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Thread: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

  1. #1
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    Default Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    I got John Michnes book earlier this year, and a few weeks ago I started construction on a 16' guideboat. I've got my molds made and I'm gradually laminating up all of the rib/ stem blanks. I'm still looking for wood for the bottom board, planks and oars/paddle, and I'm contemplating deviating from Mr. Michnes instructions slightly.

    I've been having a hard time locating a plank of the right dimensions for the bottom board at the local lumberyards. The next place I'm going to look is a reclaimed lumber place that tears down old houses. I've bought wood there for furniture projects before and gotten some spectacular old growth longleaf pine. When I was there last year, I saw a clear quartersawn plank that would easily produce a bottom board. Thoughts on the suitability of longleaf with regards to weight/rot resistance/workability?

    For the siding I plan to strip with cove and bead. Michne calls for western red cedar, which is hard to come by here in south Georgia. the only clear WRC I can find is stocked in the form of 8x8 posts intended for gazebos/trellises. I re-sawed one of these when I built my stripper canoe, but it was a chore and a considerable expense. I can easily get long clear pieces of Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipfera), which some sources suggest is a perfectly suitable wood for boatbuilding. A man who posts here and on the WCHA forum by the name of Charger built his guideboat in this manner and had great results. Robb White built boats for years in south Georgia using poplar. http://www.robbwhite.com/photos/index.htm Both of these give me confidence in this approach, but I'd appreciate additional input.

    Finally, if I can't source some basswood (Michnes recommended wood) at a reasonable price, what would be a good substitute for the oars and paddles?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I take it to mean you are looking for a very wide board which is almost non-existent unless you go to a custom sawyer. I'd just just join boards together to get the width desired.

    Cypress comes to mind for the deep South, poplar is okay but rots easily,

    Western red is okay you just have to use a drill for every fasteners because it cracks so easily.

    White cedar is an entirely different wood from red cedar, there are many reasons why boatbuilders love it, seek it out, and even pay a premium to get it.

    The trend with boats now, is to not leave them out in the weather so, the choice of lumber can be a secondary consideration, although weight of the vessel shouil be well considered.

    Good luck with it, take pictures along the way!
    Last edited by DeniseO30; 06-29-2019 at 08:20 PM.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    I built two boats to Michne’s book. They are wonderful and very gratifying to build and then use. I used ash for the oars. I’d guess that that old growth longleaf pine is quite a bit heavier than white pine. I’m not at all sure I’m correct. My only advice is to watch the weight. What do they say in backpacking? Watch the ounces, and the pounds will take care of themselves. Could make the difference between a 65# and an 80# boat. On my first boat I used brass strips for the shoes. On my second, white oak strips. Probably saved 10 pounds!
    Proud but humble member of the LPBC

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    My 39' ketch is framed with Long Leaf Yellow Pine, her backbone too. It is extremely durable. If weight is a concern, consider making the keel plank a bit thinner. I believe LLYP is stronger than white pine.
    Welcome aboard, good luck with your build.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    I saw a guy at the Wooden boat show that used Paulownia strips for a kayak he built - He says it is lighter than cedar.
    I made oars and paddle from Cherry. Soft maple was also used - not sure about basswood - except for the yoke.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    Lou is correct, longleaf pine can be quite a bit heavier than white pine. The keel plank is a bit less than 180 inches by 6 (average width) by one. White pine at 25 lb/cubic foot would weigh 15 lb and longleaf at 40 lb would come in at 25.
    https://www.wood-database.com/longleaf-pine/
    https://www.wood-database.com/eastern-white-pine/

    Oars were traditionally soft maple, which is harder and stiffer than basswood. Basswood is easy to carve, but otherwise similar to spruce, which is also a common choice. Spruce tends to be tougher than pine. I have no idea how tough basswood might be.
    https://www.wood-database.com/basswood/
    https://www.wood-database.com/red-maple/

    I would recommend a light weight rot resistant wood for planking. Cypress is a reasonable substitute for red cedar. Cypress soaks up a lot of water, but a guideboat isn't stored on the water, so it isn't an issue. Yellow poplar is OK, but generally not very rot resistant. Rot resistance does vary regionally for some trees, so it is possible that Rob White's experience with poplar was better than other's. Since you are in the same region, I can only guess that you might have a similar experience.
    https://www.wood-database.com/cypress/
    https://www.wood-database.com/aromatic-red-cedar/
    https://www.wood-database.com/poplar/
    Last edited by MN Dave; 06-30-2019 at 01:24 PM.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    Milne says the bottom board should be 1/2", so MN Dave's weights should be cut in half. That makes the difference more like 5 pounds.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I think I'll keep looking for some cedar for the siding before I try to substitute something else. I'll see what sort of light-ish hardwoods I can turn up for the oars. I'll keep you posted.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    If you were located in a somewhat rural area it is feasible to look for large eastern red cedars trees growing in abandoned pasture. Buy the standing timber cut it and have it sawn into fliches. No one will cut anything standing on a property line so forget about the trees you might find there. There are lots of old farms on the edge of suburbia that haven't been worked in 50 years where you will find the right size trees.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    I'd just just join boards together to get the width desired.
    Is there a recommended way to join boards edgewise to increase the width? Scarfing? Butting? Joining based on rabbets? Dowels or biscuits? Would any of these be acceptable for laminating backbone timbers? Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    Lowes in Valdosta stocks red cedar.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    Why not cypress? Rot resistant, strong, not too heavy and its a joy to work by machine or hand tools. Grows like a weed down south doesnt it?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollapete View Post
    Is there a recommended way to join boards edgewise to increase the width? Scarfing? Butting? Joining based on rabbets? Dowels or biscuits? Would any of these be acceptable for laminating backbone timbers? Thanks.
    Well my biscuit joiner and biscuits are gathering dust, haven't had an edge joint failure in over 25 years! Good old titebond or titebond 2 or 3 are stronger than the wood itself if you were to edge glue with epoxy it would also be stronger than the board. If an edge to edge joint bothers you you could use, tongue and groove, a spline, half lap, I don't know about this particular boat but will the inside be glassed?

    Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    EDIT: I just got Michne's second edition (2018) and the following isn't exactly correct: This is a stripper with internal frames and a single layer of 6oz glass on the outside only. The widest, thickest plank is the keel plank. I think it is the Grant Ghost, so 8" wide at the center.

    If there isn't a good 1x10x14 (1x8 is 7.25") #2 pine board in the pile, look for longer and wider boards to find enough clear wood between the knots. Then bite the bullet and move on to the more expensive select pine for clear stock. Poplar is not much heavier than pine or any more expensive than select pine. It can be fuzzy when you sand it though. Fuzzy under fiberglass is not a problem, but the inside between the ribs might try your patience.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 07-08-2019 at 12:31 PM.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  15. #15
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    I just read two pages of a guideboat build, I think the same one you are

    It looks he's had big problem trying to sand and finish the inside because the ribs are in place unlike a regular strip build that is popped off the forms. So I don't know if that is the build method suggested by the designer, or if it was just what that particular builder did. I do know what a PITA it is to sand between ribs!
    http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php...at-ribs.16024/

    Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  16. #16
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    And.. I have now seen the construction method they are beautiful! Wonder why I've never built one? http://www.michneboat.com/Book%20Info.htm



    Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  17. #17
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    Whoa! Traditional plank had tacks on the seams! Ck it out!

    http://www.guideboats.com/construction/

    This is the way I would build it although I see a real advantage to epoxy glue laps,.. and they were built out of pine which I hate and generally don't like!

    Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    Michne's second edition (2018) recommends not to glass the boat at all, but leaves it up to you. I have had a little more time to read it and found that my initial impression from glancing through was incorrect. (Post #14) He has built several variations, regular stripper with no ribs with glass inside and out, ribbed stripper with glass on the outside only, ribbed stripper with screws and no glass, and traditional planked. He said that you don't need fiberglass with the ribs.

    The bottom plank is 8 5/8" wide. It could be edge glued but if I didn't glass the outside I would use a spline. Biscuits might be OK, I just have no experience with them.

    https://adirondack-guide-boat.com/cedar-guideboat/ is a ribbed stripper with glass on the outside.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  19. #19
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    Biscuits are okay on interior joinery, I'd be afraid of them absorbing moisture and swelling in a boat board.

    Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Wood choice for an Adirondack Guideboat

    That link to the ribbed stripper with glass has about half as many ribs and the original way of building them.

  21. #21
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    Trying to be objective, much as I love no epoxy building. I actually see an advantage of a strip build glass encapsulated, frames added when fitting out

    But... Lapstrake is rather appealing...
    Last edited by DeniseO30; 07-08-2019 at 02:04 PM.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

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