Hard wood flooring for strip built kayak?

Discussion in 'Materials' started by brucegseidner, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. brucegseidner
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    brucegseidner Junior Member

    I have been looking into stock to re-saw and make the strips for a kayak project.

    Recently, walking past the display of hard wood flooring in a Loews it struck me that unfinished solid hard wood flooring might be a source of strips when re-saw to the right thickness and then epoxy/glassed. Has this been done or is there some obvious problem that I don't currently see. Yes, it needs to be the right wood and solid, but other than that what would be the problem?
     
  2. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The problem would be weight. Lets face it, there just aren't that many oak canoes around for a reason.

    If you want to resaw Lowe's stock for strip planking look at the stuff they sell for "economy studs". They call it "white wood" which is most often white spruce. This is light weight, not very expensive and an ideal wood for use as a core.
     
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  3. brucegseidner
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    brucegseidner Junior Member

    No Free Lunch

    I should have probably begun this thread as No Free Lunch. I have wanted to build a strip kayak for some time and I don't lack for the equipment to re-saw, route, and size. But the wood, dear lord, I should have planted a forest in my back yard 30 years ago. My son is 14. I am going to plant a patch of Eastern Cedar to atone for what this is going to set us back.

    Any leads or suggestions for long planks would be appreciated. And yes, something light. It is a human powered vehicle.
     
  4. brucegseidner
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    brucegseidner Junior Member

    I had not thought of Spruce. Nor have I read about it being used in a kayak. I will saw up some strips and see how flexible and workable they are. It is not a complex hull. This may be an option.

    Wood - seasoned & dry kg/cu.m

    Balsa 170
    Cedar, red 380
    Spruce 450

    But like Goldilocks I fear that this Balsa is too soft and this Spruce is too hard....
     
  5. Elmo
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    Elmo Junior Member

    I don`t know if you can obtain Kiri ( Paulownia )

    It`s relatively cheap and light.

    Machining - Paulownia is easy to saw, plane, mould, turn and carve. Low silica content results in longer life of all tool edges when working with Paulownia. AII facets of power machining of this timber should give good results.

    Sanding - Paulownia is easy to sand. A smooth finish can be achieved using minimal effort. Sanding materials generally last much longer with Paulownia than other hardwoods. A fine finish is achieved in much less time. There is a very low resin content in Paulownia, which results in longer sandpaper life and less clogging of belts and pad sanders.

    Modern Uses of Paulownia
    Due to the lightweight nature of Paulownia, it is also being recognized for modern applications including:

    * Marine construction
    * Aircraft construction

    A cubic foot weighs about 14-18 pounds v 25-30 pounds for Fir.
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There are several different types of strip planking, which are you referring to? White spruce (Pinus glabra) is a moderately light material comparable to most of the common cedars. Depending on application (strip planking technique) the core can be a cheap, haphazard mix of lumber or a fine selection carefully sawn pieces. In a nut shell, it depends on how much longitudinal stiffness the strips will contribute to the structure from an engineering stand point. With some forms of strip planking, you can use well stacked potato chips as the core material, with others, you need some longitudinal participation from the strips.
     
  7. brucegseidner
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    brucegseidner Junior Member

    I have been looking at kayak designs that are built on a form, strips glued to one another. The hull is then epoxied, and then it is finished glassed inside and out. The form does not remain as a bulkhead. These are gossamer shells that weigh in under 40 pounds. My project looks more like a rowing scull with a kayak fairing on top. It will be close to 30' long and about 15" mid hull to accommodate my behind. It is a lake race boat and will not be navigating among ice bergs.
     
  8. LP
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    LP Flying Boatman

    The glass being on the inside and outside will carry a great deal of the loads in the hull. Shorter strips with well staggered joints should work just fine for you if you can't find longer stock. I like to make trips to the lumber yard just to inspect the stock. On occasion, I've run across "clearance" lumber in the fencing section; discounted 16' 2x western cedar. I scarfed then up and they are stored away for that next stripper project. If you're bored some day, go "window shopping" at your local lumber stores. You might be surprised at what you find. It's a whole lot more relaxed than feeling like you "have" to find wood for your project.

    With a 30' hull, I'd be more concerned with the weight of the wood that you decide on. The spruce that Par mentioned will serve well structurally, but may have a bit of a weight penalty. Cedar would serve you well and balsa would be even lighter, but I've not used the stuff and would not be in a position to recommend it in one way or the other.

    Your wood purchase way seem like a major purchase, but glass and epoxy will tally up a whole lot faster so it makes sense to purchase the the wood that is most suitable for it's intended purpose. I just prototyped a small kayak and bought "cheap" wood to "save a buck." The reality of it all was that I still had to purchase the glass and epoxy to prove the design and the savings was insignificant and, while the kayak was only a prototype, I now have a boat with substandard wood at it's core.

    Good luck and happy building.
     

  9. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    My suggestion would be spruce. Light, strong, and cheap if you buy 16 ft 2 x 4s. Every yard is different. Choose the best (clearest) wood recently stacked OUTDOORS at the yard (try a few yards) and then take it home and sticker it under cover for several months. Make sure it is ventilated on every surface. That means spaces between edges and faces.
    Then mill the wood to the desired thickness (strip width) and rip 1/4" strips with an 80 tooth blate from those pieces. The whole canoe should cost very little if yoiu do this.
     
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