfectly to craft a seaworthy boat.

“If you mess up at a certain point, you can’t come back and fix it later, it needs to be checked and tested at that point,” he said.

“An example is the fuel tanks, which are built into the hull, they need to be pressure tested when they’re installed.

“If your car breaks down, you can slow down to the side of the road. You can’t exactly stop in the middle of the ocean.”

Stage 3: Prepping, priming and painting

Gone are the days of painting a boat by hand, Bar Crusher has a much more efficient method in mind. Like many other modern tools at Bar Crusher’s disposal, its painting is done via a large, specially-built machine.

Image: Prime Creative Media

Stage 4: Fit-outs

This is really where an individual’s boat comes to life. Anglers and their styles are all different, and Bar Crusher’s team is ready to install all the latest toys.

“Fishermen love to have a custom boat – they want something that’s different to everyone else,” Glen added.

“There’s a whole bunch of options we can attach at this stage of the process.

“We have our standard inclusions and whatever else you can possibly dream up we can add on as well.”

Image: Prime Creative Media

Stage 5: Signed and delivered

Once that’s all done, the finishing touches are made on the boat and it’s ready for its new owner to pick it up.

“For many, this is a lifelong dream to come in here and pick up their boat,” Sam said.

“We get them as they come in and lay their hands on their boat, you can tell how excited they are to take a Bar Crusher home.”

Glen said this process from purchase to pick up generally takes about four months. As you can tell, each boat is handled by many of Bar Crusher’s 75 team members on-site.

Image: Prime Creative Media

Glen said the facility has evolved tremendously since starting out as a simple garage. He added that every year it continued to grow with Bar Crusher’s overall pioneering innovation.

“I don’t get sick of it – I love building the boats,” Glen said.

“I come in every morning and I do a loop past the finished boats. The drive to keep making them better is always there.”

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