Your wood of choice..

Discussion in 'Materials' started by JLIMA, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    And free is not bad either (tabula gratisis)
  2. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    ya we are not going to agree on this one
    its got a moderate strength to weight ratio depending on where in the tree its taken from
    its also has very poor drying characteristics and seldom remains straight once cut. It also more often than not checks when exposed to weather regardless of preservatives. that and it is subject to fracture because it is so brittle
    it finishes poorly because of the differences in hardness between the dark and light grains and it has a nasty habit of splintering, it has poor machining qualities and checks more often than not.
    I have a study on the stuff around here somewhere that basically says its more likely you cut a piece crooked and it dry straight than you cut one straight and it remain so
    all in all
    its prevalent in rough framing of houses because its not much good for anything else

    ceder is the superior planking material by far as a simple strength to weight comparison will yield a thicker hull for the same weight and strength, thus providing greater insulation and better impact resistance. ceder is also by far the more durable wood in terms of rot resistance

    once again just my two cents
    build what you will out of what you have handy
  3. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    I've used 4 types of wood on my project.

    1. Marine Ply (Okoume BS 1088 or 6566). The problem now is that the 1088 is going for $135.00 for a 4'x8' sheet. The 6566 is a little cheaper. Used it for cabin roof (light weight) and exterior bulkheads.

    2. My favorite softwood/hardwood - Phillipine Mahogany. I love this stuff, it's pretty finished bright, takes epoxy very well and looks great covered with a epoxy or fiberglass and painted. I can get it local for about $5.50 a board foot and can also get boards from 1"x3" to 1"x12". I used it for everything from beams to walls to trim. The nice thing about this stuff is that the hardness and density is variable. I can pick through a bin looking for light weight stuff for say, trim or dense heavy stock for a beam.

    3. Araucoply. This cheap (compared to marine plywood) but nice to work with product I used for all interior bulkheads, doors, the inside cabin sole and all interior cabinetry. I carefully entombed it in epoxy and added fiberglass cloth (4oz) where I thought it necessary to go the extra step. Available at some but not all Lowes.

    4. Douglas Fir Marine Ply. My least favorite of all the woods I used. Well made, but more difficult to finish than the Okoume or the Araucoply. Used on all main deck and side deck areas. I won't use it again.

    I'm lucky enough to live a mere 2 miles from the main Curtis Lumber store here in upstate New York. They have an enormous selection of hardwoods/softwoods.

    The link will take you to a site that some might find useful.


  4. JLIMA
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    JLIMA crazed throttleman

    6 years ago or so I made put together an el-cheapo boat as an experiment of sorts just plain B/C Pine plywood over white fir frames and keel all treated with a heavy coating of anti-freeze for preservative sealed with asphalt roofing tar no glassing painted once when i built it. My only boat to live in fresh water no rot or deterioration to date. Interesting to me any way.... defies most of what i thought was going to happen.
  5. Franklins
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Franklins Junior Member

    I agree on the mahogany I used it on my first boat for frames and strapping it is lighter than the ash I have been using. Here in canada they have been trying to weed out using it so it has been harder to find. I do construction for a living and all our door jams now has went to finger joint pine or mdf. I am not sure if this is the same in the us or not.
    Do any of you guys no of a lighter wood than ash that is still flexable and strong. I use ash because of its flexablity and strength but is a bit heavy. They make baseball bats and hooky stick handles from ash. I wood love to find somthing eles to use that is much lighter but still as good as ash.
  6. ThomD
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    ThomD Senior Member

    "Do any of you guys no of a lighter wood than ash that is still flexable and strong"

    Hang out on a wooden bow forum for a few days. |Almost all woods have outstanding bow potential, the real issue is section, get the section right and you can have what you want. Bows are really heavily stressed in flex. Another option is composite. The Gougeons joked that Ford would have used cedar with carbon in car springs if it had been available at the time.
  7. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

  8. jantheron
    Joined: May 2010
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    jantheron Junior Member

    Depends what your intended use is I guess, if you need to steam-bend, how well it takes to screws and epoxy, etc. Hardwoods in general have a weight penalty associated with them but they are gorgeous to look at and nice to with with. Plan to sharpen your tools more frequently though. For decorative details and all-out durability very few woods beat Purple Heart... wipe down the oily surface with acetone before cleaning though, and expect some tear-out while planing. it finishes beautifully with a cabinet scraper if you have the patience.

    Of the softwoods, saligna (eucalyptus) is very light and cheap, also tears out annoyingly at times but sands nicely. In spite of these drawbacks I use it extensively. If you have the budget, nothing beats sitka spruce ;-)

    Jan Theron
  9. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Except the flexibility aspen wins..
  10. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    says "poplar" and then ducks for cover
  11. Franklins
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Franklins Junior Member

    Yep I see your point! I am using my material for for ruf framing and covering my hulls with marine plywood and puting epoxy and a 6 mill mat on for a finish with paint and clear.
    I am using my hulls for high horse power and running on 3 to 4 foot waves. I guess I should of asked would mahogany and softer woods take this ? I was wondering if any one has built a boat like this with any thing but heavy hard woods.
  12. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    boats have been made from anything and everything, including bamboo. I think any locally available reasonably clear and light wood is fine for small boats.

    I like working with western red cedar, light, rot resistant and readily available around here. though it's cross grain compression strength is not too good, so it would not be good for rub strips or external keels if you run the boat up on rocky beaches.

    Doug fir has a good strength to weight ratio and it is dimensionally stable compared to many light woods, it also has fairly good rot resistance. It is also inexpensive around here, I can find it for free by salvaging it from old buildings and barns that are being demolished, and remilling it.

    One of my favorites is Alaskan Yellow Ceder, dense, strong, rot resistant and steam bends nicely. But I usually have to buy it.

    All of these woods, if I can not salvage it I can buy at the local lumber yard, and find good lumber by sorting through the stack of normal mill lumber, much cheaper than "boat" wood. The inexpensive wood for your area will be quite different, but this is what I have available.

    I have also used white oak that I salvage from old flooring, only because it steam bends nicely and I can get it for free. It is heavy and pretty hard, good for rub strips too.

    I do not really understand why so many want to use sitka spruce for boat building. It has good strength to weight ratio and is nice to work with, but it good quality lumber is very costly (rare) and it has very little rot resistance. You spend all that money and do all the labor and it will rot away unless you spend a lot of time maintaining it.
  13. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    Forgive me if I mention that Doug fir has poor diminutional stability low rot resistance average strength/weight ratio has poor finishing properties and tends to split if not pre drilled it also tends to warp bend twist and cup over time Its low cost and popularity are predominantly based on it's extreme abundance leading to lack of value and its common use in the construction industry and not representative of any superior qualities it may or may not posses. Just my take. Believe what you will and build out of what you have. Best b
  14. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Southern Baldcypress. Taxodium distichum

    Ti. Geitner. Taxallofus tillweresickofus

  15. rugludallur
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    rugludallur Rugludallur

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