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Thread: Reclaimed red oak

  1. #1
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    Default Reclaimed red oak

    I have ~30 3" x 4" x 10' pieces of red oak that was reclaimed from shipping pallets that i get from my Wife's employer, and will get about the same number this year.
    Does it have any applications in boat building,I get 6-7 pallets a week and 1 or 2 are oak we use the others for firewood as wood is our fuel source for home heating.
    i have not burned the oak as it to me is too valuable to burn unless it is all I have.
    So what else is it good for ather that to build a shed to store my boat in??????

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    I wouldn't use pallet wood for anything that requires the lumber to be dimensioned. Pallet wood is of low quality and through use becomes embedded with all sorts of undesirable objects, like gravel, metal bits, fasteners,etc. You stand a very good chance of wrecking the cutting bits of planers, jointers, table saws, etc. The value of the wood is less than the value of the machinery. Also, even clean red oak is not considered a desirable wood for boatbuilding. You could maybe use it for molds but it best use is probably for firewood or some primitive construction.
    Last edited by Dusty Yevsky; 03-27-2018 at 09:25 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Those are decent sized pieces and building a shop would be a fine use for them in my view. I'd not put red oak in a boat but there are those who do so without any trouble. YMMV.
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Yes, red oak is pretty rot-prone, so I'd never use it for a marine application - except perhaps interior millwork on a very large boat... where it'll never get wet.

    And yes, recycled lumber is a challenge - in terms of avoiding junk that will ruin your blades, and potentially ruin your life thru the resulting shrapnel. But with a careful visual examination, the surface junk can be removed (gravel, etc.). And with a metal detector, most of the interior junk can be found and removed. But it's still potentially dangerous. And lots of folks manage it.

    If you safe the timber from such dangers, then you have some potentially lovely furniture or cabinet wood.

    But - if you don't want to go thru all that trouble, or take the risk, or have use for furniture/cabinet stock - red oak also makes great firewood.
    David G
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Given the sizes (length in particular) you're mentioning I'm guessing that it's banding stock for some larger flat goods? If it comes in fairly clean and a visual inspection doesn't show gravel/staples.etc. I'd feel comfortable using it in interior stuff, but noplace where it might get wet and certainly not in a structural application. Makes gorgeous tables, though! If you're not comfortable using it, send it my way

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    I used to dis like red as much as American white. Now I prefer the red to the white. Its porosity makes it ideal for use with CPES and epoxy , where white is problematic with white.
    For traditional caveman leaky ass carvel boats... not so much.
    So, re milling into strips to lam frames onto a boat or vessel ,rails, clamps, rudder, board, step and partners... Id use it , but not conventionally dry.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    UNDERSTAND TRADITIONALISTS HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR WHEN IT COMES TO RED OAK

    Any application of red oak in a boat will be met with the same blanket rejection as a 'bad idea'..

    However, it's all about the type of boat and the environment it will be used in.

    Make small boat frames/trim/ chocks, cleats, mooring bits, gaff jaws, etc. from it. As long as you keep that boat out of the weather when it's not in use, it will NOT develop rot, and last your lifetime.

    Experiment will all manor of small boat styles. Experiment with it. Steam it, laminate it (with Resorcinal glue).

    I used pallet wood for all my first small boats as a teenager and they were absolutely fine, served their purpose, and I'd do it the same again.


    WHY BAD RAP?

    Red Oak has open channels in it that allow rain water to penetrate and wake up all the naturally occurring rot spores the tree experienced as it grew.
    White Oak has closed pores, so water of any kind can't soak in. As wizbang 13 refers, diluted epoxys known as CPES can readily flow into the open channels in Red Oak. This can seal off the rot spores so they never see rain water.

    Either keep the boat out sustained exposure to fresh water, or seal up the Red Oak. Will you pay the equivalent in Red Oak and Epoxy equalling the costs of White Oak in the end? Perhaps, but your Red Oak is free.. so go for it..

    PALLET WOOD.. WATCH OUT!

    The nails and staples and gravel are obvious hazards to blades and safety.. but watch out also for poisons. Many pallets are treated with biocides to allow import/exporting pest control. Touching/burning it can be a very bad idea. You'd have to do some homework to identify the meanings behind the marks branded, or printed into treated pallets to identify what type of nasty is in them.


    THE PRACTICAL SOLUTION

    If you plan on making a traditionally built boat, where you'll need to invest thousands of hours of your blood, sweat and tears, then your labor should be respected and don't go cheap on materials. Traditionally built boats generally won't do well trailered so presumably there are kept in the water/weather where red oak doesn't do so well (read fresh water infiltration).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Lots of boats have been built of red oak. Red oak is less rot resistant than white oak. Decide what you want as an end result & go forward.

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Quote Originally Posted by eggman918 View Post
    We use propane as our heating fuel here in rural Northern Arizona and where the Wife works they discard their pallets,I get 5-7 a week that are 4' x 10' it has turned out that 1-2 are oak with 2 x 6 x 4' white oak cross boards and 3 x 4 x 10' for the long boards that are a 50/50 mix of red and white oak.
    Most pallets that we see are made of the worst, cheapest, rough cut wood around. They are not anywhere near the size of the pallets that you are talking about, so I wonder if you could give us some idea of the quality of the wood. Is it the badly checked, knotty, splintery junk that I am used to seeing, or something better? We all like pictures here.

    If it is good wood, you might consider ripping the red oak down into 1x stock, selling it on Craigslist and using the proceeds to buy more suitable stock for boats.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    I made a "white oak" wine glass(not glass if it's oak,right?) that has enough open pores to make it annoying to drink from.
    image.jpg

    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Here ars some pics the first is the 2x6's that have been run through the plane for a rough cleanup and coated with linseed oil on a potting bench I made for the wife last spring.
    the next two are the 8' and 10' as they come off the pallets disregard the ones with nails still in them the next is a closeup of a the 2x6's that were turned down to 1" Dia.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Is that stuff sapwood from the outside of the log? Kinda has the look.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    The long ones are 1/4 sawn and the rings are ~ 6"-8" radius FWIW

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Quote Originally Posted by nedL View Post
    Lots of boats have been built of red oak. Red oak is less rot resistant than white oak. Decide what you want as an end result & go forward.
    Hmmm... lots of boats? Boats of what sort? Examples??
    David G
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    My original thought was IF I could use any of this for the frames for a dory constructed similar to this one but a bit larger http://www.vintageprojects.com/boats/Row-dory-plans.pdf
    It's not necessarily to save money but that is a good thing, it's that as the Wife and i were both raised by children of the Great Depression wasting stuff is just not in our DNA.............
    But with that being said I do not want to compromise the quality or the lifespan of what I build..................That is why I asked this question in the first place, and I'm sure I will find other uses for it.
    The Wife has already mentioned raised garden beds that i could make removable covers for to increase the growing season for us here in Northern Arizona

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Garden tables and tomato stakes and raised beds, good idea.

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Hmmm... lots of boats? Boats of what sort? Examples??
    I learned that red oak is used in Nova Scotia on tancook schooners built there. I did a repair on one a few years ago and upon removal of the ceiling I found many broken frames at the turn of the bilge, which I was expecting . I thought.. ugh, here we go again with knocking out white oak steamed frames turned to mush in 40 years. My first swing with the demolition hammer made a solid ringing report. I was flabbergasted to ring NO rot in a dozen busted frames each side of a 50 yo 50 footer. They had clean breaks from planking expansion and hard sailing, but the repair was much easier , having no rot. The builder ,David Stevens, apparently was a fan of using lots of boat soup on the red oak....pine tar, turps , varnish . I became a fan as well, except of course I feel CPES is a modern version of boat soup. Anyway.. my experience with it.

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    We’ ve mostly seem the vid of the red oak sucking up the vodka. Most had the reaction that it was a bad thing, and it is IF you do not understand it or deal with it . My reaction was more like “ COOL ! This oak should epoxy really well!”

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Hmmm, .... If I remember correctly either Bluebnose or Bluenose II, the schooner Bill Of Rights, and maybe Harvey Gamage were all built of red oak. Those, along with what I have read about being a lot of working boats (Eastern Rigged draggers, lobsterboats (their frames), etc).


    I think historically a lot of boat building used materials that today people would not consider 'right' (I think some tend to be a bit artificially 'purist' today), That's not how it was...... Today people are always on that quest for 'long clear planking stock', well, the 33 ft lapstrake skiff that I have (1957, built by a long standing reputable builder) has I don't remember how many plugs that were put in knots. Some of the plugs just plain fell out while I was rebuilding her and I had to go around and make sure I caught them all before tossing her in the water. That was pretty normal when building with Jersey white cedar. Likewise, I believe a good bit of the oak in my boat is red oak (did use only white during my rebuild).
    On the Jersey shore, when building a boat for a commercial fisherman it was not unknown to have a different number of planks on the two sides of the boat ......... not a big deal if carvel, a bit more obvious in lapstrake
    I also get a bit of a laugh when people here ask about planking landing 1/8" or a 1/4" off a mold as they are planking, and if they should take the plank off and try again. I have pictures of about a 32ft lapstrake sea skiff being planked up by a highly regarded semi custom builder on the Jersey shore (built about 300 boats from 1937 to 1985) where you can see what must be a good 2 - 3 inches between the planking and one of the molds (and only 4 molds on a 32ft boat). Guys today use 4 molds on a 12 ft dinghy.
    I once read a story about a shipyard in Mass back in the early 1900's (might have been the Gamage or the Story yard). They built a good size eastern rigged dragger, the boat was a popular success in port, another captain order a sistership to be built. When the second dragger was in frame (these were 80 - 90 ft boats), the yard foreman on his way into the yard one morning thought something didn't look right so he had the guys measure up the hull. It turned out she had a foot or so more beam on one side of the boat than the other. The solution was to jack the narrow side frames out to match the wide side. That boat was always known to be able to carry a good bit more fish in her hold. .......... Things weren't always 'pure and right'

    Mind you, ... I'm not saying I would use red oak, just saying it is no stranger in a boat.
    Last edited by nedL; 03-29-2018 at 11:21 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    That oak will make excellent framing for the dory shown. If I were using the red oak I would take advantage of its porosity by soaking it in clear (zinc napthanate) Cuprinol before sealing it with paint or varnish.

    What you've shown in the photos is the best grade of any species I ever seen used for manufacturing pallets, and it's even got nice patina, something you should be able to capitalize on.

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    There is a ready market for distressed wood that people with far better artistic and marketing talents than I could tap.

    Now for some egregious thread drift and may actually lead in a useful direction, or possibly down a rabbit hole. I hate it when the red oak drinks my vodka. It not only wastes vodka, but doesn't do much for either fireproofing or preserving the wood. Better to dredge up the old borax debate and add a dollop of zinc chloride to form an insoluble salt of zinc borate. since red oak is so porous, it is easy to impregnate. The following are not necessarily the best links, but they are a starting point:
    http://www.make-stuff.com/formulas_&...ater_fire.html
    https://books.google.com/books?id=0L...timber&f=false
    http://www.cwpa.ca/downloads/publica.../manning30.pdf
    Somewhere there may be a useful link to the Gardner process from around 1875. https://books.google.com/books?id=qu...vative&f=false
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    I rather be an American than a Republican.

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post

    What you've shown in the photos is the best grade of any species I ever seen used for manufacturing pallets, and it's even got nice patina, something you should be able to capitalize on.
    That is one reason I could/would not burn it in our stove, would have been a waste and I was not ready to answer to my ancestors when I reach the Happy Hunting Grounds.
    I have used it for many things around the shop/home so far but now that I'm making plans for a wooden boat it just seemed like a logical option to consider.

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Twenty-some years ago I used red oak for rub rails. Coated em with fiberglass set in poxy. They have been delaminating/disbonding ever since.
    Mo info at http://epoxyworks.com/index.php/epoxy-with-oak/

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    [QUOTE=Gib Etheridge;5520339]That oak will make excellent framing for the dory shown. If I were using the red oak I would take advantage of its porosity by soaking it in clear (zinc napthanate) Cuprinol before sealing it with paint or varnish.

    I would soak it with CPES and hot coat it with the finish of your choice. As Wiz poihted out, the porosity lends itself perfectly for treating with a penetrating sealant and for my money CPES is as good as it gets especially if you are contemplating a varnish finish.

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Lou over at Totalboat used red oak on the last skiff he built in his youtube series. Like others have said, the idea of ideal boat wood is overstated now-a-days. Like George Buehler use to say, "I'd rather build a boat out of hemlock, if it's all I could get, and be on the water for 10 years then have no boat at all." Red oak is really strong and very beautiful. Not very good rot resistance, but so what. Do what you gotta do to waterproof it as best as possible (many ideas for that already shared) and build your boat. Don't let ideal boat wood snobbery rob you of having something to enjoy on the water.

    as far as contamination goes, to me, that's another needless worry. Last week I ran some old chestnut boards through my planer for a friend. He salvaged some beautiful 100 year old boards from his barn but they were loaded with nails, dirt and grime. We did the best we could to pull out the biggest chunks of metal but couldn't get everything. Yeah it nicked up my planer blades pretty bad but the boards still came out beautifully. So now I have to change out the blades and have the nicked ones sharpened. Tools were bought to be used, not sit in perfect condition.

    Use your pallet wood for whatever you want and enjoy this wonderful hobby of boat building and woodworking.
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Quote Originally Posted by scott2640 View Post
    Lou over at Totalboat used red oak on the last skiff he built in his youtube series. Like others have said, the idea of ideal boat wood is overstated now-a-days. Like George Buehler use to say, "I'd rather build a boat out of hemlock, if it's all I could get, and be on the water for 10 years then have no boat at all." Red oak is really strong and very beautiful. Not very good rot resistance, but so what. Do what you gotta do to waterproof it as best as possible (many ideas for that already shared) and build your boat. Don't let ideal boat wood snobbery rob you of having something to enjoy on the water.

    as far as contamination goes, to me, that's another needless worry. Last week I ran some old chestnut boards through my planer for a friend. He salvaged some beautiful 100 year old boards from his barn but they were loaded with nails, dirt and grime. We did the best we could to pull out the biggest chunks of metal but couldn't get everything. Yeah it nicked up my planer blades pretty bad but the boards still came out beautifully. So now I have to change out the blades and have the nicked ones sharpened. Tools were bought to be used, not sit in perfect condition.

    Use your pallet wood for whatever you want and enjoy this wonderful hobby of boat building and woodworking.
    I can appreciate the 'go cheap if that's what it takes, but go now' approach. It's not a bad choice, necessarily. I've taken it myself when building a Puddle Duck Racer for my 10 year old son. I figured by the time the crappy plywood I used died, he'd be on to another boat, or other interests.

    Now... as it turned out... the PDR is a hoot to sail, and it's my boat now. And I wish I'd done a better job on it, as it looks like I'll be keeping it in service to teach my 7 month old grandson to sail when he gets a bit bigger - and because of that cheap plywood I now have some rebuilding to do. I find that irksome.

    For the most part, though, I value my time too highly to invest it in a boat built with lesser materials. YMMV

    But back to the notion of choice. If using the red oak is the only way the OP is gonna get a boat built... then maybe that's a good choice. But a choice it is... and it should be an INFORMED choice. So he's getting informed some about the fact that red oak is more rot-prone. That's good. And he's getting informed some about how to ameliorate that tendency. That's also good.

    But that's only part of the info necessary to make an informed choice. No one has talked about the increased level of preventative maintenance required to keep less durable materials intact. And there are techniques and products that can help as well, but a full discussion of those would be beyond the scope of this casual forum.

    Another tidbit - I've been around boats since birth, and have been working on them professionally for decades. I also belong to two small boat groups composed mostly of hobbyists with a sprinkling of professionals. And how often have I heard someone lament that they wish they'd built with lesser-quality materials? Literally never. The converse? Many, many times. Like my story of the PDR.

    So... given the OP's neophyte status, I repeat my recommendation that he skip the red oak. Use it for other sorts of projects. It's lovely wood for furniture and such. Yes, it could and has been used for boats... but successfully used? Only by those knowledgeable enough to know precisely what they were dealing with, and how to maximize the species strengths... and compensate for the materials downsides.

    Not snobbery, I reckon - just practicality, and a longer view.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    If you wish to save money you might consider the cost of your own labor time that will be saved by using the correct materials for building your boat. This will obviate the need for doing it a second time to replace the red oak components that will surely rot. Actually it is three times over if you consider the disassembley of the rotten components and then their replacement.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Funny, people (excepting Wiz) say use white oak but avoid red oak. I won't live long enough to ever know that I'm right, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the red oak bits and pieces, entirely shaped to finished shape and dimensions then literally soaked, as in submerged and kept that way for a day or two, in clear Cuprinol would outlast untreated white oak. Cuprinol is something of a sealer itself, but sealing with varnish or paint would be even better.

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I can appreciate the 'go cheap if that's what it takes, but go now' approach. It's not a bad choice, necessarily. I've taken it myself when building a Puddle Duck Racer for my 10 year old son. I figured by the time the crappy plywood I used died, he'd be on to another boat, or other interests.

    Now... as it turned out... the PDR is a hoot to sail, and it's my boat now. And I wish I'd done a better job on it, as it looks like I'll be keeping it in service to teach my 7 month old grandson to sail when he gets a bit bigger - and because of that cheap plywood I now have some rebuilding to do. I find that irksome.

    For the most part, though, I value my time too highly to invest it in a boat built with lesser materials. YMMV

    But back to the notion of choice. If using the red oak is the only way the OP is gonna get a boat built... then maybe that's a good choice. But a choice it is... and it should be an INFORMED choice. So he's getting informed some about the fact that red oak is more rot-prone. That's good. And he's getting informed some about how to ameliorate that tendency. That's also good.

    But that's only part of the info necessary to make an informed choice. No one has talked about the increased level of preventative maintenance required to keep less durable materials intact. And there are techniques and products that can help as well, but a full discussion of those would be beyond the scope of this casual forum.

    Another tidbit - I've been around boats since birth, and have been working on them professionally for decades. I also belong to two small boat groups composed mostly of hobbyists with a sprinkling of professionals. And how often have I heard someone lament that they wish they'd built with lesser-quality materials? Literally never. The converse? Many, many times. Like my story of the PDR.

    So... given the OP's neophyte status, I repeat my recommendation that he skip the red oak. Use it for other sorts of projects. It's lovely wood for furniture and such. Yes, it could and has been used for boats... but successfully used? Only by those knowledgeable enough to know precisely what they were dealing with, and how to maximize the species strengths... and compensate for the materials downsides.

    Not snobbery, I reckon - just practicality, and a longer view.
    So what if you* never built the PDR? You would have missed out on an awful lot of enjoyment. Now that it has worn out after many times its anticipated life, you feel obliged to spend the money on materials that should last as long as the cheap stuff did last. Why gild the lily? A PDR may be a waste of high end material.

    As for regrets, I would rather regret having used the wrong material than regret missing out on all of the fun and experience gained as my boat aged faster than it might otherwise. I regretted some wood choices, but if I hadn't, I would have missed out on years of enjoyment.

    *The same basic argument is often made by lots of people here, but David's post was here now, and includes a number of good points about informed decisions. It is good advice to use the best material when you can afford. We former neophytes may have become knowledgeable enough by making the mistakes that we want to save the current neophyte from repeating, but perfect is still the enemy of good.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    Funny, people (excepting Wiz) say use white oak but avoid red oak. I won't live long enough to ever know that I'm right, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the red oak bits and pieces, entirely shaped to finished shape and dimensions then literally soaked, as in submerged and kept that way for a day or two, in clear Cuprinol would outlast untreated white oak. Cuprinol is something of a sealer itself, but sealing with varnish or paint would be even better.
    Sealing with a coating will preserve the wood until the coating is compromised. Soaking, as in impregnating the wood throughout with the right stuff seems to be the key to long term preservation. Mr. 13 may be the personification of the exception that proves the rule. I don't trust him to fail just because he does something 'wrong'. He finds the loopholes that make things work.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

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    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    So what if you* never built the PDR? You would have missed out on an awful lot of enjoyment. Now that it has worn out after many times its anticipated life, you feel obliged to spend the money on materials that should last as long as the cheap stuff did last. Why gild the lily? A PDR may be a waste of high end material.

    As for regrets, I would rather regret having used the wrong material than regret missing out on all of the fun and experience gained as my boat aged faster than it might otherwise. I regretted some wood choices, but if I hadn't, I would have missed out on years of enjoyment.

    *The same basic argument is often made by lots of people here, but David's post was here now, and includes a number of good points about informed decisions. It is good advice to use the best material when you can afford. We former neophytes may have become knowledgeable enough by making the mistakes that we want to save the current neophyte from repeating, but perfect is still the enemy of good.
    It wasn't gonna be that choice for me. It was: first choice - build it 'right' using known/proven quality materials; second choice - save a bit of money using cheap but rot-prone materials because I expected it to be a disposable boat, and being such a dead-simple build, the 'labor argument' was less relevant.

    I addressed the 'build cheap or don't build' choice in paragraph 4, sentence 2.

    Oh... and as it turns out... a PDR is NOT at all a waste of good material. Really simple, yes. So ugly it's almost cute, yes. But - with a good rig and decent foils - a very good boat. And a really excellent value.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    11,894

    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    I once did a repair on a tender that had a flat bottom that was attached to oak chines. When it was built, some one had gotten a piece of red oak by mistake, and so one chine was white oak and the other was red. At the time I did the repairs, the port chine had completely rotted out and it took a bit of conjuring to put in a new one made of white oak. Try changing your sox without taking off your shoes! By the time the job was done, it was a damn expensive repair!
    Jay

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    5,606

    Default Re: Reclaimed red oak

    " Try changing your sox without taking off your shoes! "


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