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John N
09-12-2009, 09:57 AM
Hi, I read a good thread that probably answers this but I can't find it now so.. The question is; what are you supposed to end up with, a thin layer of fairing compound over the entire surface or patches of wood with the compound filling just the low spots?
More detail; it's a lapstrake hull eighteen feet long (Oughtred's Wee Seal). Of course I should of done it when the hull was upside down but I didn't, so now the boat is right side up and complete except for the fairing and paint.
I've already done one side and ended up with the patch look. I'm now sanding down the other side where I applied a thicker coat and ending up with the wood completely covered.
Thanks in advance for all advice,
John,

John N
09-12-2009, 10:31 AM
I don't think you understand the boat, it has seven hundred pounds of lead on the bottom and cabin on the top.

jackster
09-12-2009, 10:34 AM
John N.
Short and simple opinion (mine)... thin layer of fairing compound.
It has to do with what you are priming and painting with and its compatibility with the fairing compound verses bare wood. So what are you planning to paint with? The manufactures recommendations should give some guidance, me thinks.

TimmS
09-12-2009, 10:38 AM
There is really no advantage to having the surface covered in fairing compound. I do not really know the Wee Seal myself, but being an Oughtred I would assume it is glued lap ply? There really should not be much fairing to be done.....just some screw holes to be filled, and maybe a little fairing at the scarf joints. Filler will not move quite the same as wood, is heavy, and does not add strength. I would say minimize your use of it. Photos?

John N
09-12-2009, 11:51 AM
Thank you for your replies. It is glued ply lap construction and I agree there really isn't much fairing to be done. I guess I was thinking in terms of using the fairing layer as a sealer/primer for the paint. I am using Epifanes yacht enamel with epoxy as the primer. Should I just go over the whole thing and apply a coat of resin anywhere I've sanded through to bare wood rather than applying more fairing compound?
Sorry no photo's, the camera I sometimes borrow is away sailing.
(I have pictures from before I started fairing.)
John

John N
09-12-2009, 01:37 PM
Gary E, I have no sympathy or patience for idiots who just want to be A-holes. Whether the boat is right side or upside down is completely beside the point of my question. A question which you have not attempted to answer, which begs the question, why did you respond at all?

pipefitter
09-12-2009, 02:04 PM
I use the high and low spots as a guide. There is really only one meaning to fair. Anything other than that at best is an illusion. Some can cheat these in but it typically is just as much work to blend these illusions as it is to make it absolutely fair. I fair enough to where the high spots are semi-transparent. Why? Because then the surface is predictably homogeneous. It will take primers and sealers consistently and all will cure and weather more uniformly as well. The one thing that really used to irk me was when someone had cheated the fairing coat and then had to spot pile on primer for correction. 3 months later, alligator crazing and shrinkage getting blamed on the last guy to touch the hull, automobile or whatever.

If there is to be any amount of thickness of filler, it best be the most stable material, which is typically the catalyzed fairing mix. The only time I would skim coat an entire hull is in the event that there is a need to create a fairing point with a highly irregular or torture constructed hull. I would rather just fill the low spots and then prime the hull with the base of the compound. In modern terms, that is generally epoxy. While many would like to think that I am one of those who advocates the use epoxy in the hopes of waterproofing the hull, it is just to create a homogeneous surface throughout and I only apply that final seal coat after the rest of the hull is fair. From that point on, I can use a consistent coat of primer or paint and have it all dry, cure and shrink uniformly without any surprises down the road and typically throughout the life of the hull if maintained adequately.

Candyfloss
09-12-2009, 02:09 PM
Gary E, I have no sympathy or patience for idiots who just want to be A-holes. Whether the boat is right side or upside down is completely beside the point of my question. A question which you have not attempted to answer, which begs the question, why did you respond at all?

Because he's GaryE

MiddleAgesMan
09-12-2009, 02:18 PM
I don't like the idea of using fairing material as primer but I don't think that means you have to sand it all off. Do the sanding as best you can, seal the entire surface with epoxy resin if you prefer, or a compatible Epiphanes primer, sand lightly and then do the topcoats.

BTW--if being a perennial jerk was a felony GaryE would be serving a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Thorne
09-12-2009, 03:05 PM
Just fill the low spots with fairing compound. My only experience has been with Smith & Co epoxy fairing mix, which I then covered with high-build primer and paint. Another good primer/sealer is CPES.

MiddleAgesMan
09-12-2009, 03:15 PM
Speaking of CPES reminds me--using regular epoxy resin can be fraught with problems. It runs and curtains like crazy so it's likely to take your nice fair surface and add more fairing steps. I would opt for plain primer but if CPES is compatible with your filler material that would be a good choice too.

JimConlin
09-12-2009, 04:04 PM
A glued lapstrake boat should not require more than filling small divots at fasteners, scarphs and stems and easing the edges of the planks in a consistent way.

Candyfloss
09-12-2009, 04:07 PM
What Jim said.

John N
09-12-2009, 04:37 PM
Thank you all. I have spent the day sanding and sanding and sanding..., which might be why I got a little testy.
Anyway I'm done and happy enough with the overall fairness. I really hate the idea of coating the whole thing in resin, I did this in the beginning and simply can't stop it from running just like Middleagesman says. So I guess I should go the CPES route or with the Epifanes primer. Just to be clear, for what reason do you not recomend painting directly over the fairing compound? (West system Microlite)

jackster
09-12-2009, 05:01 PM
John,
The paint manufacturer recommends the primer, over anything including epoxy fairing compound, for some chemical reasons beyond my understanding (or interest, really) but as I understand it, to enhance the bonds between fairing compound and finish paint.
As for being testy, I was impressed at your restraint and articulation after an unprovoked and nasty attack. Well done.
Nice project and if you track down the camera, I would love to see pictures.

Captain Intrepid
09-12-2009, 05:28 PM
I'd be in favour of the bare wood and fairing compound in low spots. No point including useless weight eh?


Take off the lead and turn it over... or
Then live with your F*ckup

I have no sympathy for people that skip right to step 8 after ignoring 5,6, and 7

He's already stated that he's living with his mistake. Now stop being a jerk and answer the question he asked if you want to contribute.

Bob Adams
09-12-2009, 07:06 PM
I've had the best luck with fine fairing using high build epoxy primer. I put down two coats, one white and one grey. When I start seeing white, I get less aggresive. The resulting base seems to make for a better finish.

Bob Cleek
09-12-2009, 10:29 PM
This is a good example of the old maxim that there's no such thing as a free lunch. They market the hell out of "easy epoxied plywood construction," but they never tell you about having to turn two hundred pounds of hardened epoxy into dust in order to "fair" it. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the guy who built his hull out of honest wood straight out of the tree is out sailing, breathing in the fresh sea air without lungs full of epoxy dust. Oh well... I guess I'm just having an attack of Luddite-itis.

pipefitter
09-12-2009, 11:03 PM
If a hull is unfair, you are going to sand it regardless. That is, if you want it "fair". Somehow, somewhere, some way you are going to sand. Sanding of high build primer is no walk in the park anymore than epoxy resin is. In the more tropical areas, excessive thicknesses of high build primers make a good home for mold in and under the top coat. Go to refinish your paint job only to find that the primer has turned into this mushy, mealy mess.

If you do use epoxy as a sealer, you just tip it until it starts to kick. No curtains or sags. Then all that is needed is a scuff, that is, if the initial fairing is indeed fair.

Some people are happy with a 10 ft finish. If I am going to spend any amount of time calling anything fair, I'll spend the extra hours to bring it to a point blank finish. What's a day or two in so many months?

This is a fair, point blank finish. I loved watching people smashing their face up against it to try and nit pick. Although wiping the cheek and lip prints from it got a bit tiresome. No sags or curtains and I still have most of the rolls of the stickit gold I bought. Enough to do another three hulls perhaps. This is, in my opinion, a bit better than the work boat finish I was after.

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l309/tigmaster/P5100075.jpg

I faired this hull right side up, at night. It was a rather relaxing way to unwind.

Candyfloss
09-13-2009, 01:43 AM
Beautiful job PF but it ain't lapstrake.

brad9798
09-13-2009, 07:43 AM
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the guy who built his hull out of honest wood straight out of the tree is out sailing

Actually ... that guy has given up ... project collecting dust because he is not sure/comfortable with bending and fastening!

Moden methods get a LOT more folks into boat building!

I love tree wood, but I'll work with ply any day! It's what I am used to!

:D

botebum
09-13-2009, 08:27 AM
I fail to understand why some people feel the need to trash the idea of building with ply. Chris Craft and others did it for years and many of the boats are now considered classics. Old growth lumber is difficult, if not impossible to find in the widths required to plank some hulls and ply is an obvious choice to achieve the same look. Ply is dimensionally stronger as well and if properly used and maintained, will outlast the builder.

Doug

brad9798
09-13-2009, 09:11 AM
Well put, Doug!

Lewisboats
09-13-2009, 09:15 AM
Well put, Doug!

No Sh!t...'bout the only thing available around here for a reasonable price is Baltic birch underlayment and epoxy...so that is what I build with...like it or not. Better to build with that than not build at all!

Thorne
09-13-2009, 09:59 AM
Well in some cases I think it is more of "voices crying in the wilderness" == solid wood is not being used very much, so presenting it as an option when appropriate is a **good thing** in my opinion.

Those of us who have purchased ply boats only to find the whole thing rotten gain a new perspective == the material can rot much quicker than solid wood, as the water and mold races along the glue lines and plies.

In other words, with probably 95% of new boats being built from ply, **reasonable discussions** about building with solid wood seem quite appropriate to me. Not trashing ply, but presenting an alternate option that may result in the boat lasting even longer...and helping to avoid the awful rap / rep that wood boats have in some quarters.





I fail to understand why some people feel the need to trash the idea of building with ply. Chris Craft and others did it for years and many of the boats are now considered classics. Old growth lumber is difficult, if not impossible to find in the widths required to plank some hulls and ply is an obvious choice to achieve the same look. Ply is dimensionally stronger as well and if properly used and maintained, will outlast the builder.

Doug

Lew Barrett
09-13-2009, 10:31 AM
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l309/tigmaster/P5100075.jpg

Beautiful work from one of our best craftsmen!

Lew Barrett
09-13-2009, 10:47 AM
I've only done one lapstrake project and it was a resto, not a new build, but I think it was easier to get to a "fair place" that satisfied my needs than it would have been had it been a hull like Paul's because you could fair each lap individually.

Fairing a solid wood (lapstrake) boat does seem like it would be a bit easier as you don't have top worry about blowing through any of the plywood, and can get to a good place without as much epoxy. But if I were building from scratch, I could see the appeal of the plywood.

Note: I didn't bother filling all the screw holes that would be re-used to accept the rubbing strakes on the bottom. Notwithstanding, fairing consumed the most time of any chore in the project.



http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff76/LewBarrett/sternfinacoat.jpg

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff76/LewBarrett/finalcoatcloseup.jpg

Bob Cleek
09-13-2009, 11:00 AM
I fail to understand why some people feel the need to trash the idea of building with ply. Chris Craft and others did it for years and many of the boats are now considered classics. Old growth lumber is difficult, if not impossible to find in the widths required to plank some hulls and ply is an obvious choice to achieve the same look. Ply is dimensionally stronger as well and if properly used and maintained, will outlast the builder.

Doug

Nobody's "trashing" plywood. It is what it is, but there can be no dispute that it is inferior to natural wood as a boatbuilding material. An epoxy "encapsulated" plywood hull is really nothing more than a fibreglass hull with the plug still left in it. It has its place, but it also has its limitations, which are considerable, particularly with respect to high price, difficulties of construction, and longevity. Big "wood products" corporations make a huge profit peeling crap wood and gluing it together to sell to the public. Obviously, they want you to buy their material and designers, many of them good designers, have produced plans for plywood construction because that is what a market stuck on instant gratification and "easy DIY" demands. Nobody can blame them for working to eat. Let's not get all defensive about plywood. We've all built with it and owned plywood boats, but at the same time, let's not polish a turd.

Chris Craft Industries filled a market niche for CHEAPLY CONSTRUCTED boats in the Great Depression. They did not intend their products to last much more than a few years and they were priced accordingly. Keeping a Chris alive far beyond its designed lifespan is a daunting labor of love. Ask the guys that own them. SOME of their boats were better constructed than others, with their ply hulls at the bottom of the line. As a whole the Chris Craft line is historically significant in terms of Amercian boating, much as the Model T's and Model A's are significant in automotive history. To call a Chris Craft a "classic boat" is about the same as calling a Model T or Model A a "classic car." Some do, but there's a world of difference between a "classic" 1923 Model T and a "classic" 1923 Bugatti.

America is FULL of good boatbuilding wood. Short of the deserts, it grows pretty much everywhere. You won't find quality wood at Lowe's or Home Depot or even any local construction grade lumber yard. You never could and you never will. In 1880 or so, the US Census Bureau published it's "Report on the Shipbuilding Industry in America." Back then, they were lamenting that there was no good boatbuilding wood around anymore and in exactly the same terms as many make the same claim today. Back then, they were building ships out of timber. (The advent of iron ships was as much a result of a shortage of ship timbers as anything else.) Those trees still grow. Many of the prime boat building woods cataloged in that 1880 report are now considered trash wood good for nothing but bucking into firewood or chipping and dumping in the landfill. (California laurel, locust, elm and Osage orange, for examples.) In fact, there are more trees growing good boat wood now than there were then in many coastal areas. "Old growth" is of no matter. Yesterday's "second growth" is today's "old growth." Good wood grows the same as it always did. Back when, they thought they were "out of wood" because they'd clear cut all the stock within ox-hauling distance of the the shoreline. Today, timber is shipped all over the world.

You won't find boat wood "on the shelf" in anything other than expensive specialty lumber yards. It is, however, readily available if you seek out the small sawmills who still make a reasonable profit on small scale jobs. Support your local sawyers! Only when traditional boat builders cease to demand the wood they need and fail pay a reasonable price for it, will "good boatbuilding wood" become truly unavailable.

John N
09-13-2009, 11:03 AM
Well, I've pretty much decided to use the Epifanes primer instead of painting directly over the fairing compound or trying to seal with Epoxy. Noah's, where I buy most of my stuff reccomend using Epoxy but I just find it a nightmare to control the runs, and the laps give it all these little corners and angles to hide under.
Thanks for all the advice everybody.

Re; real wood verses ply. Way back when I was considering different projects, I really wanted to build a traditional boat using real wood. There are only a couple of decent wood places around here and their response was the same. Outright laughter, sure you could do it but it would coat you a fortune they said. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada by the way. All traditional boat building wood has to be imported either from the U.S. (customs, duty exchange handling all kill you) or from the west cost which is a long way away so they feel justified charging a lot.
Locally what do we have? Willow, Elm, Maple Walnut,not too useful for a boat. They do grow red Pine for Hydro lines. At the time they weren't even bringing in Douglas Fir. Now they seem to carry a pretty good selection. It's about $6 brd.ft. I don't know if that is a good or a bad price. It's the only option for planking that I can think of. I was pretty dissapointed at the time.
Good quality marine ply I can get in Toronto and I don't think the price is that high really. Home Depot has Fir (Probably not even real Fir) that is full of voids and knots for $40. For $25 more, you can get a beautiful piece of Mahogany ply with no voids and twice as many laminations.
Just my (severly) limited experience,
John

pipefitter
09-13-2009, 01:05 PM
Beautiful job PF but it ain't lapstrake.

It sure is lapstrake. Not in a traditional sense with rivets but is indeed partially lapstrake on it's top sides.The boat was initially constructed as the originals, the joints all well fit that could have just as easily been sealed with bedding and rivets or clench nails. The only difference being this hull would see nearly 40mph in a shallow bay known for short chop. I've owned traditionally built and fastened wood hulls. I want to repaint, not refasten. I don't want to escape anvil clouds at displacement speeds here in the lightning capitol of the world. This hull has seen air time and eats 3 ft'rs for lunch without nary a drop of water in the boat and without scaring the passenger.

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l309/tigmaster/IMG_0032.jpg

I never built or finished the boat for what others thought or any quest for mimicking tradition. In hindsight, I am glad now that I spent the extra time. I never had any doubt going into this project that I could build a traditional lapstrake hull. Instead, I matched the hatch with utmost performance in mind. It shines, in my eye, fit and finish, above many of the $40k boats it is surrounded by and I have a grand total of about $4k in it.

Outside of this WBF and the few purists that remain, nobody really cares. The most common tie being with a majority of all people who do things or anything by hand. In that respect, there is not much room for discredit regardless of the chosen method.

pipefitter
09-13-2009, 01:20 PM
Well, I've pretty much decided to use the Epifanes primer instead of painting directly over the fairing compound or trying to seal with Epoxy. Noah's, where I buy most of my stuff reccomend using Epoxy but I just find it a nightmare to control the runs, and the laps give it all these little corners and angles to hide under.
Thanks for all the advice everybody.

Re; real wood verses ply. Way back when I was considering different projects, I really wanted to build a traditional boat using real wood. There are only a couple of decent wood places around here and their response was the same. Outright laughter, sure you could do it but it would coat you a fortune they said. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada by the way. All traditional boat building wood has to be imported either from the U.S. (customs, duty exchange handling all kill you) or from the west cost which is a long way away so they feel justified charging a lot.
Locally what do we have? Willow, Elm, Maple Walnut,not too useful for a boat. They do grow red Pine for Hydro lines. At the time they weren't even bringing in Douglas Fir. Now they seem to carry a pretty good selection. It's about $6 brd.ft. I don't know if that is a good or a bad price. It's the only option for planking that I can think of. I was pretty dissapointed at the time.
Good quality marine ply I can get in Toronto and I don't think the price is that high really. Home Depot has Fir (Probably not even real Fir) that is full of voids and knots for $40. For $25 more, you can get a beautiful piece of Mahogany ply with no voids and twice as many laminations.
Just my (severly) limited experience,
John

I went through the same things as you did with even what real wood is in this boat and there is a good bit of it.

As far as epoxy? I don't advocate the use of it for everyone. I just don't like mixing it up, meaning, trying to adapt or hide or work around something I already had on hand. Also, I don't entirely trust the material manufacturers ratings and selling points and my eyes can't read the fine print too well so I tend to lean towards redundancy after having been stung before. I did have prior experience working with resins, an apprenticeship with high end auto body and other paint trade apprenticeships served as well. I do have a bit of understanding with the chemical side of those trades by default.

I am sure what you choose will work out fine as long as you don't shortcut yourself for bargain's sake. I would not discredit anyone's choices and it's all part of our individual learning process. You do what is comfortable for you, as long as you manage to enjoy it.

Epifanes makes great products.

pipefitter
09-13-2009, 01:26 PM
Lew, That boat turned out really nice. I can't imagine it ever giving you much issue as far as longevity or maintenance problems. I would go as far as to say that you have improved upon it with your restoration and choice of care by the looks of it. Beautifully done

Candyfloss
09-13-2009, 01:37 PM
Sorry PF. My tired old eyes deceived me. But it's still a beautiful boat.

Lew Barrett
09-13-2009, 03:51 PM
Fooled me too, CF. But the Pipe's work rarely takes a back seat to anything, regardless of build.

BobW
09-13-2009, 07:36 PM
It is, however, readily available if you seek out the small sawmills who still make a reasonable profit on small scale jobs. Support your local sawyers! Only when traditional boat builders cease to demand the wood they need and fail pay a reasonable price for it, will "good boatbuilding wood" become truly unavailable.How does one find a local sawyer? A quick search (sawmills Northern California) on-line did not turn up any leads.

North Bay Boat Works reports they "... prefer to work with local sawmills and harvest our own hardwoods, mostly from windfallen trees here in Northern California." That sounds great but how do I find a local sawyer/sawmill?

Thanks.

Bob

Bob Cleek
09-14-2009, 01:47 AM
How does one find a local sawyer? A quick search (sawmills Northern California) on-line did not turn up any leads.

North Bay Boat Works reports they "... prefer to work with local sawmills and harvest our own hardwoods, mostly from windfallen trees here in Northern California." That sounds great but how do I find a local sawyer/sawmill?

Thanks.

Bob

http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/misc/utilizingmunitrees/images/img029.jpg

http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/misc/utilizingmunitrees/images/img028.jpg

How about these guys: California Hardwood Producers in Auburn, CA. http://www.californiahardwood.com/ That's just a spit up the road from you. They seem to get good press. They harvest "urban forest" trees, which is to say whatever they take down in the greater Sacramento area, plus a fair amount of recycled timber. Old Doug fir and like that.
Check 'em out. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/misc/utilizingmunitrees/Sawmills.htm

Beyond that, you can google sawmills in your area and you'll find there are out there. Also, the Woodmizer company, which sells portable sawmills, has, IIRC, a registry of owners of their mills. These guys do small jobs and may well be able to find what you need.

So much for your back yard. Now, you can drive across to the North Coast, starting from Sonoma and working north into Mendocino and you'll be in serious timber country. In fact, the last STEAM POWERED sawmill in California operates in Sebastapol, just west of Santa Rosa.

http://www.sturgeonsmill.com/images/253_Mill-009.jpg

http://www.sturgeonsmill.com/images/545_Mill-007.jpg

http://www.sturgeonsmill.com/

They hold about four "open houses" a year, if you want to see a really serious steam powered old time sawmill in operation. Last time I was there, they were sawing up some very, very nice tight grained Doug fir in good lenghts and large dimensions. Destined for interior cabinetry. I asked about boat wood (rift sawn vertical grain). The guy shrugged and said, "Let us know what you need." Simple as that.

floatingkiwi
09-14-2009, 02:59 AM
Nobody's "trashing" plywood. It is what it is, but there can be no dispute that it is inferior to natural wood as a boatbuilding material. An epoxy "encapsulated" plywood hull is really nothing more than a fibreglass hull with the plug still left in it. It has its place, but it also has its limitations, which are considerable, particularly with respect to high price, difficulties of construction, and longevity. Big "wood products" corporations make a huge profit peeling crap wood and gluing it together to sell to the public. Obviously, they want you to buy their material and designers, many of them good designers, have produced plans for plywood construction because that is what a market stuck on instant gratification and "easy DIY" demands. Nobody can blame them for working to eat. Let's not get all defensive about plywood. We've all built with it and owned plywood boats, but at the same time, let's not polish a turd.

Chris Craft Industries filled a market niche for CHEAPLY CONSTRUCTED boats in the Great Depression. They did not intend their products to last much more than a few years and they were priced accordingly. Keeping a Chris alive far beyond its designed lifespan is a daunting labor of love. Ask the guys that own them. SOME of their boats were better constructed than others, with their ply hulls at the bottom of the line. As a whole the Chris Craft line is historically significant in terms of Amercian boating, much as the Model T's and Model A's are significant in automotive history. To call a Chris Craft a "classic boat" is about the same as calling a Model T or Model A a "classic car." Some do, but there's a world of difference between a "classic" 1923 Model T and a "classic" 1923 Bugatti.

America is FULL of good boatbuilding wood. Short of the deserts, it grows pretty much everywhere. You won't find quality wood at Lowe's or Home Depot or even any local construction grade lumber yard. You never could and you never will. In 1880 or so, the US Census Bureau published it's "Report on the Shipbuilding Industry in America." Back then, they were lamenting that there was no good boatbuilding wood around anymore and in exactly the same terms as many make the same claim today. Back then, they were building ships out of timber. (The advent of iron ships was as much a result of a shortage of ship timbers as anything else.) Those trees still grow. Many of the prime boat building woods cataloged in that 1880 report are now considered trash wood good for nothing but bucking into firewood or chipping and dumping in the landfill. (California laurel, locust, elm and Osage orange, for examples.) In fact, there are more trees growing good boat wood now than there were then in many coastal areas. "Old growth" is of no matter. Yesterday's "second growth" is today's "old growth." Good wood grows the same as it always did. Back when, they thought they were "out of wood" because they'd clear cut all the stock within ox-hauling distance of the the shoreline. Today, timber is shipped all over the world.

You won't find boat wood "on the shelf" in anything other than expensive specialty lumber yards. It is, however, readily available if you seek out the small sawmills who still make a reasonable profit on small scale jobs. Support your local sawyers! Only when traditional boat builders cease to demand the wood they need and fail pay a reasonable price for it, will "good boatbuilding wood" become truly unavailable.
Hi Bob. Are you saying that the clear fir I see on the shelf at HD is crap. There is some pretty nice clear fir there, at least I thought it was and if there is stuff out there that is better, I would sure like to get my hands on some.Not disputing what you say or trying to argue at all, it's just that I have said to the odd person that HD are carrying some decent sticks of wood these days. " Bloody nice fir mate, ya can't go past a decent stick of clear fir."
I don't think we have fir in NZ like I have seen here so the learning process takes a step back for me when I get into something like this wooden boat thing in a foreign,( well not so foreign now), country.

Lew Barrett
09-14-2009, 10:37 AM
Kiwi,

The key to knowing if the fir on the shelf at HD is worth using is to know the source. Kiln dried wood that has been laying on the forest floor for a few years is not a suitable product for construction or reconstruction in our hobby. If you have a sense of the reliability of the supplier, that's one thing, but buying fir just as a matter of trust is quite another.

Anyway, isn't all of HD's stuff dimensional? That's limiting.

pipefitter
09-14-2009, 11:15 AM
Kiwi,

The key to knowing if the fir on the shelf at HD is worth using is to know the source. Kiln dried wood that has been laying on the forest floor for a few years is not a suitable product for construction or reconstruction in our hobby. If you have a sense of the reliability of the supplier, that's one thing, but buying fir just as a matter of trust is quite another.

Anyway, isn't all of HD's stuff dimensional? That's limiting.

I bought some 1x, clear D-fir from HD and it was undersized. Closer to 5/8ths than 3/4". There was some relatively tight grained pieces in the lot though. There was a run on it for a couple months but I haven't seen it there since.

pipefitter
09-14-2009, 11:18 AM
Sorry PF. My tired old eyes deceived me. But it's still a beautiful boat.

That's ok, CF. When I looked at the picture, I can see how at a glance that it could look slab sided. I appreciate the compliment regardless.

Bob Cleek
09-14-2009, 11:23 AM
Indeed, sometimes HD and Lowes will have some relatively decent dimensioned construction wood. They purchase from so many sources, apparently, that sometimes they get lucky. On the rare occasions that happens, word gets out and it's pretty much gone quickly. They don't expressly sell Doug fir, though, unless it's by happenchance. They sell "white wood" or "hem-fir" which is not species specific. It's just whatever stuff the mills are getting rid of at the moment. I've gone through pile after pile of HD 2x4's and 2x6's looking for a half dozen that weren't hooked or twisted or full of wane. I needed for some small job around the place here when I was too lazy to drive a bit further to the lumberyard. That's never been all that productive, due to the time it takes to pick through it and the poor quality of the stuff to begin with.

I've never seen wood at HD or Lowes that I'd put in a boat. Everything I've seen there is "forced" farmed timber. In fact, they tout their "sustainable green" lumber as being plantation grown. This stuff may be fine for framing house walls and fences, but not for boats. Five or six rings to the inch is not the sort of stuff you want. Eight rings to the inch is pushing it. Good Doug fir ought to have twelve to sixteen rings to the inch. Lumber mills sort their timber as it comes in. When they get timber that is clear and tight grained, they generally don't rip it up into 2x4's for the Big Box stores. The good stuff will bring a much better price as finish and cabinet wood, or boat building wood, than construction grade. They'd be foolish to cut high grade timber for low grade stock.

Like anything else, quality timber in the forest isn't common. Big logging companies today don't go looking for that one special tree that promises to contain great wood, fell it and carefully quarter saw it. They are into harvesting on a huge scale, clear cutting sections of forest, often cultivated timber, containing all the same species and then milling it on a grand scale using a lot of automated equipment. This is how they keep prices down and make a profit. It's only the small loggers and mills that are able to harvest select timber and custom saw it into fine wood for cabinet makers and boat builders. You have to seek them out, but they are around anywhere wood grows. This has always been the case with boat building wood, even back in the days before Weyerhauser and Georgia Pacific.

gaff cutter
09-14-2009, 11:44 AM
I don't mean to hijack the thread..... but: I've replaced all the fasteners in an old carvel planked hull a couple of years ago (pulled galvenized nails and replaced with bronze screws). The hull is pretty fair, but needs improvement. Two questions: (1) If I fair it now I will cover up some of the bungs- is this ok? (2) How do you fair over flexible seams?

pipefitter
09-14-2009, 11:56 AM
Indeed, sometimes HD and Lowes will have some relatively decent dimensioned construction wood. They purchase from so many sources, apparently, that sometimes they get lucky. On the rare occasions that happens, word gets out and it's pretty much gone quickly. They don't expressly sell Doug fir, though, unless it's by happenchance. They sell "white wood" or "hem-fir" which is not species specific. It's just whatever stuff the mills are getting rid of at the moment. I've gone through pile after pile of HD 2x4's and 2x6's looking for a half dozen that weren't hooked or twisted or full of wane. I needed for some small job around the place here when I was too lazy to drive a bit further to the lumberyard. That's never been all that productive, due to the time it takes to pick through it and the poor quality of the stuff to begin with.

I've never seen wood at HD or Lowes that I'd put in a boat. Everything I've seen there is "forced" farmed timber. In fact, they tout their "sustainable green" lumber as being plantation grown. This stuff may be fine for framing house walls and fences, but not for boats. Five or six rings to the inch is not the sort of stuff you want. Eight rings to the inch is pushing it. Good Doug fir ought to have twelve to sixteen rings to the inch. Lumber mills sort their timber as it comes in. When they get timber that is clear and tight grained, they generally don't rip it up into 2x4's for the Big Box stores. The good stuff will bring a much better price as finish and cabinet wood, or boat building wood, than construction grade. They'd be foolish to cut high grade timber for low grade stock.

Like anything else, quality timber in the forest isn't common. Big logging companies today don't go looking for that one special tree that promises to contain great wood, fell it and carefully quarter saw it. They are into harvesting on a huge scale, clear cutting sections of forest, often cultivated timber, containing all the same species and then milling it on a grand scale using a lot of automated equipment. This is how they keep prices down and make a profit. It's only the small loggers and mills that are able to harvest select timber and custom saw it into fine wood for cabinet makers and boat builders. You have to seek them out, but they are around anywhere wood grows. This has always been the case with boat building wood, even back in the days before Weyerhauser and Georgia Pacific.

There was that show on cable TV about logging. The equivalent to Deadliest Catch and in one episode, they were doing as you say with mass harvesting and they came upon this one lone older growth tree that they gave special consideration to for higher market. Remarking how that they did not know how this 'one' tree survived harvesting prior and they seemed rather excited of the find.

The few select pieces that I got from HD had around 10 rings IIRC but then an old timer that was also going through the pile said that he asked and HD could not guarantee him that it wasn't Larch? In my case, it was sandwiched into a non- structural lam between layers of ply as a deadwood so it was basically just a filler for dimension sake.

floatingkiwi
09-14-2009, 01:13 PM
Aah, after considering everyones comments on the fir at HD I hearby stick out my skinny white neck dangerously over the wretched chopping block and declare you all must have missed the stuff I wuz talkin' about. Dark brown, creamy, tight grain, light as,( God that sounds like the Mrs),timber that if you rubbed your hand up and down it , not a splinter ye shall get.Not the crappy construction grade big stuff, but in the aisle wit all the red oak and other cabinet grade timber, by crikey..

Pipeditter?

Bob Cleek
09-14-2009, 02:30 PM
Nope, you're not sticking your neck out at all. That aisle you're talking about does have specific species stock, finished on all four sides. Some of it is fairly decent, but it is dimensioned for cabinet work. If you need an eight foot length of 1x2 red oak to finish a kitchen cabinet installation, it's fine for that. Don't expect to find anything quarter sawn and certainly don't bother looking there for anything you might want to bend, wet or dry. I believe you will find (at least, I have) that the wood in their "finish stock" aisle, particularly in sizes useful for boat work, will cost much, much more than the same grade, or better, wood will cost you from a mill or even a specialty lumberyard, certainly in any quantity. They are charging quite a premium for the stuff in that aisle and they can get away with it because most of the sales are for small quantities to "weekend warriors" who don't really know or care what it costs. (It's like buying a whole salami from the deli, or a couple dozen slices in a blister pack from the cold case in the supermarket.)

I should mention that anyone who wants to build a wooden boat traditionally, really needs to own or have access to a thickness planer. This permits one to purchase rough sawn flitch cut stock and mill it yourself to the exact thickness you require. Rough sawn flitch cut stock is much less expensive. When you purchase finished-all-four dimensioned lumber, you're paying for all the waste in the milling process and then, in most instances, if you are using it in a boat, you will have to mill it again yourself to the right size. Flitch cut is particularly useful for boat building because planks are always curved and a plank can be gotten out of a curved flitch cut plank with much less waste than out of a much wider dimensioned plank. There's a huge amount of waste in milling dimensioned lumber. Often, a knot or flaw that could be worked around when cutting a curved shaped piece, would render the entire plank useless for a "straight cut" to turn it into 2x4's or whatever. When you buy rough sawn flitch cut stock, you pretty much get for free the waste that would end up in the chipper if the stuff were cut square.

Hem-Fir is a species combination of Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and five of the True Firs: California Red Fir (Abies magnifica), Grand Fir (Abies grandis), Noble Fir (Abies procera), Pacific Silver Fir (Abies amabilis), and White Fir (Abies concolor). While Western Hemlock and the True Firs are sometimes marketed separately in products graded for appearance, these species share similar design values making products graded for STRUCTURAL applications, but not boatbuilding applications, interchangeable. Western larch and Doug fir are marketed interchangeably in another "white wood" group. Both of these can be good planking wood, but you have to know your wood to select what might be useful for boat work. "Hem-fir" is an industry catch-all designation. Other than by a very practiced eye, you can't know what "hem-fir" really is because the specific species isn't stamped on the wood.

I'm not saying that one won't stumble over good wood in the "big box" lumber department, but you have to know your lumber to spot it unless you get really lucky and some better grade stuff was thrown into the mix to complete a shipment that was a bit short. If you need more than a couple of pieces, it will take you hours of pulling stacks apart to find what you need, if you can find enough of it at all.

One of the sad consequences of "wood products" production on a mass scale is that boat designers, who have to make a living, after all, find it necessary to so often limit their designs to boats which CAN be built out of dimensioned lumber, or near to it, because few amateur boat builders rise to the challenge of learning about wood before they start cutting it up. This is why we have things like lapstrake boats built with scarfed plywood planks which then have to be coated with glass and epoxy, and "faired," so they will hold water and not rot away before your eyes and why many beautiful great designs go begging because they aren't "suitable for sheathed plywood construction." I am absolutely convinced that the time a builder would take to locate proper stock to build the same or a similar boat traditionally, would more than be compensated for by the ease and ultimate economy of traditional construction, not to mention the dollar value of the boat when finished. I defy anyone to run a plane down the edge of a piece of plywood and then down the edge of a naturally grown plank and tell me they'd rather build their boat out of plywood! Plywood and dimensioned lumber are excellent products for building square things out of wood. Good boats just aren't square. Plywood boat construction is really an exercise in putting a square wooden peg in a round hole in the water. "Plywood construction" does allow many to "get into wooden boat building," but in the same way T-ball allows many kids to "get into baseball."

pipefitter
09-14-2009, 08:04 PM
Aah, after considering everyones comments on the fir at HD I hearby stick out my skinny white neck dangerously over the wretched chopping block and declare you all must have missed the stuff I wuz talkin' about. Dark brown, creamy, tight grain, light as,( God that sounds like the Mrs),timber that if you rubbed your hand up and down it , not a splinter ye shall get.Not the crappy construction grade big stuff, but in the aisle wit all the red oak and other cabinet grade timber, by crikey..

Pipeditter?

Yes, with the clear oak and they also had clear Northern white(not spruce/whitewood) and clear Southern yellow pine as well at the time standing on ends with different lengths from 6-10ft IIRC. But the D-fir was not quite 11/16ths thickness and was ready for finish pretty much.

BobW
09-14-2009, 08:14 PM
Bob Cleek -

(work interfered with an earlier response)

Thank you for the info re California Hardwoods Producers in Auburn and the other information you provided. I appreciate it.

I wonder why my generic google search (Yahoo is the default search engine and I didn't switch to Google) didn't turn up the information you provided. My search parameters were: "Sawmills, Northern California." I'll keep trying for better search results (...give a man a fish... teach a man to fish...)

After reading the posts after your response to me, I have another question. How can I learn about the wood before I cut into it? I can appreciate the advice to learn about wood, to acquire (at least access to) a thickness planer, and purchase flitch cut wood (I can surmise the meaning but I'm looking that up to be sure). But - coming from someone who 4 years ago was convinced a glued ply lapstrake boat was beyond my abilities, is now building a Goat Island Skiff for its simplicity, and is seriously contemplating a lapstrake design for a future build - how do I learn about wood?

Thanks for the information.

Bob

pipefitter
09-14-2009, 08:16 PM
Pipeditter, have you notice any demise in the boat and paint from sitting under that tarp for sooooooooooooooooo long without being launched and run?;)

I have been flogged to death at work these last few months. I'm the only fabricator/weldor/draftsman/designer and you saw the size of some of the solo projects I sent you pictures of.

I need to take the carbs off and rebuild them and it needs all new fuel (Thanks alot E10) lines and to be honest, I am tired of boats by the time the weekend comes. These old weldor eyes just want darkness. I will get back around to it soon. The teenager and associated chores about the house have taken all my other time. The winds didn't die until mid June and El Niņo year has made for heavy rains to land on all but a few weekends. By then, the grass is knee deep to a tall Indian so before you know it, months have gone by.

I just washed all the beetle turds and spider eggs out of it last weekend but she still sparkles. :D

pipefitter
09-14-2009, 08:47 PM
Like I have said, Bob, there is nothing wrong with building traditional boats if that's your calling. One offs are a sore investment for the extra tools such as the surfacer you mentioned. Add to that a table saw, band saw perhaps and the project gets expensive fast. For the woodworker, who has patterned his shop after the likes of Norm Abrahms, this is a no brainer. The mahogany that I did use, they milled 5/4 rough to the dimension I needed with one straight edge for about 2.00/stick. Not a bad deal.

Like I said, I have had trad boats before. I wanted something different and a bit more performance oriented and modernized. I can always build a trad boat if that novelty of such, ever presents the need to fill some void of life's pinnacle achievements when I have not enough to do. As it is, I am up to my ear pits with crafted handwork as a day job.

I got all my pneumatics, compressor, power tools stolen about 2 months into the project and essentially built the boat with a Ryoba saw, a yard sale circular saw, 1 chisel and a borrowed cordless drill from work and a utility knife and homemade sanding tools, and that, just out of spite.

The boat sits in the water and floats and does all that it was advertised to do and beyond. It also sits on the trailer for now, months on end and nothing has changed. It will not need to take up for the few hrs I get to use it.

I admire the traditional builds but I am not lacking the satisfaction from having missed out. Just reading many of these woeful threads of repairs and rotted keel bolts and refastening, varnish chores, rotted canvas, iron sickness, splining gapped planks, caulking, 30 hrs tending to bilge pumps, split planks, wooding hulls for paint etc. . . is enough to assure me that I made the right choices for now. It's all good and better.

I have quite a bit of solid wood mixed in and I did get to use my plane on it along with other hand tools. The plywood was just the planking.

This boat is never for sale.

Bob Cleek
09-14-2009, 09:39 PM
Like I have said, Bob, there is nothing wrong with building traditional boats if that's your calling. One offs are a sore investment for the extra tools such as the surfacer you mentioned. Add to that a table saw, band saw perhaps and the project gets expensive fast. For the woodworker, who has patterned his shop after the likes of Norm Abrahms, this is a no brainer. The mahogany that I did use, they milled 5/4 rough to the dimension I needed with one straight edge for about 2.00/stick. Not a bad deal. .

He who dies with the most tools, wins! LOL

Don't forget, though, IIRC, that the Bounty mutineers forbid the ship's carpenter from taking his tool box with him when the loyalists were set adrift in the ship's boat because, "He'll built a ship with them and come looking for us!" A lot of ships were built with hand tools. Good tools hold their value. When you are done with them, they can be sold reasonably, sometimes even for more than you paid for them, especially if you bought good used ones to begin with.

Bob Cleek
09-14-2009, 09:58 PM
After reading the posts after your response to me, I have another question. How can I learn about the wood before I cut into it? I can appreciate the advice to learn about wood, to acquire (at least access to) a thickness planer, and purchase flitch cut wood (I can surmise the meaning but I'm looking that up to be sure). But - coming from someone who 4 years ago was convinced a glued ply lapstrake boat was beyond my abilities, is now building a Goat Island Skiff for its simplicity, and is seriously contemplating a lapstrake design for a future build - how do I learn about wood?

Thanks for the information.

Bob

"Flitch cut" plank is simply a slab cut from the log with the bark still on the edge (or edges, depending on the size of the log and the type of cut.) Basically, it's the first stage of milling, after which comes all the other various finishing processes.

How to learn about wood? Well, one of the several "wood dictionaries" are a good way to start. (Such as "What Wood is That?") Also, get one of those "Audubon Guides" on "Trees of North America" so you can discover the "good stuff" that grows all around. The technical manuals (and Prof. Jaegels great long-running column in WB) will tell you how strong various woods are and what their rot resistance, bending ability, and so on, will be. Similarly, boat building books will often have lists of boat building wood... although these often are biased towards East Coast species and traditional New England practices. (They didn't think wooden ships could be built on the West Coast until the late 1800's and early 1900's when the rest of the US discovered that Doug fir was about the best all around boat building wood around.)

Beyond that, I'd have to say that "learning about wood" is pretty much a "hands on" exercise. If you handle even a little real Doug fir, for instance, and work with it, cutting it and smelling it and so on, I'd expect you would be able to recognize it every time after. It's hard and heavy. The same for most any other wood. Now, telling the difference between white oak and red oak is trickier. White has rounded edges to its leaves and red has pointy, stickery ends on its leaves... but that's not much help in a lumberyard. There are tests for this wood and that in the books, there being a "trick of the trade" for most all types. Some even require a microscope to be sure. Fact is, though, the closer you get to the sawmill, the more likely you will know what type of wood it is because the sawyer will know from having seen the log come in. Once you work with a true mahogany, you won't have any trouble telling it apart from luan. The same with teak versus iroko and so on.

Like Pete Culler supposedly said, "Experience starts when you begin."

Another good way to learn about wood is to send Bob Smalser here in the forum a private message... I'd have to say, based on ten years of reading posts in here, that Smalser, who seems to have done more than his share of sawing, is "closer to the tree" than anybody else that posts in here. Some find him sometimes pedantic, but you have to give the devil his due... Smalser knows wood.

BobW
09-14-2009, 10:13 PM
Thanks for the information. Lots to learn, not much time to learn it (or much of anything else).

Bob

ShagRock
09-14-2009, 10:39 PM
This has been a most enjoyable and informative thread to read.

Pipefitter ...that's one beauty of a boat and one of nicest bow-on photos I seen posted lately!


"Flitch cut" plank is simply a slab cut from the log with the bark still on the edge (or edges, depending on the size of the log and the type of cut.) Basically, it's the first stage of milling, after which comes all the other various finishing processes.

How to learn about wood? Well, one of the several "wood dictionaries" are a good way to start. (Such as "What Wood is That?") Also, get one of those "Audubon Guides" on "Trees of North America" so you can discover the "good stuff" that grows all around. The technical manuals (and Prof. Jaegels great long-running column in WB) will tell you how strong various woods are and what their rot resistance, bending ability, and so on, will be. Similarly, boat building books will often have lists of boat building wood... although these often are biased towards East Coast species and traditional New England practices. (They didn't think wooden ships could be built on the West Coast until the late 1800's and early 1900's when the rest of the US discovered that Doug fir was about the best all around boat building wood around.)

Beyond that, I'd have to say that "learning about wood" is pretty much a "hands on" exercise. If you handle even a little real Doug fir, for instance, and work with it, cutting it and smelling it and so on, I'd expect you would be able to recognize it every time after. It's hard and heavy. The same for most any other wood. Now, telling the difference between white oak and red oak is trickier. White has rounded edges to its leaves and red has pointy, stickery ends on its leaves... but that's not much help in a lumberyard. There are tests for this wood and that in the books, there being a "trick of the trade" for most all types. Some even require a microscope to be sure. Fact is, though, the closer you get to the sawmill, the more likely you will know what type of wood it is because the sawyer will know from having seen the log come in. Once you work with a true mahogany, you won't have any trouble telling it apart from luan. The same with teak versus iroko and so on.

Like Pete Culler supposedly said, "Experience starts when you begin."

Another good way to learn about wood is to send Bob Smalser here in the forum a private message... I'd have to say, based on ten years of reading posts in here, that Smalser, who seems to have done more than his share of sawing, is "closer to the tree" than anybody else that posts in here. Some find him sometimes pedantic, but you have to give the devil his due... Smalser knows wood.

I can back that up, as Mr. Smalser was most kind in returning information to some queries I sent him a while ago. Having access to a small sawyer is a blessing, and if he/she knows boat building wood, then one would be doubly blessed. Usually small sawmills have the band saws, planers, etc. to cut to your needs. Obviously, this is more available in rural forest areas than near the cities. Someone noted above that such is not common in Southern Ontario, but I bet it is fairly easy to find in the north of that province.

As you note, hands-on experience with wood is essential. Where I grew up in Newfoundland, locals sometimes cut spruce for planking for small boats...but not any spruce and not old growth..but those trees that yield the qualities within the species to produce good planks..boat builders just called them 'boat sticks'. You learned this first hand from an elder.

Bob Cleek
09-14-2009, 11:14 PM
Bob in your reply of planing down solid wood, I detest all the waste. If you are going to use solid lumber these days, why not buy 4/4, 6/4 or even 8/4 and resaw it even with the crudest tool such as a table saw and then only clean up the boards with the planer. It really depends on what you are building now. But in most cases these days six inche planks seems to be the rule and this can be at the very least with a good 10 inch table saw and running it through twice, flipping it over after cutting the three inch with the blade all the way extended.

Of course. You don't want to buy 8/4 and plane it down to 4/4 or even 6/4. However, with planking stock, especially in carvel planking, you will often have need for various thicknesses of planking stock to allow for backing out or filling. Thus, if your nominal plank thickness is, say, 3/4", you'd want a lot of 4/4 and then some 6/4, and so on. Doing your own thickness planing allows you to get out exactly what you need. The waste, within such tolerances, is no different that it would be if the mill did the planing for you, and a hell of a lot cheaper. If you wanted, or needed to, the material could certainly be resawn as well, like you describe. If you needed enough 4/4 for a thirty foot hull, though, buying 8/4 and resawing it wouldn't be much of a savings and the waste from the kerf would be no different whether you or the mill did the resawing.

pipefitter
09-14-2009, 11:48 PM
Why, thank you ShagRock. I am ultimately pleased with it.

It's great to have something good to read on here, as some of these discussions do manage to bring out some great tips.

Erster, I did witness one of your hulls built of sticks that lived on a trailer, and that boat made from other people's trash. One of my favorite builds to watch on here. I thought differently of such combination after that great episode. You have to be one of the most persevering individuals I have ever met. Red neck be damned. :D

Bob Cleek, I have read your input on here a lot. You never lack for a good explanation above and beyond. I recall a time, not too long ago, where I would pay good money for that kind of info on the magazine and book racks. Smalser another, Robb White, Dave Carnell and Dave Fleming. I don't discount any of you guys input.

Erster says he is building his last boat. I have a hard time fathoming that. That's been a keystone to my otherwise boring email account and even got me looking at sail boats.

I hope you old farts never get tired of talking about this stuff, regardless of how redundant it may seem at times.

Lew Barrett
09-15-2009, 12:48 AM
Well this has been a nice thread well discussed, and all in good humor too. Bravo boys.

floatingkiwi
09-15-2009, 01:54 AM
Ok Bob, Sheez you can write. I haven't ever bought any of the stuff myself either.Just thought it might be worth remembering for finished trimwork and other stuff inside that one might want to look nice.
You know, I have a thickness planer and for over a year I have been asking staff at HD to check the blade replacement stock on the shelf for the thing , as they have a two pack, wrong shaped blade package that does not fit the 3 blade planer they sell.
For over a year!. They either disagree or ignore me, kinda weird,( how can that foreign guy wit the funny accent be right), so I have resorted to making a jig to hone them myself.

Bob Cleek
09-15-2009, 02:05 AM
Ok Bob, Sheez you can write. I haven't ever bought any of the stuff myself either.Just thought it might be worth remembering for finished trimwork and other stuff inside that one might want to look nice.
You know, I have a thickness planer and for over a year I have been asking staff at HD to check the blade replacement stock on the shelf for the thing , as they have a two pack, wrong shaped blade package that does not fit the 3 blade planer they sell.
For over a year!. They either disagree or ignore me, kinda weird,( how can that foreign guy wit the funny accent be right), so I have resorted to making a jig to hone them myself.

Simple answer:

Walton's Saw Works
44 Woodland Ave
San Rafael, CA 94901-5344
(415) 456-6320

They've done a great job on my planer knives.

They'll likely be able to take care of you and for a surprisingly low price. If your blades are the "unsharpenable" disposable type, they should be able to obtain replacements, too. Anybody who has any interest in a sharp blade of any type really needs to visit Walton. Some years back, I brought my collection of old Diston saws in there. I'd gotten some from my father and others from garage sales. I'd never sharpened any of them and hadn't really used them much. Young Walton told me they were too good for anybody but his retired old man who started the place to touch. For five bucks apiece, or so, they came back trued, set and sharped, by hand, not machine. I've taken care of them since, that's for sure! I can cut through a two by four with one quicker and easier than I can plug in and set up my Skillsaw. (If I'm making a few cuts, I'll go for the Skill, though! LOL)

Walton has a lot of "old 'arn" hand tools for sale, too. They are fairly priced, but not cheap. A 100 year old hand forged boatbuilder's slick will set you back maybe $150, but they aren't making them anymore so if you need one... They've also got a great selection of fine knives, router bits, anything with an edge. Walton's is where all the local pros in the North Bay get their sharpening done.

RFNK
09-15-2009, 04:09 AM
At risk of sounding like a broken record:

I have two boats. One is a glued-lapstrake plywood Folkboat and the other is a splined mahogany hulled Twister. Both were built in the 1960s. When I got it the Folkboat had serious rot in its mahogany transom, rot in the edges of the plywood deck where some idiot had screwed hundreds of bits of teak `decking' into it, and damage from badly fitted SS chainplate fastenings which caused the only rot in the ply hull. The hull has only ever been finished with paint - no epoxy etc. The Twister has a ply deck which had rot in places where, again, someone had screwed thousands of fastenings through its glass sheathing into the ply. The mahogany hull and transom have rot that has spread into several or more of its cracked, steamed frames. Now, if the Twister had been built of the same quality of ply that the Folkboat was built from, I wouldn't be now replacing so much planking or rotten framing. If the Twister's frames had been built up with laminated strips of timber and epoxy, so many of them wouldn't have dried out and cracked at the tight turn into the bilge. If the previous owners of either boat had protected the glass deck sheathing instead of pointlessly penetrating it all over the place without bothering to seal it at all, both plywood decks would be as good as new. The facts: plywood is great material as long as, just like `real' wood, it's treated properly. Plywood doesn't need to be covered in epoxy or glass except that the endgrain sections should be sealed and it's a good idea to sheath any wooden deck, regardless of the type of timber it's made from, so that it doesn't leak. Plywood is a first-class material for decking, cabintops etc. as it braces the structure and, unlike planked decks, doesn't move around and leak. There is poor plywood and there is good plywood - use good plywood! If you can't get good plywood, then surface treatments become more important.

There are many great plywood boats, many great `real' wood boats, many crap plywood boats and many crap `real' wood boats. To denigrate the use of either natural wood or plywood per se is just stupid. Used wisely, both materials can produce great boats. Given the state of the world's forests and the most likely future of them, we'd better all get used to working out what good plywood looks like and how to use it.

I'm going to build a pram dinghy soon (ho, ho says SWMBO). I can get good quality plywood from my local plywood shop and it won't cost too much. I can order natural timber from a local supplier but the dinghy would be so heavy I wouldn't be able to lift it or I could order in celery-top pine or something and the planks I need would cost a small fortune. I'll go with Joel White's suggestion and use ply. I won't sheath it, I won't cover it all in epoxy. I'm pretty sure I'll make plenty of mistakes with it but I'm also pretty sure it'll be a good little boat nevertheless. Having to put up with that crunchy texture as I run the ol' Stanley 60 1/2 along the edges is the price I'll pay for not using real wood.

I'll use real wood in the planking repairs to the Twister and probably end up sheathing the whole hull in glass because I don't think the mahogany selected by one of Australia's top boatbuilders in the 1960s is really strong enough for this cruising yacht (but I could be wrong about this!!). I'll have to live with the possibility that the remaining mahogany planking could rot a bit more. Thankfully I don't have this worry with the Folkboat.

I don't want to spoil the `tone' of any thread but ... when you own a really good plywood boat, it's really annoying to hear people who should know better rubbishing them. It leads to foolish comments like - oh, I thought it was a real wooden boat, or, oh, it's just plywood. Comments like `plywood is just good for building boxes' are just so ignorant. The value of good plywood boats wouldn't be affected if certain know-alls would just take the time to do their homework and be a little more circumspect in the judgements they choose to air publicly.

Oh, I used to think plywood was a silly material with which to build a yacht. Then I did a bit of learning.

Rick

pipefitter
09-15-2009, 05:22 AM
Other than what toxicities and sensitivities(red lead is toxic!) exist with epoxy, the reasoning behind it's depiction as a pariah product by some eludes me. Why do we paint and varnish our wood? Why do we take such great strides to make sure that paint is soundly adhered to our wood? What paint sticks to wood better than epoxy? Is it because it's shared duty as an adhesive? When using epoxy to seal wood, it is a high quality primer/paint. The best sandable primer is far from water resistant without a sealer. What does a gallon of quality paint cost? If you could buy a paint that covers as many uses as epoxy does, I believe it would cost as much or most likely more. What is the price of a gallon kit of Awlgrip or Imron? $200.00 plus? You can get a gallon of quality epoxy, which will usually add up to 1.5 gallons, nearly for what you would pay for quality paint. Is it the added weight? Water permeated wood gains weight as well. On dry sailed boats, the use of epoxy as a sealer seems a no brainer to me. On wet sailed, traditionally constructed boats, not so much so.

Candyfloss
09-15-2009, 02:55 PM
Rick, I'm going to frame that & hang it on my wall.

RFNK
09-15-2009, 09:26 PM
Other than what toxicities and sensitivities(red lead is toxic!) exist with epoxy, the reasoning behind it's depiction as a pariah product by some eludes me.


This is the other continuing rant that gets to me too! If epoxy was UV resistant it would be the perfect product, wouldn't it? Look at all the issues with all the other glues etc. that seem to be kosher with the anti-epoxy herd! Urea formaldehyde, red lead, white lead, pine tar etc. and all the carcinogenic issues with so many wood dusts! You know the logic just astounds me - you can't build a boat unless it's real wood, you can't build a wooden boat if you need to use epoxy, you can't build a wooden boat if you need to use any adhesives at all, you can't build a boat if you need metal fastenings, you can't build a boat if you need fastenings other than vines and strips of bark ... blah, blah, blah.

Any boat, whatever it's made from, should be made with good materials and treated in whatever way will best protect the materials from deteriorating. Whatever the boat's made from, it's good to keep sanding to a minimum because it's boring and dusty. Sanding epoxy-based fairing compounds is a lot easier than sanding lots of wood but that doesn't mean you should cover the whole boat with it! But it does mean it's okay to use it when it's needed to cover holes, hollows, seams etc.

What Erster says is dead right. If you have epoxy resin, some glue powder (as I call it) and some fairing filler (as I call it), you can use this for lots of things. I'd happily trade all my old jars of resorcinol, polyurethane and PVA glues for some more epoxy resin but no one would want them because, unlike the epoxy, they're all out of date now so must be disposed of at a dump for toxic waste.

Rick