Which wood would you use?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Sweet Dreamer, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. Sweet Dreamer
    Joined: Jul 2014
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: USA

    Sweet Dreamer Junior Member

    I'm thinking about building a wooden boat hull. Basically a large Jon-boat or barge 8 feet wide by 20 feet long.

    I have the following woods to choose from:

    1. Oak
    2. Cherry
    3. Maple
    4. Clear White Pine (no knots)


    Are any of these any good for boat building?

    Which wood from the above list would you choose? And why?

    Also would you use different woods for say, framing or ribs, versus planking or covering the bottom of the hull?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 15,881
    Likes: 1,256, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Oak or maple for framing and structural parts. White Pine for planking. Cherry, maple or oak for trim and rubrails.
     
  3. Sweet Dreamer
    Joined: Jul 2014
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: USA

    Sweet Dreamer Junior Member

    Thank you. That would have basically been my guesses actually. And I'm really glad to hear that white pine can be used for planking since it's the easiest to cut and it's also the lightest.

    We'll be cutting this lumber from trees and White Pine logs are the easiest to deal with all the way around. It's easier on the sawmill, and easier in the wood shop.

    So this is great! I'm happy. ;)

    And yes, we can cut up some oak, maple and cherry for framing and accessories too.

    This is cool.
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 15,881
    Likes: 1,256, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    White pine is the traditional planking for many workboats. For example, lobster boats.
     
  5. CloudDiver
    Joined: Jun 2014
    Posts: 148
    Likes: 7, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 40
    Location: San Diego

    CloudDiver Senior Member

    White Pine is not a traditional wood for boat building mostly because it is too soft, not as strong as other woods, and far less rot resistant. I've read the opinion of another designer/builder who has a particular distaste for such old-school mind-sets and uses a little inginuity and modern technology to overcome them.
    - For the issues of lower strength and being soft, don't use it where high impacts could cause structural issues. You are planning to use it for decking, no worries.
    - On the plus side, Pine glues well so use this to your advantage to prevent rot. When laying your decking coat your lumber on all sides with 10% thinned epoxy resin, 2 coats to rejection. If you can, use a joint between planks (half-lap, ship lap, bead and cove). Don't rely on paint alone for water proofing. Thinned expoxy will penetrate well and then paint over that with epoxt based primer and epoxy non-skid. Even when the paint layers wear after a few years and need recoating the wood should still be water tight.

    For future refrence, just about every good book on wood boat building I've checked out from my local library contains a good chapter on wood species (domestic & imported) used in boat building; comparing relative strength, density, rot resistance, and typical areas used on the vessel. I'm sure you could find a similar comparison on line, always a good reference. I think these days its actually a bit of a challenge to build a boat of 100% domestic wood (USA) since so much lumber is now imported, and it is difficult to ignore the qualities of some imported species.
     
  6. Sweet Dreamer
    Joined: Jul 2014
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: USA

    Sweet Dreamer Junior Member

    Thanks for the information CloudDiver.

    That's what I was afraid of. But I'm wondering just how bad it is? Or perhaps I should ask, "How good can it be if it's a really good grade of white pine?"

    The reason I'm asking is because we have some pretty nice white pine trees here and we typically end up with really nice clear white pine boards when we cut them into lumber.

    That was actually going to be my next question. I'm already set up to do tongue and groove. I was wondering if I could just go with that. If not, I can buy cutters for half-lap, or bead and cove. Just as further information, most of the curves on this hull will be quite gentle.

    The boats I'm building will be 100% domestic wood. All our lumber is coming from trees on my own property. This is why I offered the list of woods that I listed. Those are the trees I have available.

    I could possibly use maple in place of the pine. It's a lot stronger to be sure, but it will also make for a much heavier boat. It also takes longer to cut on the mill and goes through blades quicker, etc.

    Using white pine would make things go much easier, quicker, and end up with a lighter boat. But obviously not as strong of a boat. So there are trade-offs to be made.
     
  7. CloudDiver
    Joined: Jun 2014
    Posts: 148
    Likes: 7, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 40
    Location: San Diego

    CloudDiver Senior Member

    Having your own land with all the trees you need for lumber, I envy you! That is great that you have the raw materials available as well as the equipment and skill to mill it! Here in SoCal I am at the mercy of what I can get at lumber yards and "mill" with average shop tools, so I really can't start with rough cut lumber thicker than 4" in any dimension.
    I think you'll do fine with pine for you decking, softness not withstanding. If this is a fishing boat I doubt you would have a situation where you could drop something on it heavy enough to put a dent in it. If it is a work boat do you imagine that you'd have any equipment or anything that could dent the wood if dropped? I think as long as you take care to seal the pine well with epoxy it will be a great deck. Take into consideration the overall thickness of the pine deck as well.
    For the joint you'd probably be fine with a tongue and groove. I've always used bead and cove cedar on canoes and kayaks, but the curves are much more extreme than the any rake on a deck. I've never seen a John Boat, even large ones with a rake on the deck anyway... they are typically flat but pitched for water draining.
     
  8. LP
    Joined: Jul 2005
    Posts: 1,414
    Likes: 58, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 584
    Location: 26 36.9 N, 82 07.3 W

    LP Flying Boatman

    Thinned epoxy. :eek:
     
  9. Sweet Dreamer
    Joined: Jul 2014
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: USA

    Sweet Dreamer Junior Member

    I'm actually not too concerned about the deck. What I'm more concerned with is the hull bottoms. These are going to be wooden hulls. So this pine will be the wood that is used for the hull bottom. We may use it for decking too, but I'm not too concerned about it being used for decking. I'm more concerned with how well it will work as the actual hulls.

    Has white pine been used to build hulls? At least as the main sheeting or covering. And if so, how has it held up?
     
  10. LP
    Joined: Jul 2005
    Posts: 1,414
    Likes: 58, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 584
    Location: 26 36.9 N, 82 07.3 W

    LP Flying Boatman

    Finish.

    If you get continuous water ingress into into white pine you will get rot. What is you're plan for finish? Paint? Epoxy? Glass cloth set in epoxy. The safest bet with pine will be full epoxy encapsulation (without thinning, heating is better for penetration) with glass cloth for abrasion resistance.

    Any chance of having cedars on your property. They are a more rot resistant wood and would serve well with more traditional types of finishes.
     
  11. Sweet Dreamer
    Joined: Jul 2014
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: USA

    Sweet Dreamer Junior Member

    I haven't planned on what type of finish to use yet. I'm thinking also of treating the wood with a waterproofing stain during construction. In other words, staining each board before it's even installed. I'm wondering how that might affect any later paints or epoxy I might use.

    Glass cloth set in epoxy is something I've thought about but I haven't really looked into the cost of glass cloth yet.

    I do have a source of used telephone poles @ $10 per pole. I believe these are creosoted cedar. These can be cut into lumber on the mill. In fact, my cousin is currently doing precisely this for a deck on his house.

    I haven't really thought about this in terms of cost, etc. I would prefer to use the white pine if possible. But then again, I don't want to start in on a project that will rot out in just a few years. This is why I'm asking whether pine has been used successfully for boat building historically. Are there pine boats that have lasted for several decades if well cared for?

    I'd hate to build a boat and have it rot out in five years.

    I wonder also if the maple would be a better choice? The problem with the maple is that it will be a heavier boat. The lightness of pine is nice, but it's also the reason it rots easier.
     
  12. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    you want to use only white oak for boat building. Red oak, though structurally similar, has no rot resistance. White oak has been used for many centuries for boat building, never red oak.
     
  13. Sweet Dreamer
    Joined: Jul 2014
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: USA

    Sweet Dreamer Junior Member

    Thanks for the information. I have both, so I'll be sure to only use the white oak for boat building.

    I could build the hull entirely out of white oak. But that would make for a quite heavy boat. It would be extremely strong for sure. Actually I could go with thinner boards if I made it from white oak to help reduce the weight.

    White oak eats up sawmill blades really quick. But blades are cheap. White oak might be the best option actually. I could still do the top decks in pine. If they rot they can be easily replaced.

    So maybe I should make the hulls using white oak?

    I've got plenty of white oak trees. ;)
     
  14. Sweet Dreamer
    Joined: Jul 2014
    Posts: 81
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 16
    Location: USA

    Sweet Dreamer Junior Member

    If I make these boats out of white oak they'll last forever. That's probably the way to go then. Pine is just easier to work with, but yeah, it won't last very long.
     

  15. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,900
    Likes: 199, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    A creosoted deck, good luck with that.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads
  1. Rod Tait
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    110
  2. WidowsSon
    Replies:
    14
    Views:
    384
  3. socalspearit
    Replies:
    15
    Views:
    659
  4. NorthLakeFisher
    Replies:
    9
    Views:
    638
  5. AwJees
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    542
  6. Josh Goodswen
    Replies:
    31
    Views:
    1,601
  7. sdowney717
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    911
  8. sdowney717
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    621
  9. Chris06
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    678
  10. Rod Tait
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    739
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.