VG vs Flatsawn

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by karlbischoff, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. karlbischoff
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    karlbischoff Bischoff Boatworks

    Hi all. I've been negotiating with a mill to get Port Orford Cedar for my planking (30' SUSAN schooner). They say they sell a lot of boat lumber and everyone specs flat sawn (it is a lot less expensive). I've always used VG flitch for planking, but it costs 60% more. My plans call for 5/4 and the planks are 4.5" wide.

    I'm sure there are some strong opinions out there, and I'd love to hear 'em.
  2. Lurvio
    Joined: Jul 2009
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    Lurvio Mad scientist

    Not much of an opinion, but googling for VG brought out this link:

    Woodenboat Forum

    I've grown around a sawmill, but here in Skandinavia the timber is usually too small for anything but flat sawing. Biggest log we've handled was about 70 cm (2' 4'') diameter, had to be split with a chainsaw first.

  3. Easy Rider
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    Flat sawn tends to warp across it's width ...or put another way ..cup. That would stress the fasteners and work the seams. Would perhaps produce less expansion and contraction and that would be good. I've never heard of slash sawn planking. The only way that may work (in my opinion) is w half width planks or less. I live on Prince of Wales Island (near Ketchikan Alaska) and we have a number of small mills. Yellow cedar is available here and even after shipping may be a better choice than PO.
  4. islandteak
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    islandteak islandteak

    For planking I would use flat sawn and not V.G.. You want the plank to fit the frames;this means taking a bend. V.G. doesn't want to bend this way ( but will, against it's nature) Flat sawn (opposite to VG)...doesn't mind bending this way. Cupping could be a slight problem depending on width, species, initial m/c, etc......but, generally, to take a bend...go with flat sawn.

  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The advice of flat sawn planking in a carvel build, is not wise and indicative of folks that have never lived with flat sawn planking. Flat sawn stock will move a lot more then vertical or quater sawn stock, so it short, it'll leak like crazy. This is why all of the homered builders, old and new use quarter or vertical grain stock on planking. Yep, it costs more, though resawing is an option, if you can get flat sawn stock big enough to warrant it. Look around for old building that are going to be knocked down, you can find huge timbers of flat sawn stock that can be resawn to quartered.
  6. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    karl, how wide are your planks..remember, flat sawn wood is quarted sawn when sliced up of course if the planking is not very wide, say 3 to 4 inches, then a flat sawn plank can be cut to quarter sawn strips very easily at home.

    You do not want to build in flat sawn planking, as it WILL cup and shrink, hey it is only a piece of wood doing what wood does...

  7. islandteak
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    islandteak islandteak

    Yes...yes, flat sawn vs edge grain.
    I have built a dozen lapstake boats with VG. Never with flat grain, however,every time I brought a plank out from the steamer and started to bend it, I thought 'this is wrong". Against the nature of the wood. VG, on the side....likes to bend.

    When I am referring to planking I am thinking lapstrake, not carvel, and in lapstrake we rivet our strakes (planks) closer together, which limits cupping.
    Again...species of wood is important. Some cup more readily than others.

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