Best wood?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by TuckerJ, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. TuckerJ
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    Location: Maine

    TuckerJ New Member

    Hi all, my first post here :) and its for my first boat that i have bought at 16 :) very excited. It's a '62 Lone Star El Dorado(So we have come to believe) and I'm redoing everything on it. For the "cabin" walls and floor I want to use wood, but I am not sure what kind of wood to use. I live in central Maine and have plenty of land and a wide variety of trees to use, I just don't know what would be best. I hear Mahogany and White Oak and Cedar are common? So some input on what the best is would be very very helpful.

    Thanks, Tucker
  2. Kaa
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Kaa Wanderer

  3. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    Anything and everything has been used in boat construction (even bamboo!). The best woods are anything that is reasonable clear, strait grained, and relatively rot resistant. The woods you list all work well, also common is doug fir and larch, locus, southern pine.

    The ones you list are all good with good rot resistance but their weight are at opposite ends of the wood spectrum. The white oak and mahogany are heavy hard woods and will take a lot of abuse, cedar is much lighter with a better strength to weight ratio, and it is easy to work, but it will not tolerate a lot of abrasion or banging around. The woods I listed above are in between these two extremes. I have used all of them.

    If none of these qualities are an issue, pick them by appearance since they all have their own unique look (presuming you are going for a 'bright' finish), or by cost. All will serve you well.

    Good luck.
  4. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Here in Maine, we have little white oak, but we do have white cedar. Clear white cedar for vertical staves can be sawn from between knots (say, 1 1/4" T&G).
    Fir also abounds, and vertical grain stock can be quarter-sawn by (for example) at least 2 private one man sawmills here in Eddington.
    You need to air dry it, 1" per year.
    So I'd say fir and cedar, and maybe white pine would be okay, with cedar at the top of the list.

  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I'd be inclined to use a wood that wears well, such as pitch pine or other heart pine like species. Cedar is lovely, but quite soft unless it Spanish or you're very selective with heart stock, oak way too heavy, mahogany doesn't wear well, Douglas fur is difficult to get or keep smooth, but wears pretty well
  6. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    It's true that other woods like spanish cedar or hard pine are well suited to the purpose. Indiginous boat woods (in Maine) are pine, cedar, fir, hackmatack and locust and some others of increasing rarity.
    I can get native white cedar in the rough for $1.00 per board foot within five minutes of my house (two different locations).
    So of course, it makes sense to build in such woods here in Maine.


  7. diwebb
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    diwebb Senior Member

    another option is to look at a combination of wood in a panelled format. If you use cedar for the recessed panels and a harder wood for the framing with a hardwood rail located at a height to take most of the hard knocks you may be able to get the best of both worlds from the available wood on your property, or available locally at your nearby sawmills.
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