A "tough" USA wood?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by ted655, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. ted655
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    ted655 Senior Member

    I realize we are at a definate disadvantage here in the US, when it comes to wood species, but here is where I am. Telling me about wood far away will just make me cry. It has to be American wood.
    So... I want to make some wood storm shutters for all the, "way too big", windows on my boat. I need a strong, BUT flexible wood. I need them thin as possible, (1/4" ? ). Oak is strong, but it also breaks if a shock hits it. I want something springy. No matter if it isn't a good "water" wood, it is high on the boat & will have to be a maintenance item. I'd rather do that and gain the strength/resilience.
    Suggestions? Thanks,
     
  2. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Ted, live oak is the stuff you want. It is the densest of all north American woods, is rot resistant and has an interlocking grain, which resists splitting.

    Honestly, you will likely be better off with two layers of 1/8" plywood glued together or use a composite, like Nida Core and a biax sheathing.
     
  4. ted655
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    ted655 Senior Member

    Here in Louisiana, there is lots of live oak. As a result of our 2 hurricanes, there may be some who are milling the uprooted.
    But...., You think ply could be used? If so,then I am not as limited to chaise. I can buy marine types in ply here. What type? GRPs vwill add a lot of weight, no? Thanks.
    I should mention I'm thinking of "slats", not solid panels. Something to take the shock of a wave, but still let light in & allow some visibility.
     
  5. terhohalme
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    terhohalme BEng Boat Technology

  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Pound for pound, plywood is stronger then steel and can be used in a slat configuration. Since you want 1/4" material, you should go for two layers of 1/8". Glue two pieces together to get the additional veneer layers and grain orientation. Paint them pretty and call it done. To make them as strong as possible, cant each plywood piece at 22 degrees to the center line of each other. This will orient the veneers to provide the best cross grain strength.

    You could also use a ballistic film on the glass. 3M has several products that are far better then the competition's offerings. It will not save your glass (it will crack), but will prevent it from permitting things coming through it. It can be had tinted or not and is surprisingly strong stuff. I have it on the house windows and have conducted tests on samples.
     
  7. eponodyne
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    eponodyne Senior Member

    Marine plywood is probably your best choice. If you can't find marine ply, try MDO board (if you can find it thin enough) or a tighter-budgeted approach would be 1/4", 5-ply birch flooring underlayment (available at Menards in 5X5 sheets for around 15 bucks each, less than a dollar a square foot!). It works fine for the kiteboards I make.... Takes paint well and bonds like fury to/with epoxy and 'glass.
     
  8. ted655
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    ted655 Senior Member

    Thanks eponodyne . I'll try finding the underlayment. It has good tensile strength? That & the ballistic film will probably do it. Is it worth it to isaturate the wood with a epoxy penetrate. Do I really gain that much more strength to warrant the cost? May be overkill.
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    MDO is available down to 3/8" and is only made with three veneers, making it fine for an outdoor sign (it's intended use) but of limited use with an impact load. Underlayment usually has more plys, but the exterior plys are sanded very smooth, to accommodate flooring applications, making these exterior veneers very thin and not particularly effective in load bearing.

    Epoxy alone, will provide no additional strength to the panels, though it will help waterproof if checking can be controlled.
     
  10. ted655
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    ted655 Senior Member

    :) I just Googled "Halex" birch underlayment, 6mm, 5 ply water proof glue. Looked good to me. It will be perfect, IF, 1 of the big box stores carries it locally. Nix the epoxy? OK. What about white Rhino liner coated?
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Polyurethane truck bed liner is tough stuff and will dramatically increase the abrasion resistance of the panels. Se if you can get a local tuck bed liner applier to squirt your panels for a reasonable price, it's worth the effort. Of course cut them a tad undersize, as the liner material goes on pretty thick. Then can finish them smooth, which is easier to clean. A typical bed liner would be about 30 mils coverage, so fastener holes need to be oversize too.
     
  12. cudashark
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    cudashark Senior Member

    If any body is interested in an excelent source of wood both domestic and exotic call my source Brad at 561 296-4450 he will ship anywhere.
     
  13. ted655
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    ted655 Senior Member

    Thanks Cuddashark. Here is the problem with anything "shipped", (and your bud has my sympathizes). I orrded a VERY small special fuel filter. No bigger than a Bic lighter. The cost was $15, the shipping was $10. It weighed virtually nothing! I had to buy a xtra long screwdriver, (18" ), it cost $6, it was $11 shipping. The early promise of the internet was access to competitive prices, no sales tax and variety. Shipping costs are grossly inflated, and quickly strip, OFTEN exceed, the savings we find.
    Sorry about the rant, but it's getting ridiculas.
     
  14. westlawn5554X
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    westlawn5554X STUDENT

    try the root of an oak... stronger and resist the bad quality u said...
     

  15. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    Perhaps up here in the PNW we still get a better grade of lumber. I don't know sometimes our stuff looks pretty bad. However the MDO plywood situation here is still pretty good. It's always been the secret good deal of plywood. While the 3/8 is only 3 ply it's decent. The 1/2 is nice.

    Perhaps I misunderstand the project. Are we talking about storm shutters as panels to be temporarily fastened over the windows from the outside to prevent green water from crashing through under rough conditions? If so, it's hard for me to imagine there being enough difference between quality panels to make a difference. I am imagining that you would want them thin and light to make it easier to stash.

    A light framework glued and screwed to the front masquerading as paneled construction or hidden behind would increase the stiffness and toughen it up even further. Double sided MDO plywood takes a finish quite well and holds up marvelously under our wet conditions here on Puget Sound. Perhaps the tropical heat and humidity down south is harder to stand up to. In any event MDO panels seem far easier to make, finish, and maintain than solid wood to me, of course if I have misunderstood the nature of the project disregard my .02.
     
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