Question on hull material

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by cdubb, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. cdubb
    Joined: May 2012
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    Location: michigan

    cdubb Junior Member

    Was driving down the road today and had a thought, could one use old barn siding for the hull of a boat? Folks in my neck of the woods pay people to tear them down and the keep all the material. Not sure what type of wood it would be, I know it would be whatever was near by. Just a thought, what do you guys think?
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    In your area the older barns would be yellow poplar, though some pine I would suspect is around too. Yes, this would be fine for small craft, but reclaiming old stock has several hazards. Nail holes, bug infestation, hidden rot, damage of other types and brittleness can cause folks to stray away.
     
  3. cdubb
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    cdubb Junior Member

    Two questions, what is your deffintion of a small craft? And while infestation and rot can not be overcome, nail holes can, can't they?
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A small boat is 30' or less. There are other concerns with well aged wood, UV damage and brittleness are big concerns. Yes, nails holes can be filled, but you have to fill them all. Old wood tends to get quite hard and brittle, so not as well suited as you might imagine.
     
  5. cdubb
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    cdubb Junior Member

    What may be a better option for reclaimed wood?
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Beams are a good choice, but these need to be milled to dimension, which often makes it more costly then just purchasing dimensional stock. If you're looking to build a George Buehler design, then these types of finds can be worth while. If you have the capacity of milling down big, old timbers and don't mind an occasional nail tearing up a blade on a surface planer, then it's an option. Most folks don't have the ability to do much with these old timbers. A 10" table saw only as a 2.5" deep cut.
     
  7. cdubb
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    cdubb Junior Member

    Yeah I have been looking into George's designs for awhile now, I like them because they are simple, that's what I strive for is simple. What would be the cheapest method of making a wooden boat? Ive heard plywood is cheap but it sounds like a pain in the ***.
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    George's methods seem simple, but they're not as easy as he makes it appear. Building boats from huge pieces of lumber is difficult, heavy, demanding work. Much more so then more conventional methods. If you have access to a forklift, maybe a small crane, really big drill bits and are comfortable with shaping timbers with a chainsaw, then George's stuff could be interesting.

    Plywood's main advantages are availability, easy to work, each sheet covers 32 square feet of area, it hold fasteners well, is strong for it's weight and it's dimensionally stable, unlike solid timbers.

    Each building method has good and bad things to consider. Strip planking is likely the most user friendly for the back yard builder. The strips can be had from less than perfect stock cheaply. They're really easy to apply, though a bit tedious and the boat can be round bilge, without internal frames to clutter things up.

    Two last points, first is you have to pay for the displacement you build. Simply put, an overly heavy design. like that from George, requires you purchase all these building materials for this extra weight. If you can have the same size boat at half the weight, because of modern building methods, you only have to buy half the materials. Second is, the hull shell is only a fraction of the total effort and materials required in a project. This fraction can run from just a few percent on a scrap wood and sheathed strip build, to maybe 15% with a more traditional build or a smaller boat with Joubert BS-1088 on everything. So big savings in the hull shell actually don't amount to much in the big picture of the total project effort and costs.
     
  9. cdubb
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    cdubb Junior Member

    Good points par, I hadn't looked at George's designs in that light before, while I do have access to heavy equipment that's certainly food for thought. And honestly I would have guess strip planking would be one of the hardest methods as well as one of the more costly that is news to me. I do prefer the plank look but it's good to know while tedious its somewhat user friendly. And suggestions on species and thickness of hull material?
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The plans/designer are the best guide, though many species of various thicknesses can be employed. Hanging carvel planking isn't easy, if you expect good gaps for caulking. Each plank requires rolling bevels and good fits. Strip planking doesn't need as high a quality of planking as other forms of planking, especially if sheathings and/or molded veneers are also incorporated. You don't need to bevel the planks, just glue them one on top of the next, until you have a hull. As to specifics, each design will have scantlings for strip dimensions and species.
     
  11. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    My last boat used strip-building, and I can vouch for the ease and cheapness aspects. But never again! Not for me at least! It's fine for those individuals who actually like hours and hours of sanding in choking clouds of (probably toxic) dust . . .

    Speaking of carvel, there's a nice boat slowly taking shape here http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?128218-Building-the-Maid
     

  12. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I have used salvaged lumber for a lot of small boat projects. I found one torn down barn with a "free wood" sign that had uses all clear, VG grain cedar for siding. I picked through the pile and got what I could. unfortunately the bulldozer made kindling out of most of it (likely he was afraid of someone getting hurt so he knocked the building over and than pushed the wood into a pile, what a shame).

    Re-milling of large timbers is the best action, but even the smaller sticks can be reworked if you soak them in water for a week or so. The brittleness comes from it being too dry. I have successfully steam bent very old salvaged wood by soaking it first.

    Around here most of the old lumber is old growth douglas fir and Western Red Cedar (I have seen whole big barns built with WRC!). In the east you would find different species, I suspect white oak, Larch and pine would be the best.

    It can be extra work to get salvaged lumber ready to use, but it is usually "free" for the extra labor. It is also kind of fun to build boats out of "found" materials, just like our ancestors used to do it.
     
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