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Thread: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

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    Default Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde


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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Well that's a great sales talk but I think I'll wait 50 years before stating this stuff is going to be perfect 50 years from now. I can't find anything on HDPE fatigue in structural use. Every plastic I know of breaks down over time...just in daylight.....
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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Although he doesn't claim to have invented the concept, Sauzedde is also the go-to guy for plastic framing in traditional wooden boats, whether in new construction, repair, or restoration. He knew a lobsterman who had sistered some frames with plastic, and that gave him the idea to frame entire boats this way. He uses high-density polyethylene sources directly from plastic manufacturers, and his frames have been proven to be flexible and unbreakable. They hold screws well, require no paint or finish, and most important are 100 percent impervious to rot. "I've been subject to tremendous amounts of ridicule over the plastic frames, but some boatbuilders and owners who initially ridiculed me for it have since been doing it themselves."

    A Modern Traditional Boatbuilder - The long and innovative career of Louis Sauzedde by Jay Picotte
    WoodenBoat Magazine (no. 239) July - August 2014

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    A warning.

    Most plastics have a much higher coefficient of expansion that wood, meaning the expand and contract more with changes of temperature. This could lead to greater opening up of seams in warm dry conditions, and compressing them in cool moist conditions. Might be OK in New England where boats tend to be hauled and allowed to dry some in Winter, and launched in Spring when things warm up and the humidity increases. I could see this being a major problem in other climates.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    I would worry about the coefficient of thermal expansion of the plastic. You might get a big surprise when you sail into the tropics.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Skiff Man View Post
    I would worry about the coefficient of thermal expansion of the plastic. You might get a big surprise when you sail into the tropics.
    +3.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Can't be much worse than white oak ..... except it is PLASTIC.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Interesting, and worth a try, but maybe best tried on somebody else's boat first. ;-)

    Tom

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    This used to be a wooden boat forum.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    What is the long term deformation of the particular plastic under load? Very few plastics are good at this.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Skiff Man View Post
    I would worry about the coefficient of thermal expansion of the plastic. You might get a big surprise when you sail into the tropics.
    That's a good point. Here are some comparisons:

    Product
    - α -
    (10-6 m/m K) *) (10-6 in/in oF) *)
    Polyester 123.5 69
    Polyester - glass fiber-reinforced 25 14
    Polyethylene (PE) 200 111
    Polyethylene (PE) - High Molecular Weight 108
    60
    Wood, fir 3.7 2.1
    Wood, parallel to grain 3 1.7
    Wood, across (perpendicular) to grain 30 17
    Wood, pine 5 2.8

    So if I'm reading this correctly, the plastic has about 3 times the thermal expansion of the frames they replace. I'm using that figure since fasteners would typically be used across the grain. Is that the right way to look at this?

    Source: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/li...ents-d_95.html
    Last edited by Junkyard Dog; 09-05-2014 at 09:40 AM.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    So for opening between 4.5" planks with 40deg F temperature increase:

    Gap opening between 4.5" planks =(60-17)*(E10-6)*(40deg)*(4.5")=0.0077"

    That's pretty small, and probably will be taken up by the precompression between planks. Sistering frames and mixing frame materials might be more important.

    Differential length change for 8' plastic and wood frames =(60-1.7)*(E10-6)*(40deg)*(8')=0.22". That would be a huge strain change for wood parallel to grain. The battle between plastic and wood would be on, with the planking screws as the middlemen.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Wouldn't there also be the problem of the planking rotting in those spots, if moisture between the frame and the plank can't evaporate?

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde


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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine View Post
    This used to be a wooden boat forum.
    Not anymore. It's the "How can I get away with the cheapest possible materials and yet survive?" forum. Totally at odds with the the idea of doing the best one possibly do...given one's situation...

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine: "This used to be a wooden boat forum."

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Not anymore. It's the "How can I get away with the cheapest possible materials and yet survive?" forum. Totally at odds with the the idea of doing the best one possibly do...given one's situation...
    Hear! Hear!

    But wait! "I want my plastic frames to look traditional, so I want to veneer them with teak. Would PL Premium adhesive be a good choice for this?"

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine: "This used to be a wooden boat forum."
    Would PL Premium adhesive be a good choice for this?"
    And how can I save the $4 worth of varnish left in the can?

    On the other hand, probably a lot more possible magazine buyers with questions like these than those interested in traditional boatbuilding.
    But that is not the reason I originally subscribed thirty-some years ago.
    Last edited by pcford; 09-05-2014 at 02:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    "It softens right up if you leave it in the sun a bit".

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine View Post
    This used to be a wooden boat forum.
    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Not anymore. It's the "How can I get away with the cheapest possible materials and yet survive?" forum. Totally at odds with the the idea of doing the best one possibly do...given one's situation...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine: "This used to be a wooden boat forum."



    Hear! Hear!

    But wait! "I want my plastic frames to look traditional, so I want to veneer them with teak. Would PL Premium adhesive be a good choice for this?"
    Look at your selves guys.

    No one complains about steel floors in a wooden boat.

    Did we not applaud a thread on the rebuild of a big composite yacht framed entirely in steel?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Epoxy is plastic. Polyurethane is plastic.

    I wouldn't expect HDPE to add rigidity as frames as well as some woods, but it should work well for tying things together, and with floors and bulkheads and various stringers and decks installed it should work quite well.

    It's pretty heavy, but it's so much more durable than wood that it might make OK planking, and I expect that it can be had in various colors and authentic wood grain pattern. Their are better ways to build a plastic boat though.

    I have considered using it in place of copper plates to protect a bottom. Pretty easy to clean, and amazingly and astoundingly abrasion proof. Full sheets would be hard to shape to the bottom, but small plates held on with SB ring nails bedded in something would definitely protect. Using small plates would deal with the differences in rates of expansion and fastener tearout, although that's probably not an issue below the waterline.

    I've had good luck with glass in epoxy sheathing (over cold molding) coated with 2 coats of Teflon powder (more plastic) thickened epoxy. Not a hard finish, but wicked slippery. Those boats don't stay in the water for more than a day or 2 at a time, certainly not all summer, but they would undoubtedly be easy to clean if they did.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    And how can I save the $4 worth of varnish left in the can?
    That's easy! Spend $15 on a can of Bloxygen!



    http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/200...tmIaAuk_8P8HAQ

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Look at your selves guys.

    No one complains about steel floors in a wooden boat.

    Did we not applaud a thread on the rebuild of a big composite yacht framed entirely in steel?
    We'll probably do the same when they've been using plastic frames for a 150 years, too.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Look at your selves guys.

    No one complains about steel floors in a wooden boat.

    Did we not applaud a thread on the rebuild of a big composite yacht framed entirely in steel?
    You're confusing me with someone else. I don't mind seeing steel 'joiners' in wooden boats, but when I first came here, this was a wooden boat forum, devoted to the building and restoration/preservation of wooden boats. Take a look at the 100 threads listed here in Building and repair. The majority are epoxy/ply/cloth boats, mostly under 20 feet..... not that there isn't a place for that, and some of these boats are quite lovely. Personally, I don't think you can class them as wood, because their construction is clearly composite in nature. I'm not trying to be snotty.... there are people here that are far better at that than I. I'm just observing. Most the of the bigger wooden boat owners have disappeared from this forum.

    As far as I'm concerned, people can any construction of boat they choose, but I don't quite understand the desire to hold on to wooden boats as a philosophy, while building boats in composite. At that point, I will just have a fibreglass boat.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    As far as I'm concerned, people can any construction of boat they choose, but I don't quite understand the desire to hold on to wooden boats as a philosophy, while building boats in composite. At that point, I will just have a fibreglass boat.

    Surely my right honorable friend will agree that the average woodworker will find it easier to build an epoxy/ply boat than a fiberglass one? And that the fitting out of interiors, spar making, and oar making count for something?
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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Oh absolutely.... ply and epoxy have opened up a incredible selection of designs that a homebuilder can handle, and some are complex shapes and so on.... but they are composite.... epoxy and ply. Plywood by itself has limitations that are overcome by the epoxy coating. The oars and interiors and so on.... very nice....and it speaks to the size of boats being built here. Most are under 25 feet, predominantly sail, and a lot have no auxiliary power. Again, quite different than this place even five years ago. Also a quite vocal crowd, some of whom have no time for a lot of other kinds of boats. No biggie, just evolution.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Evolution works. That why the WB Small Boats annual issue is popular.

    Meanwhile, anyone can advocate for their favorite boat type as vigorously as they see fit, from clippers down through J-Boats to schooners to SCAMPs, from Trumpys down to Lyman runabouts and Hacker racers to steam launches. Yee hah.
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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    I have also noticed both an absence of larger boats and an apparent lack of interest in larger boat projects. Tradional carvel boat building seems to be fading away from this forum. Personally I don't think building plank on frame is all that difficult compared to building a plywood boat. It is certainly more satisfying.

    Second, if you use plastic frames and want them to look like wood, you just have to hire a good painter to faux paint them. Don't even think about covering them with wood grain vinyl

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd D View Post
    I have also noticed both an absence of larger boats and an apparent lack of interest in larger boat projects. Tradional carvel boat building seems to be fading away from this forum. Personally I don't think building plank on frame is all that difficult compared to building a plywood boat.
    That opinion is shared by many of the posters here. Its one of the reasons larger boat folks dont post here any more. All they are going to get is bad advice and arguments......and then go and mention engines!....look out. The big boat projects are still happening. They just dont post here

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine View Post
    Oh absolutely.... ply and epoxy have opened up a incredible selection of designs that a homebuilder can handle, and some are complex shapes and so on.... but they are composite.... epoxy and ply. Plywood by itself has limitations that are overcome by the epoxy coating. The oars and interiors and so on.... very nice....and it speaks to the size of boats being built here. Most are under 25 feet, predominantly sail, and a lot have no auxiliary power. Again, quite different than this place even five years ago. Also a quite vocal crowd, some of whom have no time for a lot of other kinds of boats. No biggie, just evolution.
    Why not start a "Composite Boat" magazine or sub forum then?

  30. #30

    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Welcome. You just posted on it

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Bazinga!


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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Talk about radical concepts, what about wire rigging, wood screws, turnbuckles, plywood, varnish etc, these were all radical ideas when first used. Let's be a little more open minded.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    I think the plywood epoxy method has almost singlehandedly revived the small boat industry....certainly for the amateur builder. Im not against it. My comments are in regard to the exclusion of larger boats here. A vocal few take great pleasure in deriding boats they dont share any interest in. As a result those projects no longer appear here, because there is neither the like minded or the audience for it. I repeat...this is only an observation. I still talk about my wooden boats. Just not here. I come here to look at the smaller boats that are being built...

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    I suspect there are economic forces at work that are playing as big a role in the shift in boat types as material advancements. I would love to have a larger sailboat boat kept on a coastal bay. It's not going to happen because the cost to live in those areas and the annual costs of owning a boat as a percentage of wages just keeps climbing. In addition, the increased work hours those who have full time employment are working just leaves less time available for enjoying and maintaining a larger vessel. Then, add in the fact that wood boats keep getting older and succumbing to entropy and it's not surprising that a smaller percentage of people on this forum are involved with traditional wood boats. There aren't many old school hot rodders around on hot rodding forums either. At some point, practicality will trump emotion. I enjoy woodworking far more than plywood and epoxy work, but it just isn't practical for me to build and own a timber boat, so it's either small plywood composite or nothing.

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    Default Re: Using plastic for framing instead of oak with Louis Sauzedde

    Plastic frames mmmmmmm not keen on the idea myself, but I suppose it could work on smaller project, but why would you when wood is just as easy to work with.
    My interest lies in larger wooden boats, of which there are very few on here now that are regularly updated.
    After viewing Vonglass' thread on restoring a 38' yacht (not that large) and the negative responses on there, is it any wonder that the bigger boat owners don't post here.
    There does seem to be an expectation that wooden boats should be restored to good as or better than new condition on the forum, varnished bilges look very nice but in reality rarely achievable, most wooden boats I've been on don't even have painted bilges (open boats excluded).
    I suspect there are some cultural differences that come in to play here though.

    The ply and glass stuff can be very nice, and they are a great way to get into boatbuilding but don't hold any real interest to me, apart from my alter egos fascination with Wharram cats.

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