Author Topic: What kind of wood for framing?  (Read 7189 times)

Offline larspa

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What kind of wood for framing?
« on: March 15, 2008, 04:28:32 AM »
Question -

In Renn's book he did not specify what type of wood to use for the stem and the rear framing.  Any suggestions?  How about white ash?  Here in the midwest we are limited to regular softwood framing lumber or domestic hardwoods.  In the "Gougeon Brothers West System" book they use some white ash for framing.

Answers -

"Bob the Builder":  Eastern White Ash is like White Oak mechanically but doesn't have as good rot resistance. That's OK as long as you seal it up with epoxy pretty good and make sure the any fasteners into it are sealed as well...either caulked in place as with eye-bolts used for bow eyes, or sealed under epoxy as with screws along the forward edge of the side panels or through splash rails.

I used clear vertical grain (CVG) douglas fir in 3/4" thicknesses, glued up with alternating grain directions, to produce a super straight stem for mine. Part of that was because I was in a hurry and they only sold green (wet) wood where I was. CVG fir is dry. Renn's de facto standard is douglas fir 4x4 material. Nearly any kind of wood would work just fine for Renn's stem, even laminated-up layers of plywood.


Neal:  White Ash should work, no problem. VG Douglas Fir or Mahogany are also good options. I've also used LVL for the rear framing members.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 04:32:15 AM by larspa »
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Offline GlacierBoats

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2008, 01:07:06 PM »

Sounds like you've got good answers.  The only area of concern that I'd worry about would be the places where you can't get at.  The lower end of the framing pieces land on the chine flat and that'll be below the deck.  Just put a fillet around the base and tape it with light glass.  Take a little extra care at the stem also.  If you'll be screwing into it or boring holes through it, i.e. for U-bolt bow eyes, coat the inside of the holes with epoxy before assembly (let cure of course) then do a good job with your caulk and it'll be fine.  Otherwise, eastern white ash is good stuff.  I used it in a driftboat that got a lot of use for 6 years (and got sold) and never had even a hint of a problem.

Brian

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Offline TN Brian

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2008, 04:45:11 AM »
Any thoughts on Poplar as framing material?

In East Tennessee, this lumber is available, straight, knot free, and fairly cheap.
I have used it for painted furniture projects and moldings, easy to work.

TN Brian

Offline GlacierBoats

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2008, 03:25:29 PM »

Poplar ...Aspen ...These woods are not rot resistant and are soft enough to be damaged too easily.  I'd avoid them.  You'd be better off with Southern Yellow Pine, Douglas Fir, mahogany (or pseudo-mahogany such as Honduras Mahogany or Meranti etc), or any of the various hardwoods.  Cherry is more rot resistant than some ...although it'd be a shame to bury it under paint.

Brian
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Offline KenB

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2008, 04:07:55 PM »
My 2 cents.  worth exactly 2 cents.  Renn goes to great length to point out that the strength comes from the glass and epoxy, not the wood. I used big box framing lumber and I will get back to you in 15 years about how it holds up. So long as I don't drill holes in it to mount rod holders, or otherwise compromise the epoxy coating, etc. I think I will be ok.

On the other hand, I learned the hard way that using soft big box wood was a bad idea for the transom support piece. A buddy used some of this same stuff as his transom support cross piece for a plywood skiff, and it basically turned into foam core where the motor was mounted. It does not really deal well with hight traffic areas... so I am routing/cutting out the transom support piece and replacing it with a 10x2 LVL, which is actually cheaper (50%!) than the same size piece of fir. Plus, I need to raise the transom for a 25 inch motor anyway.

In other words, since epoxy is not water soluble (like the poly and other big boat resins) AND any epoxy paint that goes on there will be an additional barrier coat AND I know that I have cheap wood is spots so I can't put holes in the epoxy skin, AND I am not using it where there is a lot of compression and intense pressure, I think you can use whatever you want.
best,
KenB

"HOW CHEAPLY CAN A TOLMAN SKIFF BE BUILT AND JUST HOW  MUCH IS SACRIFICED IF COST IS THE PRIME MOVER?"
- Bruce Armstrong   

"I can tell you that either a nice BFT or a big YFT is an absolute riot on a Tolman. The boat is so light it's like the old man and the sea..."
- Dave Nolan (RIP)

Offline GlacierBoats

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2008, 09:00:32 PM »

I'll give you 3 cents for a nice try.  I don't recall Renn saying that about the glass though  ???.  I have heard others state that the strength in these types of boats comes from the fiberglass skin not the wood but that's really broad brushing things and contradicts experts like the Gougeon Brothers and others.  It takes more like a 3/16" thick or thicker glass layer on the boat before it can be considered structural ...no matter what that grumpy guy with the french accent down in Florida says.  The glass on these boats is called sheathing and it's primary purpose is for abrasion resistance.  It does add strength ...but nowhere near enough to discount the wood's contribution.  Renn's boats are strong because of the sheer deck structure (shelves + deck), the longitudinal stringers, and the fact that glued-in decks turn the hull/stringers/deck into a very strong box-girder type of structure.  Leave all the glass off the boat and it'll still work great.  The exceptions are the structural fillets and (multi-layer) glassing that goes on them.

Brian
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Offline KenB

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008, 12:22:45 PM »
Agree to disagree?  My experience has been that if I put an 8 foot sheet of 1/2 ply on two saw horses and jump in the middle, it flexes a LOT less when both sides are glassed AND the edges are glassed.  The wood keeps the sheets of glass from flexing by not being compressible. I do agree with you that the thicker the glass, and the farther apart the two outer sheets of glass are (i.e. the thicker the ply), the more rigid. I believe I learned this from reading chapter one (or it might have come from the tolman yahoo email list), in direct response to my question about whether it was ok to just glass the outside of the hull.
best,
KenB

"HOW CHEAPLY CAN A TOLMAN SKIFF BE BUILT AND JUST HOW  MUCH IS SACRIFICED IF COST IS THE PRIME MOVER?"
- Bruce Armstrong   

"I can tell you that either a nice BFT or a big YFT is an absolute riot on a Tolman. The boat is so light it's like the old man and the sea..."
- Dave Nolan (RIP)

Offline AlasKen

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008, 01:06:48 PM »
My 2 cents is I think that the glass adds a lot of strength but I would not trust it without the ply core.  The glass and epoxy by itself would not be string enough to take out on the water.  I think that a Tolman built without sheathing in glass would be OK but not near as strong as a glassed sheathed Tolman.  I think it would be more prone to oil canning and definitely would not last as long.  I think it is the combo of Epoxy, glass, and plywood that makes it all work

I do agree with you that you can make a very strong boat out of big box lumber.  If all is kept sealed and water does not penetrate I would guess it would outlive anyone on this site.
Kenneth Dodson
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adam_kondrashoff

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 05:46:29 AM »
I used seasoned, Douglas Fir,  that I bought from the local lumber yard.  It is dry enough to glue and in my opinion is a more economical choice than hardwoods,  I also believe that it will be more rot resistant than pine.

Offline GlacierBoats

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2008, 01:30:25 PM »

Ken's answer is actually more concise than mine.  Agree to disagree?  I suspect that we're actually agreeing ...not disagreeing.

And yup, I used seasoned douglas fir for mine although I bought it at a hardwood store.  I was in a hurry and the local lumber depot only had green (a.k.a. "sopping wet") douglas fir.  That's also why I used laminated CVG fir for my stem as well.

Brian

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Offline KenB

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2008, 08:49:25 AM »
This weekend I put in my new LVL cross piece on the transom.  I now vote for LVL as the highest quality cheapest framing lumber, if purchased from Lowes.

The LVL has to be special ordered, and the wax has to get sanded off, but it's pretty easy to do that with a belt sander and 36 grit.

The lowes guy offered me a contractor's package; if I had signed up for it before I would have saved about 10% on everything. Oh well, at least now I know for next time. I still need ply for decks, pvc for control lines, and a few odds and ends, anyway.
best,
KenB

"HOW CHEAPLY CAN A TOLMAN SKIFF BE BUILT AND JUST HOW  MUCH IS SACRIFICED IF COST IS THE PRIME MOVER?"
- Bruce Armstrong   

"I can tell you that either a nice BFT or a big YFT is an absolute riot on a Tolman. The boat is so light it's like the old man and the sea..."
- Dave Nolan (RIP)

Offline GlacierBoats

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2008, 01:31:21 PM »

What are the requirements for the "contractor's package" and what is it?  I'm wondering if Glacier Boats of Alaska LLC would qualify for that 10% discount at Lowes ...might even have to forgive them for all the spanish signs they put up in the store (they're lost ...3000 miles away is where they speaka spanish.)

Brian

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Offline KenB

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2008, 09:30:31 AM »
It's basically a lowes credit card. I think for the small business one you just need a social # (that's the one for private contractors).

If you apply for the LBA (business account) you get 10% off of your first purchase. Every additional purchase is at retail prices.  SO if you were starting a new boat and had Renn's parts list handy, you could save 10% off of that order. There is not additional price benefit for the LBA card after that first purchase.

I had to call lowes to find out about the first purchase thing. Very sneaky.
best,
KenB

"HOW CHEAPLY CAN A TOLMAN SKIFF BE BUILT AND JUST HOW  MUCH IS SACRIFICED IF COST IS THE PRIME MOVER?"
- Bruce Armstrong   

"I can tell you that either a nice BFT or a big YFT is an absolute riot on a Tolman. The boat is so light it's like the old man and the sea..."
- Dave Nolan (RIP)

Offline GlacierBoats

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Re: What kind of wood for framing?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2008, 11:11:28 PM »

No big deal then ...most of my expensive purchases that I have yet to do aren't wood related.  Nope, just motors, glass, electronics, paint, etc.  The wood purchases are 75% done as a minimum.

Brian

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