need tips - plywood sources

Discussion in 'Materials' started by 1stboat, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. 1stboat
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Maine

    1stboat New Member

    Hello, I am new to boat building, and I am desperate need of any tips. I have a plan for a small 8ft boat, but I am not sure where I can get quality plywood for a good price. I am planning on using lauan plywood, but I have heard that it's veneer is too thin to make it a decent wood to use. This boat that I plan on building will be my first, so with that in mind, I am completely open to any and all tips. :confused:
  2. wdnboatbuilder
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: Cape Coral Fl

    wdnboatbuilder Senior Member

    First thing is the luan marine grade, then is it american standard or euro (loyds). There is a big difference. how about some info on the boat is it stitch and glue, traditionalbuld, or some kinda cold mold? there are a lot of questions to be answered before anyone here can give any advice. There is plenty of experience and knowldge here on this web site.
  3. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    You'll hear many opinions on this forum, from one extreme to the other. All have validity from their point of view. Here is mine. You need to decide how much you are willing to pay for experience. This probably won't be your last boat...more likely one of a handful or more. It will be mostly a learning experience with the corresponding oops'. My thoughts are that you should build something simple, with less expensive components that will last at least a few years or maybe many. Take what you learned and apply it and the money you saved to the next, more complicated project that catches your fancy. Your decision again as to the quality of stuff you use VS how long you expect to keep the boat. I think you will know when the time comes to start shelling out for the good stuff.
    Where I am coming from: The first boat that I built, bout 7 years ago, still sits in the back yard never having seen water. It cost over $1000 to build and is falling apart from all the mistakes I made building it. Subsequent boats have all been under $300 and have all been a learning experience. I get better with each one (I lost count at 9). I'm getting close to building the boat that gets passed onto the grand kids (don't have any yet). The oldest is 5+ years old and still pretty sound. These have all been built out of luan and A/C ply, some with full cloth on the outside and some with just tape on the seams to protect the edge grain. With me living in the middle of the country, most of these boats would have cost 2-3 times as much to build if I had used marine ply+shipping, as the boats are small and the cost of the ply is a much larger percentage of the total cost of the boat than in a larger build.
    There are folks who say "why would you waste all that time and effort and not use high quality materials?" To me the time and effort are repaid in the experience and as most folks learn by their mistakes, sacrificing more $ than necessary to gain the experience and work out the mistakes just so the boat can last a bit longer makes lesser sense, especially on the first couple of boats... 'cause we all know that once you build the first you're hooked:D

    Some boats to consider:
    Bolger Brick
    Elegant Punt
    PD Racer
    One Sheet Skiff (OSS)
    $200 Sailboat
    Poorboy Skiff

  4. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    That's interesting for me, living in Norway (Europe :)
    Is the American luan playwood worse than the European?
  5. wdnboatbuilder
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: Cape Coral Fl

    wdnboatbuilder Senior Member

    yes Raggi American ply has voids where as euro does not. even though I use american standard but I am very leary of it. I use it in say the deck, bulkheads...... never the hull
  6. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Thanks Bruce, I think I will use more Luan :)
    it's about half the price compared to Okume, a little heavier though.

  7. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Location: Oriental, NC

    tom28571 Senior Member

    There is lauan and lauan and lauan. Completely different in suitability for boatbuilding. At the bottom there is 3 ply lauan often found at a builders supply with very thin faces and a very thick garbage grade crossply core. The ratio of core to face thickness may be 75 to 80 percent. The glue is not usually (never for me) waterproof. This grade is weak in every respect and not good for anything that will even see a heavy fog.

    Then there is lauan usually labelled as "underlayment" meant for use under tile or carpet. This will have 3 plies but thicker faces and glue that is at least water resistant. This is the lowest grade that should be considered for a boat and costs much less than marine and not much more than the ugly stuff. Marine ply suppliers sometimes stock this in a "marine" grade but you should be wary.

    Finally there is sometimes available marine grade waterproof lauan in five ply for the 6mm or 1/4 size. This is pretty good stuff and better in some respects that its okoume cousin. More durable and slightly stronger with a face that finishes well. If it were available, I would use this for anything to be painted or sheathed since the grain is not usually very attractive. I have seen it in 3/8 also. Pretty good stuff.
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