TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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By DarrellS
With hannah's new boat having a stripped deck I want to do a reverse pattern of mine. White deck with redwood inlays. The aspen worked pretty good although very stringy until precoated. What other white wood would be more suitable.
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By gerald
A good white pine will work fine, but you have to be careful choosing your board. Almost all the clear pine at Home Depot and Lowe's and other lumber yards is crap. Hard to describe but the board should be light, soft, with fine grain--no hard grain. I can sometimes find some by picking through the standard and better ponderosa or other pine. Sugar pine would probably work but we can't find it here.

You could also look for white western red cedar. Does that confuse you? This would be the sapwood of Western Red Cedar. The heartwood is darker. I'm always looking for the WRC with white in it. Don't find much. I get it when I find it.

Eastern white cedar would be great but you'd have to order it.

When you use redwood you should pick through it just like the pine--light, soft, with no hard grain. Grain is ok, fine grain is better--just no hard grain. If it's got hard grain it'll be heavier and split easier.
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By gerald
TexasZeke wrote:hard grain? The thick dark grain the board?

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking but I'll try to explain what grain is and what we're looking for in a boat building wood. The cellular structure of wood including annular rings, rays, defects, etc. produces a pattern on the wood we call grain. The annular rings are round and the rays extend outward. Defects and other things can produce other types of patterns like burls, etc.. For a variety of reasons, usually a lot of rainfall, a tree will grow fast and make a large annular ring. It will usually be softer. In years with little rainfall the annular ring may be small and hard. There can be many factors but I'm not going to look it up. When a tree that has gone through many quick cycles of drought/rain it tends to have a lot of variety in the hardness of the grain. The density of the wood varies a lot. For the purposes of wood composite boat building we want a a wood that is fairly soft with a uniform density. Balsa wood is a good example. So is Basswood--but it's too heavy. If I could find a source of Paulonia I think it might be very good.
Anyway...as I said...grain is ok as long as it's not a lot harder than the part of wood between the "grain". And usually the lighter boards will also be the boards with the best grain...for our purposes.
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By Piscator
How about cypress? it is light in color, but is it too heay?

I was considering cypress for a canoe that I have not built yet. No space or time.
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By gerald
I use to use cypress a lot for building bee hives. I think we would need to check it with an eye toward using it for wood composite building, but there is a definite maybe there. Certainly worth a shot. Once again there is a lot of variability in any single wood so picking through cypress might just turn up some good stuff.
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By Mullet Key
Aged cypress has that perfect "looks great on a small boat" appearance. Great warm color when varnished. Only downside, soaks up a lot of epoxy that increases the overall density of the wood. You may get a heavier boat than you wished for. Chris
By artistwood
aspen works well but does have a tendancy to fuzz. right before you do your first layup and after all the sanding of the bare wood, use a fine scotchbright pad, with the grain to remove the fuzz then FG and epoxy as usual. i have used this method for years on Fuzzy wood. a grey pad will usually work but a white one is finer if the grey don't git-r-done........bear
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By Light Keeper's Kid
Well let's see if I've learned anything about wood selection :D Would 1a be the right selection for soft grain for Hull Strips once the strips are cut off this board and would 1b be wrong because of it's Hard Grain :?: And would 2a be the right selection for decking because it would be Flat sawn and it's Soft Grain once it is cut into strips and is 2b wrong also because of it's Hard Grain :?: Oh I also ask for mercy from the wood gods :lol:

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By gerald
Actually you can use any of them for hull or deck. 1A and 1B would be more what you want for the hull (and deck) if you're looking more for strength. Basically you want to get the grain perpendicular to the anticipated stresses. The end product is what I would call a quarter sawn strip. It is not that critical but more a matter of degree of strength. 1B would probably be the stronger strip while 1A might be lighter. This is very variable though. 1A might also be harder to sand because of the soft part between hard grain. I wouldn't hesitate to use either, but might lean toward one or the other for certain purposes. This is an art.

As mentioned...you can use either or any for a hull or deck. Usually something like 2A and 2B would turn out what we call a flat sawn strip which usually gives more variation and color in the grain. 2A might be the lighter strip, but not always. You might consider using these for a deck. However--something like 1A and 1B might also show pleasing grain and variation.

And then you might also use a combination of any and all for contrasting colors, grains, and patterns. I don't know if this is helping you any but it's not really critical. I try to cut strips from the same or like boards. I then lay them out and choose for grain, pattern, and color. I have built many boats just using any old bunch of strips I have laying around and the boats turned out very nice.

If I were going for strength in a marathon or race boat I'd use something like 1B for the hull and deck but I'd also pick through those board until I found light ones. WRC, like all woods, can be heavy or light.

What I generally do now is use the 1 series type for the hull and the 2 series type for the decks...but not always! Clear as mud...huh?
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By Pogo
gerald wrote:And then you might also use a combination of any and all for contrasting colors, grains, and patterns.

Here's an example of using different grain patterns to achieve contrast. In the picture below, I have used basswood for the really light colored feature strips, the rest is plain' ol' cedar. But note the two strips on either side of the "racing stripe", just outside the pinstripes; they're feature strips too, because of that wild plain-sawn grain pattern.

As an aside, I had planned to use a lot more of those plain-sawn strips on this deck, but there was so much "density contrast", as Gerald mentions, between the hard grain lines and softer wood between, that I was getting surface waves, so I aborted.


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