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C. Ross
12-26-2007, 07:55 PM
I was following the thread in building/repair on the market for new wood runabouts http://woodenboatvb.com/vbulletin/upload/showthread.php?t=73348 and Bob Smalser's comments were compelling.


Don't look for continued supplies of Honduras Mahogany in the future. It's not a renewable wood in that it won't grow in plantations without massive doses of carbaryl to control the borer that kills seedlings, which is both expensive and ungreen. A neighbor in the music wood business imports cants for resawing, has already experienced shortages lasting as long as 6 months, and expects all his overseas sources to eventually dry up.

I don't know what the future is for Khaya in Africa, but I've never found it as easy to work, and that adds expense.

I did not want to hijack the thread, so will take my questions here.

Bob and others have addressed this elsewhere, but I can't find a really good Green guide to use of wood in this forum or elsewhere. I'd like something like the guide for seafood that I've carried in my pocket for years.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2156/2139119981_31e3f0fa0e.jpg

Specifically:

When I acquire mahogany or teak for restoration work how do I get it Green?

If I were building a small lapstrake sailboat, what would be decent Green materials (or what should I avoid?). I know, a complicated question...

Finally, are there decent long term alternatives for the old-growth and tropical woods that are much of the foundation for wooden boating?

Bob Smalser
12-26-2007, 08:35 PM
The Forest Stewardship Council (fsc.org and fscus.org) is the global organization with 40 member countries that certifies wood products as sustainable. They have a search feature to find those they have certified. Look for this image displayed by vendors:

http://www.traffic.org/mahogany/us3.jpg

While teak grows well in plantations and there are a number of FSC -certified sources, mahogany doesn't, and I'm told there are only two current US sources for certified H. Mahogany:

In Philadelphia: http://www.thomahog.com/fsc.htm

And Portland: http://www.altruwood.com/

I can't think of any North American species currently logged commercially that aren't sustainable except wood from old-growth forests and isolated trees currently being logged in British Columbia and to a lesser extent in parts of the US NW. This includes some of my wood. Even in a selectively-harvested, mixed-age forest, I can't fully reproduce either old-growth wood or old-growth forest ecosystems. Learn to build with second-growth and later domestic wood, because it won't be long before that's all you'll have.

C. Ross
12-26-2007, 10:25 PM
Thanks Bob.

A quick perusal of FSC site says sleuthing is required to purchase carefully. For example, I searched FSC for Thompson and Altruwood and found their certificates but neither of these listed mahogany specifically. I searched "mahogany" or "Swietenia Macrophylla", but didn't get Thompson or Altruwood.

I guess it means buyer be careful.

Bob Smalser
12-27-2007, 03:07 PM
For example, I searched FSC for Thompson and Altruwood and found their certificates but neither of these listed mahogany specifically. I searched "mahogany" or "Swietenia Macrophylla", but didn't get Thompson or Altruwood.


What FSC is trying to do ain't real simple. Establishing providence in works of art is hard....imagine doing it for logs. ;)

But I also suspect if a reputable vendor advertises certified wood, he can prove it.

BDysart
12-27-2007, 03:27 PM
The Forest Stewardship Council (fsc.org and fscus.org) is the global organization with 40 member countries that certifies wood products as sustainable. They have a search feature to find those they have certified. Look for this image displayed by vendors:

http://www.traffic.org/mahogany/us3.jpg

While teak grows well in plantations and there are a number of FSC -certified sources, mahogany doesn't, and I'm told there are only two current US sources for certified H. Mahogany:

In Philadelphia: http://www.thomahog.com/fsc.htm

And Portland: http://www.altruwood.com/

I can't think of any North American species currently logged commercially that aren't sustainable except wood from old-growth forests and isolated trees currently being logged in British Columbia and to a lesser extent in parts of the US NW. This includes some of my wood. Even in a selectively-harvested, mixed-age forest, I can't fully reproduce either old-growth wood or old-growth forest ecosystems. Learn to build with second-growth and later domestic wood, because it won't be long before that's all you'll have.


I have decided to go with local Doug. Fir rather than mahogony for new deck beams on my Chris C. 42, on the advice of people here (Quadra Island BC) They say it holds up better to the local conditions.
I have found a good source for some good second-growth heartwood which I am considering but a shipwright here says I should only look at Old Growth, which is available but at about 10 times the price. He says the Second Growth stuff would only last 15-20 years. Then again, it is a renewable resource and Old Growth isn't.
Any particular considerations to keep in mind if I use the Second Growth material?

Bob Smalser
12-27-2007, 04:23 PM
... He says the Second Growth stuff would only last 15-20 years.

This gent have 20 years of experience using second-growth, or is he guessing? ;)

I'd shop around some. As long as old-growth is being harvested you might as well use it, as you aren't gonna change the British Columbia forestry plans on which tracts are planned for harvest/replanting and which are not. You have 62 million acres of old-growth forest remaining out of 152 million acres of managed forest in BC compared to the 7+ million remaining in US Pacific NW forests out of an original 26 million. BC manages more timberland than the entire USFS lands of 50 states combined. For as little as you need, I might pay 7 bucks as opposed to 70 cents a bf for old-growth.

There is a lot of variance in DF, regardless of how old the tree was. And that includes rot resistance. Tight-ringed second-growth from the coast will probably outlast old-growth harvested in the mountains. I'm sure in a stack of your second-growth coastal logs I could find some shade-grown with good color at around 15 rings per inch that will last the life of the boat. And it'd be a bad bet that 8 rings per inch Select-grade stock costing 70 cents a bf wouldn't serve for 40 years in a properly-maintained boat.

BDysart
12-27-2007, 04:42 PM
This gent have 20 years of experience using second-growth, or is he guessing? ;)

I'd shop around some. As long as old-growth is being harvested you might as well use it, as you aren't gonna change the British Columbia forestry plans on which tracts are planned for harvest/replanting and which are not. You have 62 million acres of old-growth forest remaining in BC to the 10 million remaining in US Pacific NW forests. For as little as you need, I might pay 7 bucks as opposed to 70 cents a bf for old-growth.

There is a lot of variance in DF, regardless of how old the tree was. And that includes rot resistance. Tight-ringed second-growth from the coast will probably outlast old-growth harvested in the mountains. I'm sure in a stack of your second-growth coastal logs I could find some shade-grown with good color at around 15 rings per inch that will last the life of the boat. And it'd be a bad bet that 8 rings per inch Select-grade stock costing 70 cents a bf wouldn't serve for 40 years in a properly-maintained boat.

I think he's guessing. His exact quote (more or less) was 'That second growth s..t might last 15 or 20 years if yer lucky and then you, or the next guy who owns the d...n boat would have to do the job over again.'

I appreciate your input Bob. I have followed your posts on other threads. You're a valuable resource yourself on this forum.
It does look like the Old Growth would cost about 10 times that of the second growth stuff and my budget is limited. I'm going to need about a hundred feet of 2 by 6 for the job. Then again, the fella who told me the above says he knows some mill owners around here who might be able to get me the old growth for a good price.
The guy who has the second growth on his property - mills it himself - a a good guy. I suppose I could ask him if he has any shade grown stuff with a relatively high ring count. Is that correct? Is that what I would be looking for? Sorry to sound so stupid but, well, I am a bit where this is concerned.
Thanks for the email with the Queen Charlotte supplier. I will give them a call.

Bob Smalser
12-27-2007, 07:10 PM
'That second growth s..t might last 15 or 20 years if yer lucky and then you, or the next guy who owns the d...n boat would have to do the job over again.'

The guy who has the second growth on his property - mills it himself....

In your cold climate, I could make your deck beams out of hemlock, ash or spruce and get longer than 15 years out of them. Below the waterline or exposed to the weather is a different story of course, but I know of fishing camp skiffs around here framed with hemlock that lasted longer than 15 years. ;)

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL12/1104763/3075040/52135894.jpg

True second-growth (not third or fourth), mixed-age forests in your coastal areas originally logged in the 1930's will have a lot of logs that look like this. This is an old-growth tree that was too small to harvest when the forest was logged, and once in sunlight spurted from 20rpi to 8rpi and then 4rpi as its neighbors were removed and it got full sun. The tight-ringed 20 and 8rpi wood in the area of that log your beams will come from is as good as anything coming out of the Queen Charlottes these days, and mixed rpi in a single stick won't cause it to warp.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL12/1104763/18208631/286276040.jpg

For decking if you can cherry pick, even this third-growth will have some shade-grown trees like the 12 and 19rpi construction lumber shown here.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL12/1104763/18208631/286276039.jpg

There are two or three very nice pieces of VG 2" X 3" X 18' clear heartwood decking hidden in this $25.00 2X12 that was harvested within 50 miles of Seattle.

C. Ross
12-27-2007, 08:21 PM
What FSC is trying to do ain't real simple. Establishing providence in works of art is hard....imagine doing it for logs. ;)

But I also suspect if a reputable vendor advertises certified wood, he can prove it.

Not meant disrespectfully. I spent summer of 1987 at Office of U.S. Trade Representative, mostly observing beginning activities of NAFTA, US-China talks on textiles, and some other stuff. Watching the crafting of consistent, enforceable, interpretable rule sets on complex product sets (well that was the goal anyway) was eye-opening. As forestry policy and politics is beyond my ken, sounds like FSC certification is useful proxy.

I second BDysart's comments. Any Smalser post is worth reading twice. Especially appreciate photos and comments about getting old-growth quality wood out of second-growth stock.