What is The Best Wood for Boat building?
I have been frustrated a lot while deciding which wood I should use. It is hard to find clear lumber worthy of a sheer clamp, rub rail, carlin, or mast. If you’ve never bought boatbuilding-quality lumber like me, you may find my research helpful.
What Makes Good Boatbuilding Lumber?
Since the wood we use needs to bend properly, we’re looking for lumber which is largely “clear,” or free of knots. Mind you, knots smaller than a pencil eraser, seldom do any real harm. Another important issue to look for is the grain, which should be as straight as possible. Run-out, areas where the grain runs off the board or twisty grain affect the strength and bending properties of the wood. If you have worked with wood before, you’ll know that wood that is too hard to drive a nail in, or too soft to accept a screw without splitting, is to be avoided. Last, avoid warped boards. Warping is caused by changes in the humidity of the wood. Minor warping is usually canceled out when bent into a boat, but severe warpage will make it frustrating to fit a part.
What Types Of Wood Are Best? A huge variety of species are acceptable for solid wood parts in stitch-and-glue boats. Let one thing be your guide: the wood must take glue well. Oily woods such as teak or white oak tend to repel epoxy. Softer woods like spruce:
pine, fir, juniper and redwood glue well and are likely to be available in knot-free lengths.
Speaking of Length It’s always preferable to obtain the proper lengths you need. This, however, is not always possible or economically possible. Luckily, Scarfs are very strong and won’t affect the bending properties of the wood. It is better to buy shorter but better quality wood than wood in the length you need and to compromise on the quality of the wood.
Where Should I Shop For Lumber? Usually you’ll find the best places, quality & price wise in your local small industry area or home improvement centers.