1960s Norfolk Broads River Cruiser Rebuild

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Toady, May 14, 2022.

  1. Toady
    Joined: May 2022
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    Location: Cambridgeshire

    Toady Junior Member

    I am restoring the interior of my boat, a 1960s Norfolk Broads river cruiser which is 40ftx11.5ft, Mahogany on Oak, running a BMC Newage Commander 2.5 heartbeat. Although the previous owners made good of her, I am trying to do her true justice as to her original form and use of materials (eg previous fit out bypassed any use of stringers, had little to no inspection hatches, and used too much plywood for my liking)

    I am struggling to really find any depth of information regarding the types of wood and their specific structural uses for boats of this class and heritage. Most noticeably because any reference to Norfolk Broads takes you to memories of yesteryear and future holiday bookings, with little to nothing of the build specifics.

    In particular, I am yet to discover any reference to the type of wood used for floor cross beams, cross cleats and stringers. I would appreciate any information and advice on this matter, as well as any specific links or knowledge as to the wood choices and their structural applications for this kind of a vessel.

    Based in UK, here is a list of the woods I am currently focussing on, and have access to, amongst others :

    Afrormosia, Iroko, African and Brazilian Mahogany, European Oak, Teak, Utile, Western Red and Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Siberian Larch, and Pitch Pine.

    Thoughts welcome, knowledge golden, wisdom priceless ;)
     
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Toady.

    I am just thinking that you should not get too concerned about type of wood re restoring her to her original form - it is probably more a case of simply using what is available, at a reasonable price.
    Would the larch and the pitchpine be the cheapest out of your list above?
    The first three, along with teak, are probably very expensive, but is oak a reasonable price?

    Can you post some photos of your boat please to illustrate what work you are doing?
    And some 'before' photos as well (if you have any) showing what she might have looked like in her heyday?
     
  3. Toady
    Joined: May 2022
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    Location: Cambridgeshire

    Toady Junior Member

    Thanks for your response Bajansailor.

    I hear you on the concern levels, however since I am down to the ribs I want to get this as right as possible. As I am sure you well know, B&Q is not up to this job and yet prime grade Oak can shrink and crack if applied inappropriately/ to the wrong area, so I am finding it a bit of a minefield and really trying to hone down specific wood uses to their most structural advantage. I hear some allocations for decks, planks, frames, keels, spars, gunwales, knees, breasthooks etc amongst a few others, but almost nothing about the floor cross beams ( which on my vessel will be supporting the sole to a width of 7-9 feet against the stringers/ribs ) so this needs to be right, certainly due to her nature, and the climate conditions of her bilges. Or maybe I am just becoming fanatical!

    Utile and Iroko are cheapest on the list, then yes followed by the larch and pitch pine. The oak is not cheap but if the task requires it, she will receive it.. she has my blood sweat and tears anyway so why not my every penny!
    I will be saving the expensive ones for specific restoration patches, however the African Mahogany comes up cheaper than the Oak anyway.
    And if I have a job left (!) after this expulsion of time spent then I would like a few slats of Costa Rican teak in the sole when all is said and done.. to dream a dream ;)

    I won't be posting any pictures at the moment due to privacy and the fact that she is an easy find on the spiders web. But if I can find something watered down I will be back in touch.

    Kind regards and big thanks

    As a side point, does anyone know why every boater has a different opinion about it all? I had 3 'captains' and an engineer separately look at my engine a few months back and every one said it was cooled in a different fashion..... :) Never mind if you start them on the wood :)))
     
  4. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
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    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    Hi Toady. I've found this yard very good:

    Native Hardwood Timbers | Scottish and English Hardwoods https://www.britishhardwoods.co.uk/native-hardwood-timbers.html

    though they are quite a way from you. Sadly, Boddies of Boroughbridge are no more. In terms of historic information, a few ideas for starters - apologies if you've tried them already - I know how difficult it can be to sort the wheat from the chaff on line! *Sometimes*, facebook groups can, with patience, yield real expertise and good contacts, though my experience is that this is where there is most chaff! Possibly these may be helpful:

    Boats of the Norfolk Broads http://norfolk.broads.org.uk/wiki2018/index.php?title=Main_Page

    The story of Monarch, a Banham's built, former Norfolk Broads hire cruiser https://www.beautifulbritain.co.uk/htm/norfolk_broads/monarch.htm
     
  5. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Rumars Senior Member

    The interior depends on the builder, on a mahogany planked boat I would expect a mahogany interior, but that was ultimately the clients choice. For the visible parts of the interior african mahogany is correct, I would not expect Honduras in the 60's. Everything else, iroko is superior to oak, can also be used as a substitute for teak. Utile is also fine instead of iroko, depending on individual coloring it can also be used as a substitute for mahogany. Afromosia is overkill for the interior, that's a wood for submerged structures.
     
  6. Toady
    Joined: May 2022
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    Location: Cambridgeshire

    Toady Junior Member

    Really appreciate the input everyone, thank you for your effort.

    Once again, and to anyone watching, if we can hone down wood species applications for the stringers and floor cross beams and cleats then I feel a lot thereafter can probably be down to choice of form. So far I have been considering Siberian Larch, pitch pine, and Douglas fir (were it available), but I don't want to say too much as am here to listen moreso ;)

    Thanks again everyone!!
     
  7. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Rumars Senior Member

    I would do stringers, cleats and cross beams in iroko. Utile can also be used for this applications. Originally they would have been most likely oak or maybe larch, those were the cheap woods at the time.
     
  8. Toady
    Joined: May 2022
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    Location: Cambridgeshire

    Toady Junior Member

    Thank you Rumars, sorry I couldn't get back sooner.
    Really appreciate your conciseness. Would you be willing to share your thoughts as to those choices and your reasons why?
    Thanks for your time
     
  9. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Location: Germany

    Rumars Senior Member

    Well, as I said, I believe those parts were oak or larch. The only way to know is to find a boat of the same vintage from the same yard that is still original, or find someone who worked on them at the time.

    Iroko and utile are in the same weight and strenght group as oak, durability is not less then oak, often better. Both woods move less then oak. If they are also cheaper for you, then they are the logical choice.
    You could for example use AYC for stringers, it's rot resistant and lighter, but the cost is significantly higher. In the end, you use what's available and what you like.
     

  10. Toady
    Joined: May 2022
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    Location: Cambridgeshire

    Toady Junior Member

    Much obliged
     
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