View Full Version : Keel wood selection

03-27-2007, 10:50 AM
I was reading one ofthe woodenboat books "Stems & Keels" where the original white oak keel was being replaced with one of long leaf yellow pine in a Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 25. The reason being that it would not be as prone to the through thickness checking that was causing leakage in the white oak keel. As I will probably have to replace the keel in my Herreshoff 12.5, I was wondering if I should make a similar switch in material, or are there other reasons why the original keel may have checked so badly in that boat that I could avoid with my boat? As far as I can see my keel is pretty bad at the edges, but I don't see any checking cracks on the bilge side. I was hoping to maybe just glue up (resorcinol)a new rabbet edge if the bolt holes looked okay.

Jeb Fowler
03-27-2007, 10:59 AM
My entire boat is longleaf yellow pine, including the keel/deadwood. I do think that there is a bit too much endorsement of the stuff in certain applications. If it is old, recycled stuff it may have very poor cross-grain strength due to old checks and brittle, dried resin. In the Herreshoffe application I would not recommend it as that is a thin keel. Despite the claims of the toughness of longleaf, there is no comparison whatsoever to the strength of white oak on any measure (tensile, cross-grain, etc.) Longleaf is best used on boats with thick planking, or heavy, thick keels. In boats with smaller scantlings I would only use it for deadwood or sheer clamps; maybe floorboards.

-Jeb Fowler
Austin, TX

03-27-2007, 12:17 PM
Jim, This boat needs almost a total rebuild. It hasn't seen water since 1992, the stem is rotted, many of the planks need replacing. Most of the frames need replacing. The last owner who had this boat in the water clearly was not a fan of doing any maintenance. He even painted the mast and spars (blasphemy I say!!!).

In the midst of all of this, replacing the keel seems trivial. Of course, if I can get away with routering the rabbet edge back and gluing on a new rabbet edge I'd like to, because I like to have some of the original wood in the boat. I have no experience with this however, is this typically done? Can I just butt glue a new edge stip with resorcinol?

03-27-2007, 01:59 PM
I'll try to get some pics up tonight when I get home.

03-28-2007, 08:15 AM
I am having trouble getting the pictures down to the 19.5KB limit, however, I noticed while taking the pictures that the keel is quite checked. Two large fissures, one at the fore end, and one near the transomthat I would have to guess are through thickness. Looks like a replacement is in order.

Do I want plane sawn white oak at this location, or is vertical grain better?