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Thread: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

  1. #1
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    Default Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    I'm shopping for wood to build a traditional built lapstrake canoe. There is a local source for larch in my area. I am wondering if anyone has had experience using larch for planking on this type of boat. Any suggestions on it's use for this type of boat or construction method would be helpful. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    It would be a HUGE help if you can give us links to the plans you intend to use, or at least the name of the design. How "traditional" do you want to go? Square iron nails, pine tar and animal hair in the seams? The more specific info you give us the more accurate our responses can be.

    A quick search for "larch" in this Forum indicates that it is an approved material from many modern designers, so I'll guess that it would all depend on the quality, type of milling (flat or quarter-sawn, etc) and how cured your local larch is.

    Let's see what the more experienced folks say...
    Last edited by Thorne; 05-30-2019 at 11:03 AM.
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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Larch is a recognized wood for planking boats in Europe especially in Sweden. Theirs is rated the toughest of the conifer woods that grow there. It also is considered to be highly rot resistant but not rot proof.

    Here in the U.S. Eastern Larch is a relitive small tree that does not grow much taller than seventy feet with trunks that are about two feet in diameter. It is rot resitant, hard, heavy compared to other conifers and good for planking. It has also been used for railway sleepers in the past so is an indication that it is safe for boats.

    Western Larch trees are much larger, sometimes reaching nearly two hundred feet in height. Like its Eastern counterpart, Western Larch is also hard and rot resistant. It has also been used for boat planking and railway ties. It you plan to use either Eastern or Western larch for boat planking or structural members be advised that Larch is a relatively resinous wood and may have a tendency to load build up on saw blades, router bits and can be difficult to saw, chisel and plane by hand. You may need to keep a bar of parrifyn and a can of turpentine handy to add some slide to your tools or disolve the gum before it gets away from you. Dipping a chisel in turps often makes work go easier when chopping a mortis.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote..."It has also been used for railway sleepers in the past so is an indication that it is safe for boats."

    I wish you hadn't typed that Jay. I worked in a mill in Connecticut for a while where we sawed out more railroad ties than anything else, and, since they were to be pressure treated with creosote, any hardwood species was just fine, meaning maple, beech, etc. Someone might get the wrong idea.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    I haven’t used Western Larch for lapstrake, but years ago I did get a nice load that I used to carvel plank some ‘Eel’ vessels I built years ago. I was very happy working with it as it was the closest thing to the Norwegian ‘Furu’ (pine) that I had used in Norway for both carvel and clinker vessels. It is very strong, resinous, and the only small problem I had was some ring shake that would only show up if I flexed the planed board across the grain. Otherwise it was invisible, not even any pitch in it like you find in Douglas Fir.
    Not familiar with the Eastern Larch, but the Norwegian Furu we used was just plain sawn from 20”-36” logs, they were slow growing and an absolute delight to shape small craft with.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Larch is a recognized wood for planking boats in Europe especially in Sweden. Theirs is rated the toughest of the conifer woods that grow there. It also is considered to be highly rot resistant but not rot proof.
    While there are larch trees here, it is not common. I believe that most larch wood used for boat building here comes from Siberia.
    What I've heard it's a good boat building wood, except that the planks have a tendency to split when twisted.
    This is a larch build

    /Mats

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Most of our larch is imported these days. Larch on oak used to be fairly common for a clinker boat in the U.K.

    Thatís an interesting looking boat Mats. is that a cuddy?

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    She who built it has a blog about the build here http://batbygget.blogspot.com/
    It's an Estonian model called Ruppa, at least the hull, I believe that she made the cabin from her own ideas.
    I don't know the word cuddy.

    /Mats

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsart View Post
    She who built it has a blog about the build here http://batbygget.blogspot.com/
    It's an Estonian model called Ruppa, at least the hull, I believe that she made the cabin from her own ideas.
    I don't know the word cuddy.

    /Mats
    A cuddy is a small house with seating but no other outfit providing shelter from the weather.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Larch has a real history ...
    https://www.highlandtitles.com/blog/...s-trees-larch/

    Sadly the fungal disease is decimating our larch plantations, it may well go the way of the ash and elm.
    Creationists aren't mad - they're possessed of demons.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    So far as creosote on larch for railway ties, I know larch was used on narrow gauge branch lines in Northern California. The Denver and Rio Grande used it as well as it was redily available. I don't believe they botherd to treat with creosote them back then the wood is pretty rot resistant.

    We have a larch tree growing on our property in Port Townsend. It is getting close to a hundred feet in height. Larch is easy to spot at a distance as the spike flops over at an angle. Larch is the only conifer that is diciduous as its sheds its needles in the fall. Ours looks dead in the winter but sprouts out in the spring.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 05-31-2019 at 09:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    A cuddy is a small house with seating but no other outfit providing shelter from the weather.
    Ok, thanks, I'm not sure it qualifies because the height inside is 0.5 m or so. I believe she uses it for storage and sleeping quarters when pitching a tent is impossible or inconvenient.

    /Mats

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsart View Post
    While there are larch trees here, it is not common. I believe that most larch wood used for boat building here comes from Siberia.
    What I've heard it's a good boat building wood, except that the planks have a tendency to split when twisted.
    This is a larch build

    /Mats
    Such a lovely boat. I especially like the lapstrake cabin top.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Wow, great to see so many responses so quickly. I hope the below information helps you with your input.

    The boat I plan on building is the Scherzo, an 1889 lapstrake canoe originally built by the St. Lawrence River Skiff, Canoe and Steam Launch Company in Clayton, New York. It was featured in an article by Jenny Bennett in WoodenBoat 196. A set of working lines Drawn by Geoffrey Burke also appear in the article.

    I was fortunate to meet a gentelman by the name of Dave Wirschem at the Wine Country Classic Boat Show in Hammondsport, New York last summer. Dave was displaying his replica of the Scherzo. He provided me with the strongback and molds that he made from his measurements of the original. He wrote an article on building the boat which appeared in Wooden Canoe, Issue 44, Volume 13 Number 1, 1991.

    My plan is to build the canoe in the same manner as Dave. The planks are fastened with clinched copper nails along the seams. They are secured to the stems with screws and bedded in caulk. No caulking was used along the seams. The white oak ribs are also secured to the planks with clinched copper nails. I plan on making the planks 3/16" like the original.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F View Post
    Wow, great to see so many responses so quickly. I hope the below information helps you with your input.

    The boat I plan on building is the Scherzo, an 1889 lapstrake canoe originally built by the St. Lawrence River Skiff, Canoe and Steam Launch Company in Clayton, New York. It was featured in an article by Jenny Bennett in WoodenBoat 196. A set of working lines Drawn by Geoffrey Burke also appear in the article.

    I was fortunate to meet a gentelman by the name of Dave Wirschem at the Wine Country Classic Boat Show in Hammondsport, New York last summer. Dave was displaying his replica of the Scherzo. He provided me with the strongback and molds that he made from his measurements of the original. He wrote an article on building the boat which appeared in Wooden Canoe, Issue 44, Volume 13 Number 1, 1991.

    My plan is to build the canoe in the same manner as Dave. The planks are fastened with clinched copper nails along the seams. They are secured to the stems with screws and bedded in caulk. No caulking was used along the seams. The white oak ribs are also secured to the planks with clinched copper nails. I plan on making the planks 3/16" like the original.
    Well, plan on having a sweet little boat, then.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Thanks Mats.
    what Nick said...

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Larch is the only conifer that is diciduous as its sheds its needles in the fall. Ours looks dead in the winter but sprouts out in the spring.
    Jay
    Bald cypress is also a deciduous conifer (and a nice boat building wood).

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Larch is a traditional ship building material used to make knees in ships. It is heavier than most other conifers but will be stronger than most as well.

    Larix laricina, commonly known as the tamarack,[3] hackmatack,[3] eastern larch,[3] black larch,[3] red larch,[3] or American larch

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Larch is also one of those timbers that you could, depending on quality, build an entire boat from. The slow grown stuff from the far north is wonderfull timber. Totally clear planking quality boards can be had, grown at high altitude in Germany. Larch is fast growing, it would not feel any guilt building a boat from it, i cant say the same for imported exotics from Africa and South/Central America.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Palmer View Post
    Bald cypress is also a deciduous conifer (and a nice boat building wood).
    Oops I wasn't thinking of Cypress! My brain was on Larch, Fir and Pine. Of course you are right on, Brian! AKYC is a conifer as well as Port Orford and the rest of the cedar family. Alaska Yellow Cedar is actually a member of the Cypress Family.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Another larch boat, sunnhordaland faering.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe


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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Palmer View Post
    Bald cypress is also a deciduous conifer (and a nice boat building wood).
    Not to mention dawn redwood.
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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Oops I wasn't thinking of Cypress! My brain was on Larch, Fir and Pine. Of course you are right on, Brian! AKYC is a conifer as well as Port Orford and the rest of the cedar family. Alaska Yellow Cedar is actually a member of the Cypress Family.
    Jay
    Cypress isn't a great boat wood anyway. Although it is very resistant to decay, it absorbs water like a sponge and makes for a very heavy craft. Additionally the wood isn't very stable and has a high rate of shrinkage. Any boat built with cypress needs to stay in the water. The seams will be 1/2" wide in no time if the boat is on land long.

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Still Cypress was is sometimes still used because it also resists marine boring bugs and worms for below the water line planking.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Larch planks for a clinker built lapstrak canoe

    Jay that's interesting, I've not come across that before.

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