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Thread: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

  1. #1
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    Default Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    One of the things keeping me from starting a project today is sourcing materials. I'm in upstate SC, pretty far from any boat building activity. My attempts to find marine plywood have turned up anything within a day's drive, but perhaps I'm not looking in the right places. Shipping from places like Harbor in Maryland are as much as the plywood is. I can barely afford marine ply as it is without doubling the price of it with shipping. Oddly enough, there is a local place with birch plywood that is allegedly exterior glue. It is very reasonable; cheaper than ordinary plywood at a big box store. I know birch is prone to rot, but the boat I'm going to build will live indoors when not in use, so that's a non-issue. The entire boat will be treated with epoxy inside and out, but not sheathed in fiberglass. Still, I'd hate spend hundreds of hours crafting a lapstrake hull only to have it delaminate on me! Species of wood doesn't matter to me, as it will be painted inside and out, with maybe bright trim and thwarts only.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Be wary of "exterior" glue. I was using exterior plywood on a project and had a small piece lying flat on my bench. My wife set a cold can of coke on it and the condensation from the can softened the glue and delaminated the plies. It was big box plywood; perhaps a quality supplier would use better glue.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    I went in with another person, I think by posting on this forum, and we got an order together for Harbor big enough to be delivered to Atlanta with no shipping charge. This was in 2005. I ran out and had to get a couple of sheets here in Atlanta. Check the lumber stores here .
    Last edited by Bill Perkins; 01-15-2022 at 03:36 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    This place in Charlotte says they stock Okoume -- it's under "commercial" so not sure what that means (you're starting a boat building business right?), but you could give them a call.

    https://dixieply.com/products/commer...ywood-products

    Also, if you are going to ship -- I've always gotten it delivered locally (they are close to me), but the prices from Boulter (https://www.boulterplywood.com/), which delivers nationwide, seems cheaper than what you were getting quoted. I'm not sure how many sheets can go in a "package", but assuming it's enough for what you need, $60 doesn't seem much for shipping. Might be worth giving them a call and seeing what they say -- their prices also seem to be a lower than many places sometimes, which may counteract the shipping.
    Daniel

    Building a Campion Apple 16.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    World Panel in Windsor NC
    Cheers
    Kent and Skipper
    Small Boat Restoration blog

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    I believe the $60 from Boulter is the cost to have it packaged, and doesn't include the actual shipping. I'll check with them, though. From what I hear, shipping on everything has gone up dramatically in the last year or so. I could check with Dixie on that Okume, but it doesn't specify marine.

    World Panel looks like a possibility, although it's a long haul from me. It is on the way to a friend's place on the VA east shore, so we could make a mini-vacation out of it, and pick it up on the way home. Anyone ever haul full sheets of plywood on a roof rack of a small SUV? I have a decent set of racks for our RAV4. They're sturdy enough; I worry more about the aerodynamics.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    I have a decent set of racks for our RAV4. They're sturdy enough; I worry more about the aerodynamics.
    How far apart are your racks? I've hauled sheet goods for short drives, taking care to ensure stuff's no more than 1/3 ahead of the front rack, and that I've added 1x4 sleepers full length on top and bottom along the long edges. Small c-clamps at the ends onto the sleepers and mid-edge at the front, then ratchet straps to secure the package has worked well. One 4x8 6mm okoume's ~ 25 lbs so be mindful of the max. cap. of your rack system.

    Seems to be some outfits in Charleston but I'd hesitate driving 200 miles with 200# of plywood on my racks. Any chance you might borrow a trailer, or a friend's full-bedded pick-up?

    Check with CLC in Annapolis MD if you're unacquainted with 'em. They'll sell and ship marine ply (6mm BS1088 okoume @ $98 / 4x8 right now) from their stock, may have an arrangement with their expediter that could save you some $$$.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    If you are going to the VA Eastern Shore, there used to be a place in Willis Wharf that did CNC routing for Chesapeake Marine Designs. IDK if they are still there, or if they sell plywood retail. Waltwood on this forum might know.

    If you are going that far, it's not much further to Harbor Sales, and only a bit more to CLC. Harbor's prices are better, and I have been pleased with their Compensati Toro okume ply from Italy.

    Oh, and Dude, you really need a truck. Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel with plywood on the roof makes me think of an airborne RAV4.
    "George Washington as a boy
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Mush Creek, I will just add a few things here (I have no information about availability / pricing of marine plywood) . I work in a 'big- box' store, just south of Charlotte . It is heart-stoppingly scary how some folks load, and (fail to) tie down the items loaded on the vehicles.
    Further, I drive a 2010 Rav4, so am familiar with loading stuff inside and on top - bear in mind that stuff loaded on top will greatly raise the center-of-gravity, and affect stability in turns at speed. I have seen mattresses loaded on cartop, which, if not tied properly fore-and-aft, can lift to form a 'speed brake' as the car reaches highway speeds - thin plywood would do the same. The clamping recommendation posted earlier is a valid one. And, last, I think Forum member Ben2go may be up in your area - he was posting here as recently as November. Good luck with your project.


    Rick
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    The Hardwood Store in Gibsonville, NC stocks marine ply from World Panel. I've used their okoume 1088 for my yawl and found it to be quality stuff. It's still a bit of a drive for you, but closer than Windsor, NC,

    Here's a link.
    - Anything you can't have fun with is not worth taking seriously.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    We endorse all of the tips for carrying ply on a rooftop, and have some nice Sherpak Quick Loops that make good tiedown points. Now is the time to check under you car to see if there are any tiedown points available, surpisingly many cars nowadays have aerodynamic cladding and no good spots to tie off.

    SeattleSportsStraps201aweb-1200x900.jpg

    SeattleSportsStraps013Ecropweb-2048x1508.jpg

    We also like to use a small boat trailer and tie loads to the bunks, or a 5 x 10 utility trailer. The plywood needs to be strapped down lengthwise or else it will lift, or place some 2x4s crosswise. UHaul may have a small utility trailer to rent.
    Cheers
    Kent and Skipper
    Small Boat Restoration blog

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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    I have a pick-up, but at 12 MPG I'd rather not go too far. That, and there's no place for luggage if we tried to combine a vacation with a plywood run. Charlotte wouldn't be a problem, though. I can tow a trailer behind the RAV4, and it has a hitch. I've heard rumor that there is a wholesale plywood place here in Greenville that carries marine ply, and they may be willing to do cash sales if ordered in advance. I could give them a call to see. Gibsonville wouldn't be too bad for a day trip.

    Meanwhile, I'm going to buy a piece of that cheap birch ply from the local place to use for molds, and I'll take some pieces of it and perform torture tests to see what it can and can't handle.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Cut a 4” square of that birch ply & boil it for awhile, maybe add a scrap of marine ply if you have a piece at least 2" square.

    If it survives an hour w/o delaminating it’s likely good stuff. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BS_1088 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDIZn2cU-7o

    If not it’s likely fine for patterns & removable frames, particularly if it’s veneer ply w/ all the laminations of equal thickness. Some birch will have thin veneer on the faces but thicker stuff - maybe even softwood veneer - in the core layers underneath. That makes for decent cabinets & shelves if you want a real wood look.

    Earlier threads here and here make for interesting reading about this stuff.
    Last edited by sp_clark; 01-16-2022 at 01:43 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Good idea on calling around local. We got our plywood from a trim and cabinet maker, he would add our marine ply to his hardwood order and we'd help cut the cost of his shipping. He had some nice white oak and mahogany as well, and when his trim business was slow we'd have him make rudders and daggerboards for our Sunfish. He also cut stringers on his industrial machines from cypress I brought in for our Penobscot, I would have ended up with a lot of miscuts using my tiny table saw.

    Any idea what you're building yet?
    Cheers
    Kent and Skipper
    Small Boat Restoration blog

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Probably a Peregrine 18.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    berlin myers lumber in charleston has it. Have you considered milling cypress into strips?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    Probably a Peregrine 18.

    Nice choice!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    I have considered strip planking, and had planned to do so, but I'm having the same problem of finding materials. Anything reasonably clear is both hard to find and crazy expensive. I have a set of cove and bead cutters to make 3/8" strip planking, which was my original plan. All of the cypress places I called have 'lumber', and it has plenty of knots. The one place I found with clear cypress would have made it cheaper to laminate the hull out of $20 bills. Same for clear cedar. I know I'd have to scarf planks anyway, but I'd rather not have a scarf joint every 16"! By the time you add in the necessary fiberglass and epoxy for a strip built, the plywood lapstrake starts looking like a bargain.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    As far as hauling plywood goes, you shouldn't have a problem on the top of the RAV. The key is stability in the airflow. I've carried several loads of 3MM and 4MM ply on a Jeep Cherokee with no problems. All loads were sourced from a yard 50 miles away requiring highway travel, including the windy Tappan Zee bridge over the Hudson.

    Get 3 or 4 cheap bridging strips and a couple of furring strips and maybe a c clamp or two. Take a drill with you along with some longer wood screws. When you get to the yard put the bridging strips equidistant from each other on the racks. Load up the plywood on top of the bridging. Sandwich the front edge of the ply stack with the furring strips and drill through the whole stack in a few places and screw it together and through the bridging. Do the same in the back. The likelihood of putting a hole in the ply where it will be later seen is nil. Either leave the screw heads proud or put on the clamps. Use the screws or the clamps to attach FRONT straps. I'm sure I'm pointing out the obvious but this is very important. How many times have you seen a mattress taco on a top of car because of no front straps? Strap the package down to the racks and you're good to go.

    Also, don't cheap out on the ply. Buy the best and cry only once.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    I figured it would be better to have less plywood sticking out in front. Mount it pretty far back so most of it is behind the tie-downs.

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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    I figured it would be better to have less plywood sticking out in front. Mount it pretty far back so most of it is behind the tie-downs.
    Indeed, but the important aspect is to make sure that the wind-stream does not move or flex the front of the ply. You don't want the wind to get any kind of purchase or bad things will start to happen rapidly.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Yeah, clamping the edges together with stiffeners would be key to keeping air from getting between the sheets. I'm going to start calling around today to see what's available, what it costs, and what the shipping would cost. Most local business have been disrupted by snow and ice this week.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    I have considered strip planking, and had planned to do so, but I'm having the same problem of finding materials. Anything reasonably clear is both hard to find and crazy expensive. I have a set of cove and bead cutters to make 3/8" strip planking, which was my original plan. All of the cypress places I called have 'lumber', and it has plenty of knots. The one place I found with clear cypress would have made it cheaper to laminate the hull out of $20 bills. Same for clear cedar. I know I'd have to scarf planks anyway, but I'd rather not have a scarf joint every 16"! By the time you add in the necessary fiberglass and epoxy for a strip built, the plywood lapstrake starts looking like a bargain.
    I recently bought some cypress from a sawmill near walterboro, sc @ $3.00/bf. 2x12’s clear tight grain, great quality.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Was it advertised as clear, or did you get lucky? Even if I build plywood lapstrake, I'm going to need solid wood for gunwales, seats, braces, etc. Cypress would be nice. Have you got a name or number for the place in Walterboro?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    I spoke to Jared at World Panel in Windsor today about some wood that we may need, they sell a selection of hardwoods as well. And their shipping cost would probably be in the $150-200 range to get it up to us in Norfolk.
    Cheers
    Kent and Skipper
    Small Boat Restoration blog

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    Was it advertised as clear, or did you get lucky? Even if I build plywood lapstrake, I'm going to need solid wood for gunwales, seats, braces, etc. Cypress would be nice. Have you got a name or number for the place in Walterboro?
    It’s ungraded rough sawmill lumber. I have purchased several times from them and have been pleased with the quality.
    803-747-0900. Speak to Johnathan or Michael. If you don’t know where the place is you will never find it. The sawmill is ~2 miles down a dirt road off a county road. Decent size operation.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Great- thanks for the info! I'm going to build a timber carport soon, and need 6X6's. I imagine they can do that stuff as well.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    Great- thanks for the info! I'm going to build a timber carport soon, and need 6X6's. I imagine they can do that stuff as well.
    Yes they have timbers for carports, pole barns etc. as well as dimensional lumber.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    The Hardwood Store in Gibsonville, NC seems to have a good selection and prices. I found out that I can rent a light aluminum trailer from Tractor Supply for only $23/day. The drive is 3-1/2 hours each way, but Tractor Supply only rents the trailer for 8 hours. I asked them what happens if I'm late, but the store is still open. They couldn't come up with an answer to that one. Another half-day rental ($14)? Another whole day rental? No one seemed to know. With 7 hours road time, plus loading and unloading, 8 hours would be very tight. They're going to have to give me a firm answer before I head out. Even at two days' rental, it's a lot cheaper than having it shipped.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    They're going to have to give me a firm answer before I head out. Even at two days' rental, it's a lot cheaper than having it shipped.
    Probably the most practical choice there. When you're not being paid for your own time the out-of-pocket expenses are more trustworthy.

    I haven't encountered many rental programs - other than rental car - that are so tight they'd hit you for a late-arrival bump unless you're more than maybe two hours late upon their next-day opening for returns. Still it's best to know up-front what their policy is if you encounter a road hazard (like having a flat on the trailer) or other mishap that's trailer-related that might make your usage longer than your basic plan.

    And check with your insurance carrier about whether a rented trailer'd be covered under your policy's liability language even if you opt for the rental damage waiver.
    We must understand that we are borrowed stardust, bound to be returned to the universe that made it.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Marine plywood in the southeast US?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    The Hardwood Store in Gibsonville, NC seems to have a good selection and prices. I found out that I can rent a light aluminum trailer from Tractor Supply for only $23/day. The drive is 3-1/2 hours each way, but Tractor Supply only rents the trailer for 8 hours. I asked them what happens if I'm late, but the store is still open. They couldn't come up with an answer to that one. Another half-day rental ($14)? Another whole day rental? No one seemed to know. With 7 hours road time, plus loading and unloading, 8 hours would be very tight. They're going to have to give me a firm answer before I head out. Even at two days' rental, it's a lot cheaper than having it shipped.
    Just a thought - I just checked their website and saw that they still do deliveries to central NC for a fee ($79). One of the cities they service is Charlotte, which is a heck of a shorter drive for you. Though you would have to work something out with them as a drop-off place. I've always found them to be great to deal with so it's worth calling to discuss. Also, you'll want to call to make sure that they have the stuff you want in stock, and if so have them set it aside.
    - Anything you can't have fun with is not worth taking seriously.

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