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Thread: redwood for spars

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Georgia
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    Default redwood for spars

    Just ordered plans for the CIY 16. Starting to source lumber. $400 to order sitka spruce for just the mast. I'm searching locally (Chattanooga, TN). I've found some "clear heart redwood". I think I can get enough for all the spars out of two 2"x6"x20' for $150. A couple of these pieces from the pics look pretty tight grained. Is redwood suitable?

    see on the left 2nd from bottom and the top piece

    144122282_256342239240955_7034026909724343823_o.jpg

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...code=undefined

    The mast is 17' and will carry a 105 sqft balanced lug sail. I'm just a recreational sailor and the boat will not be pushed hard.
    Last edited by dalekidd; 02-18-2021 at 10:52 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: redwood for spars

    I might rip a few of the nice pieces down into various thicknesszz and test them . Bend them, smack em against a tree...get a feel for the wood.
    No need to test for rot or bugz apparently.
    That top one on the left.

    bruce

  3. #3
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    Jan 2011
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    Norwalk CT
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    Default Re: redwood for spars

    Redwood is splintery and the splinters can raise hell and get infected while you stand there...I'd rather go to the dentist than build anything out of redwood.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: redwood for spars

    Redwood isn’t that bad to work with, at all - if seasoned or dried well- the splinter problem worsens if it ages unprotected outside. New growth Redwood - like that - has a Young’s modulus ~75% of Sitka, so more flexible for the same scantlings. Redwood is heavier than Sitka. Redwood sapwood (cream/tan) is more prone to rot than redwood heartwood (red).
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 02-18-2021 at 12:41 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    Default Re: redwood for spars

    I made some oars with redwood looms. Advice from here on the forum was that the redwood would fail first in compression, so I laminated about 1/3 of the diameter with Douglas fir on the compression side. The redwood is more flexible, so the oars turned out to have a very soft flex. They are surprisingly resistant to breaking, this is my 200 lb on the shaft:



    I found the redwood pleasant to work, very easy to plane to shape and it smells nice. Splinters did not hurt worse than any other splinters I regularly get...

    -Rick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Corvallis Oregon
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    78

    Default Re: redwood for spars

    Can you get douglas fir?
    that might be preferable to redwood for a spar.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Charleston, SC USA
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    201

    Default Re: redwood for spars

    Why aren’t you using local species? Cypress is wonderful boat building material. You can buy a lot of lumber for the price of shipping Sitka or redwood from the Left Coast.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: redwood for spars

    When "unsuitable " wood is laminated together, is takes on new strengths.
    This includes softwoods especially.
    Keels and frames made of AYC ,fer instance.
    Masts have not been made of cypress or redwood or cedar cuz the wood does not behave correctly for that...until epoxy.
    A 17 foot spar to hold a lug rig? This does not require sitka.A big advantage of a simple rig like this is the very ability to use regular materials.
    Lamming a few dirrerent species together like Rick did above is a great way to fly. I've made oars with red cedar core and yellow cedar skins..the sum of the parts is greater yadayada.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: redwood for spars

    I’ve used tons of sequoia redwood. Lots of that 2 grain per inch crud, but also a bit of “Bible leaf” wood.

    I would imagine coastal redwood and sequoia redwood would have very different properties, being as the trees are so physically different and grow in such different environments and ways.

    The latter is very tall and slender, for example, while the former are large diameter, right to the top. The General Sherman tree is the largest sequoia, and it doesn’t look very tall because it is so big around. It doesn’t flex much.

    The coastal redwoods, though, are much more slender in build and tend to wave a bit at their tops like firs or pines, having that similar conifer taper.

    I don’t know. Guessing.

    I’d use that nice stick for any part calling for softwood; just be mindful of fasteners.

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