View Full Version : Another beginner question...

07-12-2006, 09:43 PM
Geting a 20' board is not possible. Is scarfing lumber (to get a 20' length for gunwales) the same as scarfing plywood? Any tips for scarfing lumber?


07-12-2006, 10:00 PM
Yes, exactly the same except much easier as the lumber is easier to cut and being only 2" instead of 48" wide, a lot less hassle to move around.

I would join the scarf right on the boat rather than making a 20' length and then fastening it to the hull . Attach the front half with glue and screws then carefully line up the mating surfaces of the scarf and glue and screw the aft half. Finally clamp a piece of scrap wood about twice as long as the joint over the scarf with plastic between it and the gunwhale so it won't be stuck on permanently. This will hold down the feather edge while the glue dries. Give it plenty of time before you remove the clamps. You can use cheapo drywall screws and then take them out and fill the holes after the glue cures.

Another tip: use PL Premium Construction adhesive instead of epoxy for bonding the scarf together. Its also a lot less hassle than epoxy for gluing and much less expensive. (No mixing, squirt out just what you need) Its available at most hardware stores and is around $4 for the 10 oz tubes. I just bought some 28 oz tubes at Lowes tonight for $5.98 each. Thats enough for about 100' of bead.

07-12-2006, 10:03 PM
Scarfing lumber is easier. Why can't you get a 20' piece of lumber? You might try looking in the yellow pages for lumber yards. Even urban area phonebooks will have more options than Home Despot, or Lowe's. Any decent lumber yard should either have, or be able to get pretty much any kind of lumber you want in a 20' length.

George Ray
07-13-2006, 04:42 AM
20' lumber, .... I know it exists but unless you are buying a timber, the whole industry seems keyed into standard sizes and in anything under timber size ( really buying the log squared up ) I have never recall seeing lengths above 16' or 18' unless it was 'manufactured lumber'. My experience is with the domestic lumber industry in the SE US and that was 20 years ago. I imagine it could be different in the western US or that the imported lumber industry is different.

If so how? What has anyone seen to think that 20' is commonly available?
All this disscussion will be moot in the next couple of years as the total timber industry is automated and all lumber in only available in standard sizes packed in plastic bubble packs.

Ron Williamson
07-13-2006, 05:10 AM
I think it depends on the species.
Locally,SPF construction lumber is commonly available up to 24'.
You can get Doug-Fir and red cedar decently long as well,but you have to order it.
Some of the fir that we've recently made into flooring,came from a yard in Toronto,shipped at 24'.We didn't ask for it.

07-13-2006, 10:21 AM
I'm sure that a 20 foot board is possible, trees grow taller than that. Finding and handling a 20' board would be the issue. It would be much simpler to use two boards scarfed to length than to have an awkward 20'er.

Ken Hutchins
07-13-2006, 10:28 AM
I'm sure that a 20 foot board is possible, trees grow taller than that. Finding and handling a 20' board would be the issue. It would be much simpler to use two boards scarfed to length than to have an awkward 20'er.

Handling a 20' piece of wood should not be an issue, just make use of work supports etc. I handled 38 foot long planks for my boat working alone.

07-13-2006, 10:31 AM
Once you scarf 2 shorter boards together you're still dealing with 1 20' piece......

Bruce Hooke
07-13-2006, 10:38 AM
Lumber used to frame houses is often available in 20' lengths (but the quality is likely to leave something to be desired!). If you can find a sawmill sawing the wood you need then they may be able to cut 20' lengths for you, and may is definitely the operative word -- from what I've seen most saw logs arrive at the sawmill in lengths shorter than 20'. Other than that, I agree that 20' boards are going to be hard to find. I know my local hardwood lumber dealers do not usually carry boards as long as that. I also know that I would have a hard time getting a 20' board home. I suspect this is what reeljob means by hard to handle, and I agree completely.

07-13-2006, 10:50 AM
I guess..... I was at the local yard last week and brought home some 22' D-fir 5/4x4 V-grain decking....Plenty in stock.... They had 20+' 5/4x 8 V-grain Cedar too, but I didn't need those lengths... Maybe it IS a regional thing, but I tend to think it's more of a where you shop thing. I know for sure that the mills out west cut lumber that's much longer than Eastern mills usually handle.

Bruce Hooke
07-13-2006, 10:56 AM
MrLeft8 -- I think it is as much a matter of what type of wood you are after as anything. Yes, some of the west coast species commonly used to build homes and the like are reasonably available in 20'+ lengths. On the other hand, I have wandered around quite a few hardwood lumber yards and I have only very rarely, if ever, seen woods like ash, white oak, mahogany, etc. in lengths longer than about 16'. If you live in an area where these species of wood are native then I agree that a local sawmill might well be able to cut longer lengths for you. For someone who does not live in an area where suitable woods are being cut this is obviously not an option.

07-13-2006, 11:29 AM
Douglas fir is available here in 1x4, 5/4x6 and maybe 2x6 up to about 20' or so. Dimension construction lumber is available longer, but not of useful quality.
I made a table saw sled for scarphing sticks for rails and stringers. It's OK up to about 1" x 2". Alternatively, you might consider scarphing up a single board and then rip your parts from that. Use an 8:1 bevel. Longer for spars.
I'd glue up the scarph OFF the boat. That way you won't be needing to bend the sticks while aligning and mating them. Use epoxy or resorcinol.

07-13-2006, 12:38 PM
I was referring to getting a 20' board from the lumberyard to the shop, if I could even find a 20' board. I think i'll end up using two shorter pieces and scarf them with epoxy off the boat. Luckily, there are only a few pieces that need to be this long. The rest is scarfed plywood.