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djmeaney

Hardwood choice?

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Hve had the plans for the Spindrift 10 nesting dinghy for a couple of weeks and getting ready to move into the action phase. Will be picking okume tomorrow at Boulter's and while I was there thought maybe I would pick up lumber for the gunwales, transom stiffener and skeg. The common choices seem to be ash and white oak. The dinghy will be painted and not have a bright finish. That said what are the best choices -- considering that suitability, durability and cost are the main concerns? In addition to ash, Boulter's also has red oak, birch (natural, red and white), poplar, and some others (http://www.boulterplywood.com/).

Also, is one wood better for the gunwales vs. the transom stiffener vs. the skeg.

Thanks, lots more questions to come.

Dan

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I don't have a lot of experience, however... It seems to me that just as important as the species is the individual pieces of lumber. Wild grain, pitch pockets, or just sawing incorrectly for the piece needed can compromise any lumber. It might be best not to limit yourself to Boulter's. There are plenty of good mills around.

I would pass on the red oak for durability reasons. If you choose ash it had better be well protected. I would have suggested mahogony(sp?) as another option.

I'm sure more seasoned builders will chime in soon.

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We used mahogany for the trim on our CS20. It was beautiful wood and very easy to shape... a pleasure to work with. We ordered ours from a flooring company when we couldn't find any (local) lumberyards that stocked clear mahogany boards. The flooring company special ordered us a few beautiful, straight boards per our specifications, and they didn't charge us shipping since we agreed to wait until they placed their next large volume order for other customers.

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Clear Douglas fir I would be my choice if available. The strength vs weight is hard to beat. Clear is next to impossible to find around my area anymore. I would think that Boulters would stock it.

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Red oak, ash and birch wouldn't be first choices because of rot resistance issues, though fully encapsulated can work fine. Live and white oak (in that order) are very suitable, with live oak tending not to split or check like white does. Mahogany is a good choice, so is Douglas fir. It would be a sin to paint over mahogany, but lesser grades can be used and under paint who'd know. Poplar isn't a great choice (rot resistance on the white version typically available), though again, if well encapsulated, will serve as a lighter weight option.

In short, any of these can work, particularly if fully encapsulated. In places where you might bash into stuff and ding the coatings, a more rot resistant species would be desirable.

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I have mahogany trim (rubrails, too) on my P22, Pilgrim. I took delivery in Oct, '04, so she's almost 8 yrs old. The mahogany has held up perfectly, having been sanded and varnished many times, and currently has a coat of Sikkens Cetol New Teak. I really like this coating and it is holding up very well. Less of a hassle to apply, also.

Ash is strong, but if varnished will turn black underneath if there is a break in the varnish and water gets in. My tiller is laminated with ash and mahogany, which is pretty when properly coated, but will turn dark if not properly maintained.

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The Spindrift 10n I built has never had a name, but one that would be fitting for it would be Peacock, owing to the plumage of all the bits of bright wood found on it. Cypress, ash, black locust, western red cedar, douglas fir and even hem-fir was used on the boom.

Having gone through all that, if you are going to paint the boat, I'd be tempted to use doug fir or southern yellow pine for most of the structural wood. I used western red cedar for the transom stiffener and all the cleat stock because it was light in weight and resistant to rot but doug fir could be used too. You can probably find some good quality yellow pine at the big box stores, sold as stair treads. It will be 5/4's, with clear pieces and you could use that for your knees and breast hook.

The recommendation when I built my boat was to use CCA treated lumber for the gunwales and skeg. Epoxy worked with that, but not the new treated lumber. So you could still stick with yellow pine for both. We can't get 3/4" or 5/4's yellow pine regular dimension around these parts but can find some nice 2 x 8's, etc. at the box stores, which is both relatively clear and cheap. The other trick to remember is to rip the gunwales and cleat stock from flat sawn boards so after it's ripped, will essentially become quarter sawn with the right grain orientation. Yellow pine is pretty solid and rot resistent to beging with, and once coated with epoxy and painted, should be fine.

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I used Spanish Cedar for everything, but for the keel I used White Oak. I've heard it doesn't epoxy well, but I've never experienced it. I didn't put any thing over the keel, so the closed cell properties of the wood are important. The spanish cedar is light and looks fantastic. I also laminated the gunnels with a thin strip of white oak, thick spanish cedar, followed by a strip of white oak. It looks awesome. Pics soon.

Take Care,

Steve

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