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Hackberry For Octagonal Hollow Oars

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  • Hackberry For Octagonal Hollow Oars

    Just purchased enough Hackberry to make 6 sets of hollow octagonal oars using the birds mouth design from Joel Herzel, he was kind enough to send me his article along with pictures.

    Hackberry is an interesting wood. It grows like a noxious weed here in the mid west, birds sow the seeds everywhere. It is a shirt tail cousin to the elm family I believe I was told. It has the same twisted interlocking grain as elm, virtually impossible to split.

    It is very white almost as white as holly.

    The weight is what amazes me, it lighter than fir and pine. I don't know about spruce. For the midwest, seemed like a nice compromise.

    Should make nice oars.
    "Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth."

  • #2
    Is there anywhere to see Joel's article online? I had the article in Messing Abaout In Boats but I've misplaced it.
    Take pictures. [img]smile.gif[/img]


    • #3
      Send me an e-mail and I will forward the word doc that he sent to me. The pictures he had to send by snail mail, I can probably scan them in and send by pdf file.


      [email protected]
      "Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth."


      • #4
        Hackberry light? The Hackberry I've used is heavy as Hickory. It was used for wooden wheel spokes and hubs because of it's resistance to splitting.


        • #5
          I've been wondering about Hackberry since it appeared in a WoodWeb document I was refered to here .For those who didn't see that ,I'll scan it in .

          "Stock Selection
          The U.S. Forest Service has evaluated 25 hardwood species for relative bending quality. In their testing, the best 17 woods were:

          Hackberry (Best)
          White Oak
          Red oak
          Chestnut oak
          Black walnut
          Soft maple
          Hard maple (Worst)

          This ranking represents the results from one evaluation; variation in the results can be expected from tree to tree and site to site."


          • #6
            Bill, I have used hackberry for several different projects over the years, I is just as rough and grainey as is Elm, buy once you get it to rough shape and start sanding it, it finishes beautifully.

            "Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth."


            • #7
              Thanks, Tom. [img]smile.gif[/img]



              • #8
                A few comments - I can send the text of the article to anyone who would like it. MAIB did not post the majority of their article online. The pictures, however help a LOT. I have quite a few copies of the pictures that I will (snail) mail to anyone who sends me an address. The quality of the original photos is not very good, but when my wife gets back from out of town, maybe I'll try to scan them. She's the whiz in that department.

                Surprised to hear about hard maple being difficult to bend. I have been making some chairs lately with bent laminations. I do it cold; they are only .100" thick. Oak and maple bent fine to about a 6" radius. Honduras failed catastrophically at the beginning of the first bend. All bent over a mold with a steel strap to back them up.

                Tom, if Hackberry is both light and strong it sounds like a good candidate. I used Doug Fir, Port Orford Cedar and Sitka. As you might guess the Spruce were the stiffest and lightest.

                Joel Herzel


                • #9
                  Joel, Just brought some nice 4/4 hackberry home on friday from the mill. They finally got it out of the kiln.

                  The boards that I brought home were a nice slightly off white. Less than half the weight of a White Oak board that I bought.

                  I am going to start ripping strips for the oars out of it tomorrow and get going with them. I am in the final rough sanding stage on the Whitehall, and can only sand so long on the boat before it drives me crazy, so the oar shafts will be a nice change to work on for awhile.

                  Will probably try and flip the Whitehall next weekend when I can get some extra help from my sons or son in law.

                  "Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth."