Stinger lumber what species?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by multiHen, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. multiHen
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Location: new jersey

    multiHen Junior Member

    Hello all, my boat design plans call for "Clear Fir" for the stringers.

    I was told by the designer its Spruce he is refering, this is a eueopean designed boat by the way.

    What options and grades of wood do I have in the northeastern US (New Jersey) for this type of wood?

    If you know of a supplier please say. :D

    I was thinking Douglas fir..

    Thanks in advance.
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The "clear" specifications are usually overdone. Small knots and blemishes are not a problem unless you are building an ultralight boat like a racing shell. Fir and Spruce have very different characteristics. I would distrust a designer that can't define the wood species clearly.
  3. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    reasonably clear Douglas fir will work fine, it is a very strong wood with good rot resistance. It is more stiff than most lumber, but has good fastener holding capabilities.

    Spruce is a very different kind of wood, much lighter, with open grain, with out much rot resistance. You can buy high quality spruce for boat building from specialty stores, but expect to pay a very high price. Western red cedar would have similar properties, but not as strong, though it does have much higher rot resistance.

    If you want to get fancy, Alaskan yellow cedar, a very high strength and dense soft wood with a lot of rot resistance.

    Douglas fir would be the least costly material to use and would be stronger than spruce, and easy to get. You can even go to a big box store (lowes, Home Depot, etc) and select from the pile a fairly clear and tight grained doug fir (species listed in a triangle logo stamp reads "D. Fir-L", stand for doug-fir or Larch, which is also a good boat building wood if you can find it). And than rip the stringers from a large plank, select the most straight grained and clear ones for the high loaded stringers.

    You should also be able to get western red cedar, follow the same procedure. You might also have southern pine, and other pines as well, available. I am not familiar with those, but likely any clear fine grained pine would work as well.

    Boats have been made from anything and everything, even bamboo, so unless you are building a show piece, I would not worry about the species so much for secondary load carrying members.

    I build with salvaged lumber all the time, sometimes I am not even sure what the lumber is depending on where I use it, it will not make any difference. Just select fairly clear, strait grained lumber with a tight grain pattern and you should do fine. Watch out for grain run-out, sap pockets or loose knots, you should be fine.
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  4. multiHen
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Location: new jersey

    multiHen Junior Member


    Thank so much great info...

    I came across another question... "Green wood" is it ok for boat building?
  5. multiHen
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Location: new jersey

    multiHen Junior Member

    I'm on the side that I am too much of a novice and a lot of these things as a builder I should know already. Its quite a advanced boat Im attemping for a first timer. Example: The gentleman who answered above I dont think he would need to ask any of the questions I have to my designer. He just knows already whats what just by looking at the plans. I feel my designer is not expecting someone like me to attempt this boat for as a first time project. :confused:
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Good quality Douglas fir can be found at the local Lowe's/Depot, in the form of 5/4th's decking stock. Often it's tongue and groove, but sometimes not. It's not terribly costly and long clear, straight grain pieces can be had.

    Who is the designer confusing spruce and fir?
  7. multiHen
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Location: new jersey

    multiHen Junior Member

    Im building the ECO75 by Bernd Kohler

  8. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Yes, its true. Designers expect a fair degree of experience, especially with this fairly advanced boat design. Its not something most people would expect a novice to attempt.

    Your question of green timber is a give away. It usually is not used, except in the old days for quite large timber sailing ships, with special types of heavy timber.

    Not what you would want for your boat at all.

    Dont worry though. You will enjoy the learning experience, and might even end up with a boat at the end of it. :p
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