How much plywood would you have to order...

Discussion in 'Materials' started by graywolf, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. graywolf
    Joined: Dec 2014
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    graywolf Junior Member

    I am wondering what quantity of marine plywood one would have to order to get diagonal layed 24-foot, or longer, sheets of some kind of super quality boat building wood? In other words, a custom run.

    Would, say, a container load be enough?
  2. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    It sounds like a question for a plywood manufacturer.

    If this has to do with the 'glued lapstrake' thread, I don't think diagonal ply is needed. I also think anything over 12' length will be two pieces scarfed together, thinking it has to do with the length of available presses.

    Okoume Marine Plywood with Puzzle Joints: 4x10, 4x12, 4x16, 4x24
  3. graywolf
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    graywolf Junior Member

    Yep, it probably is a question for a plywood manufacturer, but since I a not actually buying I was kind of hoping someone here might have some idea.

    Now in the old days, mass produced plywood was made in long rolls, or maybe more correct to say the plies were, so pieces of any length could be made. I have no idea if that is still true. The problem is shipping and handling such long sheets which is why container loads. Obviously, if I am talking container loads I am not thinking of building just one boat.

    Kind of trying to think through how one would setup and run a plant to produce traditional boats with modern methods. Kind of interesting, actually. For instance, I have kind of abandoned the idea of glued lapstrake. Why? Because you have to set one plank and then wait for it to set up. That is not efficient for limited mass production. With more traditional methods, you can have five guys on each side of the hull putting on pre-cut strakes, easily build a hull a day (20-footer). Another problem that solves is how do you replace damaged strakes in a glued hull?

    This is all more about an old guy with nothing better to do with his time, than anything that will ever happen.
  4. graywolf
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    graywolf Junior Member

    Looking on the web, apparently, these days, plywood mostly is a semi-mass produced product produced in individual sheets. That seems to be especially true of the kinds of plywood boat builders use. It occurs to me that this may have had more to do with the end of wood boat production than we would think. A lot of industries have folded because the materials they needed became unavailable.

    Scarfing short lengths together may be okay for some guy puttering in his garage, but it would kill the profits for mass produced boats. I have been visualizing NC machines cutting pre-designed strakes and beveling them so they could easily be fitted by semi-skilled people, not cut and try fitting. Sigh!
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    UNCIVILIZED DIY Junkyard MadScientist

    Talk to the guys at Edensaw Woods in Port Townsend, WA Since, at least the last time I spoke with them, they were up for laminating me pretty much any kind of custom plywood that I wanted. Although I didn't get into inquiring on prices, nor super long sheets such as you're talking about. But given that some rowing shells are made from piece that long, including several of them in the Port Townsend Rowing Club, & one that hangs from the ceiling in The Public House, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding what you need. Which, on that note, you can also contact companies which make custom wooden rowing shells, & ask them where they get their wood.

    That said, are you opposed to scarfing a few sheets together to get the length that you want, like most of the rest of us? As custom plywood with those specifications won't be cheap. So what materials are you thinking? And you do realize that you can also DIY your own right? Just build a looong table, with a really smooth surface. Then get/make some veneers, plus a vacuum bag setup, & have at it. There are a multiplicity of options for mold tables like that. Plus it would allow you to create some neat patterns if you desired it. Like a chevron/herringbone layup, which one custom boat I ran across used for her cabin ceiling. Follow This Wood Boat Building Project for Some Great Tips!

    A few other resources would be; Frost Hardwoods in San Diego CA, custom boatyards such as Schooner Creek in Portland OR, & via Kurt Hughes, the multihull designer. Check out his blog for ideas.
  6. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Does anyone know of any US plywood manufacturers capable of or willing to do a short run of high quality marine plywood to BS1088. I have been waiting for years for someone to produce a paulownia panel to BS1088 but it just isn't happening so I would be interested in having a run made of maybe 100 or so sheets but have no interest in anything less than BS1088. I know I can get Paulownia plywood from China but trust in the glueline ?? I have searched for manufacturers online but most are only laminating face veneers on existing ply. So far I have not found any smaller mills that make the complete panel from veneers so any leads would be appreciated.


  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Georgia Pacific will do custom runs on short lots, but you'll pay for it. The reality is custom lengths with full length veneers never occurred. Most were simply scarfed to the length required. Some orders that were big enough (Chris Craft with their lapstrakes, for example) used 10 and 12' length veneers, but these too were scarfed into longer sheets.

    The need for custom plywood isn't nearly as necessary as it once was, unless you plan on a long production run, building the same thing over and over. For a 24' double diagonal build, you don't need custom lengths. The diagonals will run off at the sheer and centerline in most places, though some minor scarfing (or Payson butt joint) will be necessary amidship. The amount needed in the midship area will be around 20% - 25% of the total material needed on the average 24' powerboat build.

    Set Up a scarfing jig and cut a few sheets for the midship area and use standard size stock for everything else.
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