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Thread: wood grain

  1. #1
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    Default wood grain

    Rather than hijack Pete's thread, let me post here. I'm a novice about a lot of boat building things. I'd be building the same boat he is, so I'd need 9' oars as well. These would be my first oars. I have built a birdsmouth mast. Here's the piece of lumber I found at a family owned yard back then. I believe it was spruce. Doesn't appear to be particularly tight-grained though it does appear to be straight-grained and rift-sawn. (if my untrained eye is seeing correctly)
    build91.jpg

    So here's a question about wood grain. Pete was kind enough to answer a question over on his thread about what to look for in wood for oars (or any spar I would imagine). See post #238 here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...r+islands+yawl. He bought lumber from a box store for his oars. I'm thinking I'd do the same and spend $40 vs $100+ to order a nice piece of wood. His advice was to buy 1) straight boards 2) no knots or as close to it as possible 3) straight and tight grain. From the following picture I believe I would recognize straight grain.

    Six General grains.jpg
    Tight grain would be with lines closer together I would guess. Here's a stack of 2x3's from my store. Looks like most of them are tight grained. Right?

    grain.jpg
    How much difference does the cut make as illustrated in this picture?
    75-759206_wooden-log-png-straight-on-wood-grain-cathedral.jpg
    Would center-cut be preferable. Some in the stack I saw were center-cut. Most seem mixed. How significant is the cut of the wood in choosing? Pete's appear to be riftsawn, straight-grained and rift-sawn.

    Here's Pete's
    Pete's oars.jpg
    And btw, his oars are looking very nice!!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Fairly tight grain once you get away from the heart.
    Those pieces are sawn as "boxed heart" and you should avoid that like the plague.

    (This is "tight grained" Doug Fir, maybe 30+ rings per inch)


  3. #3
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Those 2x3s are cut from the tippy tops of trees.
    You can see the waney corners on some of them.
    Sapwood shrinks more than heartwood,so lumber that contains both will be warped after drying

    I would hunt through the 2x10 or 2x12 pile.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: wood grain

    I’d guess that 2x8 in the first photo is Southern Yellow Pine, but it’s hard to tell. I doesn’t look like spruce to me. That stack of 2x3 in the following picture is something I’d stay well away from. Your 2x8 was sawn from a fairly large log, and the 2x3’s from very small logs. Further, the 2x8 was sawn from a very fast growing tree based on the wide growth rings. In general, a board with tight growth rings is going to be more stable, (ie it won’t tend to warp, bow, or twist as you cut it) than a board that has wide growth rings. Not always the case though, but it is something I keep in mind when choosing material. Further, wide growth rings like that can be hard to work with. In species like spruce, pine and fir the summer wood can be so drastically different in hardness than the spring wood (the dark “rings”) that it can be nigh impossible to sand them flat without dishing the summer wood. Sometimes even marking it with a pencil across the grain can be difficult.

    Just rough guidelines, but like Ron said, sift through the pile of larger planks, or better yet, visit a lumberyard that has actually high quality lumber that’s been kilned and graded. Framing lumber is generally pretty low grade stuff. You’ll find the odd gem, but the quality of framing lumber continues to wane.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: wood grain

    yea, that wood yer lookin at is not for oars. looks like 3 rings per inch of plantation fir.
    birdsmouth oars ???
    just use more, thinner lams, switch a few around end fer end

  6. #6
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    yea, that wood yer lookin at is not for oars. looks like 3 rings per inch of plantation fir.
    birdsmouth oars ???
    just use more, thinner lams, switch a few around end fer end
    No. Just showed that as an example of what I had purchased locally earlier.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Quote Originally Posted by dalekidd View Post
    what appears to be to be a twin fence setup here on your tablesaw increase the potential for injury
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: wood grain

    So for oars you want the grain as tight and as vertical as possible when viewed at the end of the plank. Sometimes you can pick through the stack at the lumberyard and get lucky, but usually not. What I've found myself doing is buying a board that's a few inches wider than what I need -- one side will have been cut close to the center of the trunk and the grain will curve off to the edge. But the other side will be close to vertical (at right angles to the face) and usable. If you're buying fir, the extra cost isn't that much, and the 3- or 4-inch strip that gets cut away might come in useful someday.

    I made a pair of 9-1/2 foot oars of fir as part of my last project. For short-term use standing in a heavier boat, I like them fine. But if I were making oars to be used for hours at a time, I would never use fir. It's too heavy.
    -Dave

  9. #9
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Dave,
    Your advice to use vertical grain seems counter intuitive to me. With the grain perpendicular to the face of the blade it would to be susceptible to splitting along the face. I thought grain

  10. #10
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Personally, I prefer laminations, 2-3, with opposing grain, they stay straight and have more strength.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Oars are traditionally made from flat sawn boards from what I was told at the WoodenBoat School oar making class I took this summer. Doug

  12. #12
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Quote Originally Posted by dwr9 View Post
    Oars are traditionally made from flat sawn boards from what I was told at the WoodenBoat School oar making class I took this summer. Doug
    This sent me back to the books. I can't pinpoint where I originally learned to set the grain vertical for oars and paddles, but I've always understood this to give more strength -- the blade is less likely to break. Or to look at it another way, you can shave it thinner and lighter with vertical grain. This is a different issue than the concern for splitting at the ends. I've sometimes reinforced paddle tips with a bit of fiberglass or kevlar, but even those without special treatment have not split.

    I do have one reference on hand about greenland kayak paddles. In "Building the Greenland Kayak," Chris Cunningham recommends vertical grain for the blank. But looking elsewhere on the interwebs, I find mixed mention.

    There's no question that laminating up the blank produces more strength. That's been my strategy with white pine, as a way of compensating for the inherent weakness of that wood. The results are fine -- light and strong enough for normal use.

    I searched without success to see what Pete Culler recommends in his book. I don't have a copy. Does anyone else?
    -Dave

  13. #13
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    Default Re: wood grain

    I think Dale may have died from that table saw rube goldberg fence . Mighta got impaled by some second growth hemlock that was of a twisted grain flavor

  14. #14
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    This sent me back to the books. I can't pinpoint where I originally learned to set the grain vertical for oars and paddles, but I've always understood this to give more strength -- the blade is less likely to break. Or to look at it another way, you can shave it thinner and lighter with vertical grain. This is a different issue than the concern for splitting at the ends. I've sometimes reinforced paddle tips with a bit of fiberglass or kevlar, but even those without special treatment have not split.

    I do have one reference on hand about greenland kayak paddles. In "Building the Greenland Kayak," Chris Cunningham recommends vertical grain for the blank. But looking elsewhere on the interwebs, I find mixed mention.

    There's no question that laminating up the blank produces more strength. That's been my strategy with white pine, as a way of compensating for the inherent weakness of that wood. The results are fine -- light and strong enough for normal use.

    I searched without success to see what Pete Culler recommends in his book. I don't have a copy. Does anyone else?
    I have Culler's "Boats, Oars, and Rowing" book at home. I expect he will have something to say about it. Will have to look it up when I get back.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: wood grain

    An oar blade made from flat sawn stock will want to cup. It will cup when new, and continue to the end of its life. That's the nature of the wood. Quarter sawn stock is much more stable. It won't cup. So why would that be a bad thing for an oar? Perhaps the key word here is "traditionally" as Doug used it in post 11. Maybe flat stock was normally used because it's what they had. And it's less costly to produce.

    Jeff

  16. #16
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    I think Dale may have died from that table saw rube goldberg fence . Mighta got impaled by some second growth hemlock that was of a twisted grain flavor
    Dale, a couple of people have commented on your table saw fence setup, but nobody has told you how to avoid injury.

    Ditch the 2x2 and instead use featherboards to hold your workpiece against the fence, and to prevent kickback. You can use storebought plastic ones, or make DIY out of scrap. This website shows how to make and use them:

    https://www.table-saw-guide.com/featherboard.html

    The one in the article is a bit fancy, in that it is double ended and made of oak. Any clear lumber will do. Also, the featherboard does not have to use the slots in the saw table. It can simply be held on with C-clamps.

    Stay safe!
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Do not use a featherboard or any other device on the outfeed end!

    Jeff

  18. #18
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    Default Re: wood grain

    I got home from Port Townsend and dug out my copy of Boats, Oars, and Rowing by R. D. “Pete” Culler. He has quite a lot to say about wood grain actually. I had forgotten how much knowledge is in this little book. It’s worth finding a copy although they are getting rare and expensive. But to the point, specifically about “flat” and “edge” grain as he calls it:

    ”An edge-grain blade can possibly be subject to splitting. If you use flat grain, the oar will have more spring and be less subject to splitting in the blade”. He also deals with combining different pieces of wood to get different oar properties, although he is contemptuous of “laminating”.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    I got home from Port Townsend and dug out my copy of Boats, Oars, and Rowing by R. D. “Pete” Culler. He has quite a lot to say about wood grain actually. I had forgotten how much knowledge is in this little book. It’s worth finding a copy although they are getting rare and expensive. But to the point, specifically about “flat” and “edge” grain as he calls it:

    ”An edge-grain blade can possibly be subject to splitting. If you use flat grain, the oar will have more spring and be less subject to splitting in the blade”. He also deals with combining different pieces of wood to get different oar properties, although he is contemptuous of “laminating”.
    Thanks for checking. Does he recommend reinforcing the tips in any way?
    -Dave

  20. #20
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    Default Re: wood grain

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Thanks for checking. Does he recommend reinforcing the tips in any way?
    He has an entire section on tips and reinforcement. I’ll share it when I get home from the office today.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: wood grain

    So back to Culler...In the section about oar tip protection he says that he never bothers to put tip protection on plain oars, but he adds a hardwood tip to spoons, specifically of walnut or locust with the grain running across the tip. There are fairly detailed instructions on his process but it's not all that difficult in concept. Really it's a fascinating little book though. So much information. A quick search turns up a number of reasonably-priced copies available (mine was anything but reasonable when I bought it a few years ago, but still worth it). Anyone interested in traditional rowing craft, oar making, or fixed-seat sculling should really have a copy. There is even a decent section on double paddle, decked canoes.

    https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Sea...c-_-ISBN-_-all
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

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