View Full Version : Elm for bent frames?
02-17-2003, 09:17 PM
I build boats in Nova Scotia, Canada and have recently found a good source here for American and English Elm. I'm about to start a new project and was wondering if anyone new what these woods behave like in marine applications for both keel stock and steam bent framing... Anyone have any ideas?
( They must be better than red oak for rot resistance anyhow...)
02-17-2003, 11:32 PM
Elm bends beutifully.. But it rots faster than lightning in contact with moisture.
02-18-2003, 02:20 AM
I second that elm is great for bending, as long as you use planks without "errors".
English elm might get your sawblade stuck when there is stress because of drying.
In the old days, elm trees were stored under water for several years. The result was that there was almost no difference in color between the center and the sides of a plank (sorry, don't know the English terms)
Also after this period under water Elm has alsmost the same characteristics as Ash.
02-18-2003, 08:57 AM
center = heartwood
sides = sapwood
02-20-2003, 02:22 AM
Thanks. I'll make sure to remember
02-20-2003, 01:36 PM
I thought that the problem with elm was not its lack of rot resistance, (in bygone days it was called "coffin-wood" and used as such), but its tendency to break under stress. Frames would crack at the turn of the bilge. (I recall some forum comments on this.) Elm was the wood of choice in framing for English boatbuilders, but perhaps they had less access to white oak.
02-20-2003, 01:59 PM
Thank you all for your speedy responses... I'm still not certain as to whether I'll use it or not... though if I do I'll probably favour the English variety and see how it goes. I have a book here from the late 1920s called "Small Boatbuilding" by H.W. Patterson. In it he refers to a "White Elm" as being an appropriate substitute for White Oak... others refer to a "Rock Elm" (H. Chapelle included) as being good. Who knows... I'll ask the old fellers around here next. Then I'll be thoroughly confused and go find some Black Locust instead...
02-21-2003, 12:02 PM
What I know of elm from harvesting a woodlot is that it's among the first wood to decay once it's down.
Rock elm is different. I'd probably use that (tough stuff though). Or the English elm, though I don't know anything about that.
Elm is OK if it's kept always wet, or always dry. (At one time, very early in Ontario history, rounds of it were bored out and it was used as drainage tile.) If it is allowed wet-dry cycles, or if one end is kept wet, it rots.
Peter Malcolm Jardine
02-21-2003, 12:53 PM
I built my sisters horse stalls with Rock elm. Can't drive a 4" ardox through it. Have to drill and lag bolt it.l :eek:
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