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Thread: Can real wood replace ply?

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I think your comparing apple's to oranges Tom. How could Sapele plywood be less dense than a sapele board or doug fir ply less dense than doug fir solid lumber?
    No one said otherwise, but that is not relevant.
    Tom L

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    Well Tom it depends on what species of lumber it's built from doesn't It? After 40 years of working with wood I think I have a pretty good grasp of it's properties.
    Actually it doesn't. Different species will have different degree of movement but 48" of crossgrain lumber of any species is well beyond what any woodworker would even hope is stable. That is why ancient builders invented frame and panel construction and why nearly all modern solid wood doors are frame and panel.
    Tom L

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Alex, would you be able to tell us how many manhours it took to veneer-laminate the deck?
    Very hard to say. I wasn't keeping track. Best guess, just for the deck surface construction? 4hr/layer to fit and cut the veneers (less than half a day); + an hour/layer for glue-up (had to work *very* fast, using resorcinol) with three of us, so 3 man-hours; + 4hrs/layer clean-up and prep for the next layer (again, less than half a day); + head-scratching time. Call it 12hrs per layer at a basic level, + fudge = call it 50hrs, pessimisitically, for easy math. That's not counting lots of cure time.

    To get that number I'm remembering how it took me a very casually-paced day to strip the vacuum bag, clean up the previous layer, and prep the next layer. I had dragooned my sister and wife into assisting with the glue-ups, and we'd start mixing glue at about 05:30 the next morning, when it was cool, and be done and drinking coffee by 07:30, including clean-up and back-slapping --we had to be, because resorcinol kicks fast once it hits the wood, and we were working during the hottest summer on record in WA.

    It probably took less time than that, since there were only three glue-ups: the first layer wasn't glued to anything, and didn't need any clean-up prior to Layer #2. However, I made a couple novice errors that needed correcting, so... Call it 50 hours.

    It probably took longer than had I been laying down a couple layers of plywood, laminating them together, but at the time it wasn't onerous. Of course onto that 50 hours then needs to be added all the stuff I would have had to do even if it were a plywood deck: fairing the final surface, shaping around edges and cockpit/cabin, fastening it down, etc., and then the process of canvassing it.

    Sorry I can't be more precise.

    Alex

    ETA: I was using 6"-8" strakes of 1/8" sapele veneer.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Actually it doesn't. Different species will have different degree of movement but 48" of crossgrain lumber of any species is well beyond what any woodworker would even hope is stable. That is why ancient builders invented frame and panel construction and why nearly all modern solid wood doors are frame and panel.
    Tom,
    The construction you mention are not lamination's. They don't deal with expansion and contraction the same way. A lamination is not subject the same degree of expansion contraction unless the sealing envelop, particularly the end-grain is compromised. I've used just about every method of wood construction. I think your first post to me was pretty shabby. This is my last boat project.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Alex, thanks for the info - it is pretty much in line with my 'mental math' estimate. Always good to get more data to add to the 'library of useless information', as my wife refers to my office info stash.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    Tom,
    The construction you mention are not lamination's. They don't deal with expansion and contraction the same way. A lamination is not subject the same degree of expansion contraction unless the sealing envelop, particularly the end-grain is compromised. I've used just about every method of wood construction. I think your first post to me was pretty shabby. This is my last boat project.
    Navydog, I meant no disrespect but everything I said can be supported by common practice as well as technical references. This as all forums often get confused because of references to posts other that the reader may be referencing. Facts are facts and I have offered nothing that is not a provable and accepted fact. As Michael also noted to you, some of your posts are offering information that is just wrong.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Alex, thanks for the info - it is pretty much in line with my 'mental math' estimate. Always good to get more data to add to the 'library of useless information', as my wife refers to my office info stash.
    Happy to help. Sorry I couldn't give you anything more precise.

    I expect the job could have gone a lot faster, but it was my boat and my time and my cortisol levels so... Why rush? If I were to do it a second time, of course it would go faster even working at a relaxed pace.

    I know just the stash of info you're referring to. My wife used to refer to it as my "fount of keen and useless information." Absolutely invaluable.

    Alex

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Alex, I wouldn't have expected any more precision, nor speed, from you. That is the point of amateur boat construction - no time clock, no record-keeping. I hope the deck and cabin roof give you decades of worry-free dryness.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    My comments are not meant to seem like a lecture but rather to encourage individuals to do their homework prior to posting comments that are wrong and may mislead those less informed.
    Well said, Tom! I was reading this thread and feeling my blood pressure going up. I think a lot of BS is starting to creep into the WFB from that FaceBook "WoodenBoat Forum" page. (No relation to WoodenBoat.) That site is full of people who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground giving bad advice. It gets old pretty quick. Oh, yeah, and they'll argue with you all day long and still know nothing. If it keeps showing up here, it will be the death of this forum, I fear. Perhaps they've worn a lot of us old timers down, but it seems like nobody's telling them to shut up until they know what they are talking about and truly have something to contribute.

    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 03-02-2018 at 07:14 PM.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Navydog, I meant no disrespect but everything I said can be supported by common practice as well as technical references. This as all forums often get confused because of references to posts other that the reader may be referencing. Facts are facts and I have offered nothing that is not a provable and accepted fact. As Michael also noted to you, some of your posts are offering information that is just wrong.
    The fact us you have compared entirely different uses and construction methods and compare them as if they were the same. Go find exactly what is discussed in your technical manual and quote where I'm wrong.

    The fact is a laminated panel constructed from 3 or 4 layers protected from hygroscopic action won't expand anymore than a wooden lamination constructed from 7 layers. The density would be quite different, but you flubbed that majorly.
    I don't see that you have the understanding or chops to denigrate me. What qualifications do you have to address the subject?

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I can't see how a boat built for Jr racing has much to do with cruising boats I referred to in my comments.
    Most JOG boats in 1964 were racer-cruisers. "Junior" refers to the size of the boats, not the age of the skippers.

    https://www.jog.org.uk/

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by Small boats rock View Post
    I have used lots of 'marine' ply in repairs and new boats including my current build... but the ply on the market now in no way resembles the ply of 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. Number of veneers are few, face veneers are paper thin, voids and overlaps abound. Today I cut into a sheet which turned out to have a few square feet of failed glue right in the middle of the sheet... if I was a bit disillusioned before... I am completely over it now.

    So now I'm dreaming of a ply free world. Is it realistic to build without ply? How could, for example, a watertight bulkhead be built from real wood (or at least not ply) without the job becoming an epic project?
    IF you wish, solid planks with half laps is a piece of cake to do and very stable as long as your planks stays around 3 to 3 1/2" inches wide. Quarter sawn lumber is the choice wood for me. But you can create quarter sawn lumber for wider flat sawn by ripping it. I also use quality poly caulk for the glue up in the laps. I use 1/2" half laps myself.

    We build transoms this way. And when I use two inch thick stock, I will predrill the planks and then use 1/4" althread across the unit entire unit. Mark you planks in the dry fit stage across the grain with a sharpie on the faces and then drill them. But you can also use hardwood dowels across the grain. I have not had any problems with this method with movement, even using Juniper for my wood. If you desire to skin the surface for a good finish paint, then just glue up 3 mm plywood on the faces. This way you know what you have in your solid core, with the skin just being for your finish work.

    But be careful what you read on the internet though. There could be some radical stuff you know.
    Happy trails to you.

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    John one boat built to racing rules does not qualify as most cruising boats. Go through all the cruising boat designs over 24' and let us know the percentage with water tight bulkheads.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    If navydog wishes to persist in making unrelated statements and wrong statements, I will just stop my inputs. Life is too short to engage in such useless patter. I don't feel the need to justify myself as many here will know my experience and reluctance to post comments unless I know whereof I speak.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Actually it doesn't. Different species will have different degree of movement but 48" of crossgrain lumber of any species is well beyond what any woodworker would even hope is stable. That is why ancient builders invented frame and panel construction and why nearly all modern solid wood doors are frame and panel.
    Tom's post is as good a segue as any on this aspect of panel making to indicate the subject of this response. Tom also declined to lecture, which is what an adequate explanation requires, along with the homework to back it up.

    The overall size of the panel is not important. It is the constraint of movement in the thin layers that makes plywood work. Plywood is composed of several thin layers of wood laminated at right angles to one another. Moisture expansion is very different at 0 and 90 grain directions, and in thick layers of wood it builds up a lot of strain, which if restricted builds up a lot of stress. If the layers were too thick, the stresses would fail the glue lines.

    If you build up a panel using veneer, you have labor intensive plywood. Double diagonal or multi diagonal construction seems to work with 3/8" (9mm) layers. Thread: Talk to me about double planking If you glue up inch thick layers, you have a problem (Post #5 Ashcroft double planking). This is one of Ian's comments:
    In the dark days before WoodenBoat Magazine, John Gardner wrote a review in National Fisherman. Seems someone had built on boat, a St Pierre dory, using an epoxy adapted Ashcroft system and then wrote a book about it. The problem was the size of the sticks - 1x1 if memory serves - was a problem given how the boat was put together as moisture intrusion could cause stresses and in essence make the boat explode.
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    [QUOTE=MN Dave;5495295]

    "The overall size of the panel is not important. It is the constraint of movement in the thin layers that makes plywood work. Plywood is composed of several thin layers of wood laminated at right angles to one another. Moisture expansion is very different at 0 and 90 grain directions, and in thick layers of wood it builds up a lot of strain, which if restricted builds up a lot of stress. If the layers were too thick, the stresses would fail the glue lines."


    In other words one must incorporate enough glued surface to resist the stress, therefore the more layers per thickness the better.

    There is probably a simple formula that will express or determine the amount of glued surface required for a given thickness.

    This works for laminated curved pieces too, the more layers the less spring back there will be.

    The formula would need to accommodate vertical vs. flat grain as well.

    BS 1088 specifies thin veneers and therefore more glued surface, someone has quantified this phenomena.

    I'll speculate that in order to construct an adequate and durable watertight plywood bulkhead the ply must be fabricated from at least 5 layers, none of them to be more than 1/8" thick, regardless of grain orientation, and that to do so with all VG veneers one could use 3/16" max, and I'll go so far as to call that "Gibby's rule of thumb".

    Another possibility would be to further protect the panel by laying cloth between the layers. I won't suggest a formula for that, but I expect that by doing that one could get away with running all of the grain in the same direction. I've done that and found the finished product to be very stiff.
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 03-03-2018 at 02:56 AM.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Some great discussion here. It seems ply should be considered for some applications and the super expensive price tag on decent ply is probably worth it. The laminated deck certainly captures my interest. I like the idea of knowing for sure how it has been put together as opposed to ply which to some extent must come down to blind faith. Best of all I've learnt a new expression, still wiping away the tears of laughter... 'Not knowing their arse from a hole in the ground' (credit to Bob). I definitely need to find occasions to use that one. Thanks to everyone being so generous contributing here.

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    I can't take you guys seriously, You haven't put all the pieces of the puzzle together correctly. Plywood cut from rotary sliced veneers has a total tangential shrinkage potential of 2" or more. Thin veneers are required to control that amount of shrinkage in very wide pieces. The construction I suggested of individual pieces applies tangential shrinkage movement to each piece and is limited to .12" per piece using 3" parts. Because the properties of wood include a modulus of elasticity the individual parts will withstand that degree of shrinkage. Additionally thicker wood gains strength and resists deformation. The added glue line increases the strength just like any other construction methodology. In order to create an air tight water proof bulkhead complete encapsulation is required. With encapsulation the wooden bulkhead would reach an equilibrium moisture content and be 100% stable.
    Last edited by navydog; 03-03-2018 at 08:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    In the dark days before WoodenBoat Magazine, John Gardner wrote a review in National Fisherman. Seems someone had built on boat, a St Pierre dory, using an epoxy adapted Ashcroft system and then wrote a book about it. The problem was the size of the sticks - 1x1 if memory serves - was a problem given how the boat was put together as moisture intrusion could cause stresses and in essence make the boat explode.
    That's not exactly true, or so says me. Well the problem may be the epoxy, if anything. This boat is still going strong after a decade of service. Its flex caulk glued splines. The folks around here laughed their arsses off too, including some participants here. Its still creating smiles, as far as I know.

    PA170012.JPG.

    If you look closely, you should be able to see the white splines in the round stern. It works. The caulk was Bostic 920
    round stern transom planked.jpg
    Last edited by erster; 03-03-2018 at 08:56 AM.
    Happy trails to you.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    +1 on the above. Untold thousands of boats were built with 1"x1" stock edge nailed. None of them "exploded". The strip built boats I worked on had issues from water intrusion induced decay just like any wooden boat. I imagine Bruce is laughing about strip plank boats exploding.
    Last edited by navydog; 03-03-2018 at 09:22 AM.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Mike received high marks for finding a new use for old popsicle sticks. I know it worked OK because I sailed on it and did not drown.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Most of you know that the main reason I shy away from the use of plywood is that I am very allergic to the various chemicals and glues used in the manufacturing it . Getting near a fresh stack of plywood in a lumber yard, always, sends me into a coughing and wheezing fit! I even break out in hives if I sand or mill plywood stock! So, I can honestly say that I prefer to avoid its use! However, I do have had a great amount of interest in many of the comments posted here. Some are very astute such as those by Ian and Navy Dog on the fact that ply wood veneers are rotary cut just like unrolling a window shade. The wood veneers are rolled out of logs that have been soaked in a tension relaxing solution. It must be a very strong solution as it can cause a tremendous stink if one is down wind of the soaking ponds! The resulting veneers are laid out flat and made up in to panels that are cooked under both heat and pressure. However this still places one side of the veneers in compression and the opposite into retention. This is not a great amount of force but it is still there and is one of the factors that contribute to the delamination of of the material after the cross grain layers have had enough time to expand and contract with changes in humidity.

    Plywood would be better off being made of slab cuts of veneer that are laid in the same manner as double planking is made up. This is the manner in which some laminated wood panels are made in Europe a process that, in truth, creates a panel that is not attempting to tear itself apart by the action of the forces of the opposing grain structure. This manner of lay up creates a much more stable form than does cross grain lamination. As a matter of fact, both Larry Pardey and I have always made up bulkheads of three layers of wood that are laid up with overlapping butt joints. This forms a panel that is usually close to a bit more than three quarters of an inch in thickness. My own wood preference is that of VG Western Red Cedar as it is very light and yet, transversely strong when laid up in triplicate. Here it is the compression resistance of the long grain that produces the needed strength. I often use a bead and groove joinery pattern which adds a bit of visual appeal when capped with varnished mahogany trim. This form of bulkhead construction is lighter than normal plywood paneling as well! In truth, I prefer to work with easy to handle light Cedar planks than a large awkward plywood panel! Western Red Cedar is very high on the rot resistance scale. Red Cedar was the wood of choice for the construction of bulkheads by Nathanial Herreshoff. His son L Francis also followed suit with the choice of Red Cedar for bulkhead constrution as well. Granted, one can purchase light plywood such as Okome but, Okome is low in rot resistance and very very expensive! Douglas Fir plywood is close to the weight of white oak per square inch and also is very expensive if high grade stock is used. Replacing a rotten plywood bulkhead can be a very difficult and expensive challenge to ones creative thinking as to how to replace it with the least amount of damage to the rest of the joinery!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 03-03-2018 at 03:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Jay,
    Great choice of lumber for your bulkheads. I didn't use much of it myself. Most of the western red cedar on the east coast was going into siding and fencing rather than boats. I always thought it was a bit stiff and lacked the flexibility for carvel planking. But I never actually tried it for that purpose. Use in panels would he excellent.

    Have you used high grade veneers laminated to the cedar strickly decorative purposes. I'm thinking the cedar would be a great base for ribbon stripe mahogany.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Mike received high marks for finding a new use for old popsicle sticks. I know it worked OK because I sailed on it and did not drown.
    LOL< And red cedar popsicle sticks are pretty rare too.
    Happy trails to you.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I can't take you guys seriously, You haven't put all the pieces of the puzzle together correctly. Plywood cut from rotary sliced veneers has a total tangential shrinkage potential of 2" or more. Thin veneers are required to control that amount of shrinkage in very wide pieces. The construction I suggested of individual pieces applies tangential shrinkage movement to each piece and is limited to .12" per piece using 3" parts. Because the properties of wood include a modulus of elasticity the individual parts will withstand that degree of shrinkage. Additionally thicker wood gains strength and resists deformation. The added glue line increases the strength just like any other construction methodology. In order to create an air tight water proof bulkhead complete encapsulation is required. With encapsulation the wooden bulkhead would reach an equilibrium moisture content and be 100% stable.
    Oh dear, we really do need the lecture.

    I am puzzled by your response. You need to remember how anisotropic wood is. The shrinkage, MOE and MOR are very different in the grain and cross grain directions. According to
    EDIT: <wrong link deleted>Wood Handbook, Chapter 04: Moisture Relations and Physical Properties of Wood View PDF
    Longitudinal shrinkage of wood (shrinkage parallel to the grain) is generally quite small. Average values for shrinkage from green to ovendry are between 0.1% and 0.2% for most species of wood.
    The shrinkage of lodgepole pine is Radial: 4.3%, Tangential: 6.7% according to the wood database.

    Now we need to read the next chapeter of https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/f...chapter_05.pdf
    Table 5–1. Elastic ratios for various species at
    approximately 12% moisture content
    Lodgepole
    ET/EL ER/EL
    0.068 0.102
    ET is the tangential MOE and EL is the more familiar MOE in the longitudinal direction. The difference is between 10 and 14:1. Same thing for MOR, huge difference.
    The puzzling things are:
    1) How to deal with the difference between 6.7 and 0.2% shrinkage.
    2) How to deal with the MOE and MOR differences
    Overall size isn't as much of a problem as the ratio. Once the ratio of size to layer thickness is more than maybe 5:1, could be a little more or less, meh. The much stiffer and stronger direction can constrain the weaker direction if the thickness is not too great. maybe easier to think of wood bonded to aluminum, or not. This is too long already.
    Edit: http://www.woodfloorsonline.com/tech...roperties.html
    The logs are then placed in huge vats filled with hot water and live steam and literally cooked for at least 24 hours. After removal from the vat, the full length tree is cut into bolts of varying lengths determined by the characteristics of the log and the mill's need for backs and faces or cores. The bolt is positioned in a large lathe and turned at high speed against a sharp blade that literally unrolls the log just as a roll of toilet tissue unrolls. The cooking of the log turns the fibers into (almost) a wet box of Kleenex, making this peeling operation possible.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 03-04-2018 at 04:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Seems like the density of some of the posters on this thread are the greatest issue.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    Seems like the density of some of the posters on this thread are the greatest issue.
    Is this really necessary? If you do not agree with anyone, then provide your own reply on the topic and or just ignore the replies. There are so many variables with wood and methods of building with a combination of materials, its next to impossible to say that there is one absolute correct answer here. I just say what works for me and move along.
    Happy trails to you.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Are we in T/M/T/P or The Bilge?

    Alex

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    Are we in T/M/T/P or The Bilge?

    Alex
    Yea. i wanted to participate here to try to clear up some questions, but now I'm afraid I need to take sides and be accused of stirring the pot!
    The tone is decidedly chippy.
    Too bad, really.

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    Default Re: Can real wood replace ply?

    There is still plenty of good ply available though the local market has gone through some undesirable changes from a BB perspective recently. In particular I can no longer get doorskins with waterproof glue or underlayment with 0 aligned top layers. Supply issues tend to be local. We have incredible quality and price on 1/2 ply, and then if push comes to shove there is great quality in marine panels, though I tend to avoid those. For bulkheads depending on the section, I tend to prefer cored ply products made in the shop. Just vac bag some ply over balsa. A lot of this is local, other people have no problem getting products that we lost 20 years ago.

    Strip planking, glassed, can be an excellent substitute for ply, for one thing it can be a lot stronger in certain applications. for instance in making beams, stips allow better fiber alignment. I wouldn't tend to see that advantage in bulkheads though.

    I haven't fallen yet, but I do find myself thinking more and more of corecell, now that I am increasingly making UL skiffs. A lot of that is efficiency of construction as one can get very efficient wood structures for what I want, but the amount of work required to get them with all the micro stiffeners is ridiculous.

    There is the game of maximizing conventional construction or plywood, both of which are interesting in themselves. Not though to be confused with actual need, as there is normally plenty of anything you want in this world.

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