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Old Jul 18, 2012, 09:45 AM
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-james-'s Avatar
Joined Sep 2008
654 Posts
Cheapest wood for boat building?

Hi guys,
With balsa being rather expensive near me ( about 2 per 36"x1/8"x4" sheet) what's the best building material that one can find relatively inexpensively at builders yards etc?
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Old Jul 18, 2012, 01:08 PM
Vita ex Machinis
patmat2350's Avatar
Motor City
Joined Dec 2004
12,901 Posts
Lowest cost approach (not counting tools) is to rip and sand your own planks from larger boards, of any species... but decent tools for job are not cheap...
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Old Jul 18, 2012, 03:52 PM
Registered User
Edmonds, Wa.
Joined Mar 2007
110 Posts
Poplar plywood is 1/8 inches thick and can be purchased in 4x8 foot sheets here in the northwest. The ply is light and takes a good sealing and finish.
Dr. Ron
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Old Jul 18, 2012, 05:07 PM
Registered User
Blackpool, Lancs
Joined Feb 2006
3,058 Posts
3mm ply is OK, just what wood is involved might be difficult to work out with the labeling you get here in the UK.
My first scratch build from a plan used panels recovered from a dead kitchen door.
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Old Jul 19, 2012, 01:41 AM
sunworksco's Avatar
United States, CA, Alameda
Joined Nov 2010
657 Posts
Find some second-hand teak or mahoghony window blinds and rip them down with a table saw. You may be able to find them at a building salvage or call the interior decorators in you town and tell them that you will dispose them for free.
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Old Jul 20, 2012, 05:23 PM
If you cant find it Build it!
Joined Jan 2006
1,536 Posts
Douglas fur is what I use, cabnet makers grade which is total knot free @ around $6.00 a foot thou, But is strong and more flexable to form wont split off like others will.

Its what real wood boat makers used so it must be great!
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Old Jul 20, 2012, 07:19 PM
NeverAgainVolunteerYourse lf
nick_75au's Avatar
Australia, QLD, Regents Park
Joined Mar 2007
3,745 Posts
A guy in our club built a beautiful fishing boat out of a pine pallet and a hardwood fence post.
Cost for the hull, Free


If you head to a nearby manufacturer of wood goods you should be able to pick up offcuts.

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Old Jul 20, 2012, 08:18 PM
Thermite + ice = Big boom.
boaterguy's Avatar
Canada, ON, Ottawa
Joined Apr 2009
2,431 Posts
Head to your local hardware store and ask them if they have a scrap bin, you may not get what you want but it's worth the effort for free stuff.
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Old Jul 20, 2012, 09:09 PM
Registered User
California Desert... 7 miles from nearest town
Joined Jan 2010
399 Posts
I haven't been building in a while. Life got in the way. My unfinished project is made from old used 2x4 boards and an old wooden door which I used the skin off of for the bottom and deck.

"Alma 1891"
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