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John Bailey
12-11-2013, 11:12 AM
Awhile back, I started a thread to find out what woods from my property I could use to build a boat. My plans have changed a bit because I can't seem to take time off from sailing my Herreshoff H-28 -- what a great boat!!

Now that I'm fully retired, I need a long term project to keep me busy. I'm tending to sit around too much.

My goal is to build a 24-30' cruising boat that I can stand up in (6' standing headroom) from wood on my own property. I'm not too concerned with finishing the boat. I want a project that will stretch my skills and be a challenge. If I don't finish it, I'll leave it to my son's when I die and let them have a go at it.

It appears I've got plenty of what I need with Tamarack, Northern White Cedar, Cherry, Ash, Maple and Ironwood (Hornbeam.)

My concern is the keel timbers. I've talked to a boatbuilder friend who spent 20 years in Nova Scotia and he told me they use Tamarack (Hackmatack, Larch) all the time for keel timbers. He said, everything being equal, he would use White Oak, but Tamarack would be fine.

While I'm sure I could find better wood for the keel timbers, my goal is not to build with the best woods, the goal is to build with the best woods for the job on my property if the wood is acceptable.

I've got two questions concerning the Tamarack.

First, what is the general consensus for using Tamarack for keel timbers.

Second, can I laminate Tamarack? My plan is to start cutting the wood now and start the build in the fall of 2015. I haven't found a Tamarack large enough to get big enough timbers for a keel. I've got two that are around 2' that have been blown down that I need to cut up soon. I've another that is a bit bigger. The advise from the other thread is I couldn't get keel timbers out in one piece. Even if I did, it probably wouldn't have enough time to dry. So, I'd probably be cutting them into 1.5" planks and laminate the keel timbers.

Thanks in advance,

John

paulf
12-11-2013, 11:27 AM
I'm on a similar path. Our wood our here is different (D-Fir and Red Cedar) however, a decent boat can be had with them. I don't know much about those woods you speak of but I look forward to hearing about your project. Finding a tree big enough to yeld a keel is tough. I have several logs big enough but they have flaws. Bent, sap wood, shakes, checks and knots.
I've considered laminating 2x12x20 clear D- fir for the keel.

I've decided to start with a smaller project while I settle on a final decision.

Good luck with your project!

John Bailey
12-11-2013, 11:33 AM
Thanks Paul,

As mentioned, I won't be starting for a couple of years, but I wanted to plan ahead. If I have to buy keel timber I may start a bit earlier because I won't have to wait for drying.

John

Gib Etheridge
12-11-2013, 12:41 PM
Or you can saw it out thinner and it won't take as long to dry. 3/4" larch on stickers in your modestly heated shop with a fan on low speed to keep the air moving should be dry enough by next spring. With logs that big you should be able to quartersaw on a bandsaw mill. Vertical grain will be much less likely to check in an accelerated drying schedule like that. The trees that are down may even be partly dried.

The cedar will probably need to be thicker than that so will take a bit longer but you won't need it nearly as soon, you may be able to let it dry outdoors under cover.

If the frames are to be bent ironwood don't saw them out until you need them, green lumber steams and bends much better than dry stuff, but if the stem is to be laminated ironwood you should get the lams drying as soon as you can.

You could probably build the entire boat out of larch.

A lot depends on the dimensions you need which depends on the hull you want to build. Do you have the plans yet?

John Bailey
12-11-2013, 01:14 PM
Do you have the plans yet?

I have study plans from Atkin, Gartside and Buehler. I just took a little trip on a 40' Buehler Diesel Duck and came away pretty impressed with that boat. I want a small 24'-30' cruising boat that I can handle myself easily. I've got time to make up my mind. I have no plans to start the build for a couple of years.

John

Chip-skiff
12-11-2013, 02:02 PM
I've got two questions concerning the Tamarack.

First, what is the general consensus for using Tamarack for keel timbers.

Second, can I laminate Tamarack? My plan is to start cutting the wood now and start the build in the fall of 2015. I haven't found a Tamarack large enough to get big enough timbers for a keel. I've got two that are around 2' that have been blown down that I need to cut up soon. I've another that is a bit bigger. The advise from the other thread is I couldn't get keel timbers out in one piece. Even if I did, it probably wouldn't have enough time to dry. So, I'd probably be cutting them into 1.5" planks and laminate the keel timbers.

There was a piece in Wooden Boat, in 2012 I think, on a builder in Maine or New Brunswick who was using wood cut on his land both for a shop and for a schooner. Hackmatack was mentioned frequently. When I get a minute, I'll poke about in my back issues and see if I can locate it.

paulf
12-11-2013, 02:24 PM
I have study plans from Atkin, Gartside and Buehler. I just took a little trip on a 40' Buehler Diesel Duck and came away pretty impressed with that boat. I want a small 24'-30' cruising boat that I can handle myself easily. I've got time to make up my mind. I have no plans to start the build for a couple of years.

John

I just did some work on a 38' Coot (like a Diesel Duck also by Buehler) Tomorrow I'm cutting a penetration in that hull for a heater exhaust. The boat was built in China from Buehlers plans. The hull is 4-6mm steel. Looks like a boat that could be built by one builder. Looks like a Troller hull.
Small World!

John Bailey
12-11-2013, 05:36 PM
There was a piece in Wooden Boat, in 2012 I think, on a builder in Maine or New Brunswick who was using wood cut on his land both for a shop and for a schooner. Hackmatack was mentioned frequently. When I get a minute, I'll poke about in my back issues and see if I can locate it.

I think I remember that. I've got all the back issues on a flash drive. I'll see if I can find it.

Thank for the reminder.

John

eflanders
12-12-2013, 12:19 AM
I believe the young Mr. Madison is building his Maid from locally grown timber. Ironwood i believe is also appropriate for the keel but i am definately not an expert!

Jamesh
12-12-2013, 06:00 AM
To me it would depend on my skill level. if basic go for beuhler, if intermediate go for atkins or if high go for gartside. also make sure your wood is right for the boat. larch and Doug fir good for planking.
James

skaraborgcraft
12-12-2013, 08:16 AM
Slow grown larch here in Siberia is some of the best boatbuilding timber i have seen. I would not hesitate to use larch, If you want to epoxy, best rip it down to smaller sizes. Laminated frames and beams not an issue.

wizbang 13
12-12-2013, 09:27 AM
Areyou going to glue the boat?
Have you settled on a design yet?
These two questions I think are critical to an answer you seek.
Taking advise from a Lunnenburg boat holder is sketchy. Their boats are fast and seaworthy, but they are NOT known for quality construction materials, or longevity.
I have often said here that sound cedar is stronger than rotten oak,and I stick by that.
bruce

Chip-skiff
12-12-2013, 10:21 AM
Found it. Son of a Gun: David Westergard and the schooners of eastern Canada by Tom Gallant, WB 188, Feb. 2006, p. 34.

John Bailey
12-12-2013, 10:44 AM
I would call my skill level less than intermediate but not beginner. I've got a full woodshop and have worked wood for many years. I built a dinghy for my first sailboat, helped a student build his sea kayak and built half the hull of a 15' sailboat that work kept me from completing that was eventually given to a boatbuilding student who needed tuition funds.

This will be a first large build. I don't want to work with ply and I don't want to use epoxy any more than I have to. It will be traditionally built. Buehler has a new sailboat design called the Njord that fits my criteria perfectly and that's where I'm leaning right now. Although my all time favorite design is Atkin's Fore-and-Aft, I think, if I decide to go with a more demanding build, I would probably go with Gaartside's 116A. I've corresponded with Paul about some changes to meet my needs and he said they would be fine.

In the next two years, I hope to build a dinghy for this boat (sold the other one) and that experience may help decide whether I go with the simpler Buehler build or the Gartside.

Rich Jones
12-12-2013, 11:14 AM
I don't know much about larch, but there are different kinds. John Hartmann, in his building thread 'A Ilur in Vermont' found some larch growing here that was first transported here from Europe. He's got a pretty good description of it and how it is superior to larch native to this country.

eflanders
12-12-2013, 11:24 AM
Traditional boat builders throughout the centuries have used the locally grown timber because this was all that they could use. Now in our more modern times, we have access to glues, materials and knowledge sources that just weren't available back then. We now are able to use the local timber, but with the addition of modern adhesives and knowledge we can modify the original plans to accommodate accordingly. In my personal opinion, there is a certain satisfaction one gains from using materials found locally and specially on one's own land. If I were in your shoes, once you have finalized what you are going to build, I would talk to the designer and have them modify the plans for you based on the materials you plan to use.

John Bailey
12-12-2013, 12:47 PM
If I were in your shoes, once you have finalized what you are going to build, I would talk to the designer and have them modify the plans for you based on the materials you plan to use.

Very good point!!

John

SeaB
12-12-2013, 05:34 PM
I don't know what the eastern larch ( tamarack, hackmatack) is like in your neck of the woods, but here it is a real challenge to find decent stuff. The really large stuff which is rare is likely to have ring shakes ( separation along the annular growth rings) it is also difficult to find material with enough growth rings per inch (8 or more/in")
Assuming that you can find decent stuff on your land it should be reasonably good to use. Having lived on both coasts, I appears to me to be similar to Douglas Fir in many ways. Good Douglas Fir is much easier to find than good larch in my experience.
A lot depends on the climate where you live as well as water temperatures in regards to its longevity. The Atlantic here off Nova Scotia is cold, and we have winter 6-7 months per year, with as much as up to 4 weeks in the summer when the temperature has the potential to reach 85 F, and maybe once in a while hit 90+ F. They often strip planked lobster boats with red spruce and it would typically last 20-25 years, so climate and water temp. Do make a difference in my opinion.

Pete E
12-18-2013, 10:02 PM
Larch ( tamarack ) as found in Michigan should be a good boat building wood. (hackmatack) is a softer wood not like tamarack at all. Gluing together a keel and not using epoxy I would use The Forest products Lab In Madison for the latest information on gluing.

The Njord sounds like a good boat, a little large for my needs but nice. Are you intending it for salt water or the lakes ?

John Bailey
12-19-2013, 03:17 AM
The Njord sounds like a good boat, a little large for my needs but nice. Are you intending it for salt water or the lakes ?

In all likely hood, this boat would be for the Great Lakes. I've always wanted to do the Down East Circle, which would include the North Atlantic Seaboard. However, that would probably be done with my present boat in the next two years and before this build would start.

Just bought another chainsaw and hope to get started cutting this winter.

John