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Aug 31, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Wood for planking


Are there any alternatives to bass or balsa for planking? I am scratch building a Seguin tug and would like to use locally available wood for the planking. I have at my disposal Aspen, Poplar, Douglas Fir and Yellow pine. This tug will be glassed and painted so wood color is not a concern.

Thanks,
Woody
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Aug 31, 2005, 09:26 AM
Where's Pamela?
patmat2350's Avatar
My speculation and opinion-
for most hobbyists, the wood choice is based on the convenience of what's available in the appropriate thickness planks (or sheets that can be stripped into planks)… which usually means balsa and bass! Seguin is planked in 1/16" stock if I remember correctly, so if you use local wood, you'll need to saw and/or sand it to that thickness, or you'll have a tough time with the planking job.
Which wood? Bass is popular because of it's fine uniform grain. When you start to bend planks that have discontinuous grains, they'll split… you'll probably get a lot of good planks out of the local lumber, and a few stinkers!

Pat M
Aug 31, 2005, 12:30 PM
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Hey thanks for the information Pat. I have a complete woodshop and have my bandsaw in trim to rip planks of any thickness with minimum sanding. I ripped several planks from a piece of aspen which seems to have the same clear grain as bass. It looks very promising so far, but I would hate to get half way finished planking the boat and have a problem. If anyone has any experience using these woods, please respond.

Thanks again Pat,

Woody
Aug 31, 2005, 12:33 PM
Tinkerer in Training
RGinCanada's Avatar
Woody,
I've used pine for decking with no problems. when you cut it down to size, it's easy to pick out the pieces with uneven grain.
One 2x4 of clear pine 8' long generates a big pile of planking... you can afford to be choosy!
Aug 31, 2005, 01:35 PM
Where's Pamela?
patmat2350's Avatar
Only other issue is sandability. I remember getting a piece of something- perhaps aspen- from Home Depot, that I couldn't sand to save myself! Looked wonderful and clear, but was sort of stringy and rubbery under the sanding block.
Pat
Aug 31, 2005, 02:20 PM
Remember , if your bending that planking....spray on the Windex. WORKS GREAT!!

Scott
Aug 31, 2005, 02:47 PM
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Thread OP
Thanks guys, your input has been great on this subject. The planking I cut from the Aspen bends well but I am concerned with sanding as Pat mentioned. I will try a few more tests this evening to confirm. RG that is why I am researching alternative woods, price and availability (hate waiting on an order). I did some research and found some info on aspen. Site also has info on other species of wood including balsa and bass. http://www.woodmagazine.com/wood/sto...ml&catref=wd12

Thanks
Woody
Aug 31, 2005, 03:32 PM
Tinkerer in Training
RGinCanada's Avatar
Hi Woody,
Are you sure there are no local sources for basswood? I live in a smallish town, and there are two places (that I know of) that I can source basswood from. Neither is a model airplane/boat store. One is a general craft store, and one is a specialty lumber mill.
Regards, Ray.
Sep 01, 2005, 06:24 AM
Registered User
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Ray I can get basswood at the local Hobby Lobby but in only in 24" lengths and .25" max in thickness. I did sand some aspen last night and found it to be as Pat stated above, tough! I might have to bite the bullet and just order some bass. Lonestar Balsa carries basswood in the thickness and length I need (5/16x3x36). I have ordered from these folks in the past (balsa for planes) just hate to pay the 8.25% sales tax.... Thanks to everyone who posted a reply to my question, I am sure I will have more as this seems to be a gold mine forum for scale boats with plenty of helpfull patrons.

Thanks,
Woody
Sep 01, 2005, 08:03 AM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
Woody, Just curious, why not use balsa? Since the hull will be glassed anyway strength and water intrusion won't be an issue. I have planked many hulls with balsa over the years, and have not experienced any kind of problems with medium-firm balsa over time.
Just wonderin', PAT
Sep 01, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Pat that was my original intent as I have a stockpile of balsa. I guess durability is my biggest concern with balsa. This will be my son's boat when he gets of age. Balsa is still an option that I might use. What thickness balsa would you recommend? (1/16 or 1/8) Would you glass it with 1/2 or 3/4 oz. cloth?
On a side note, I adore the Father Goose yacht you designed and would love to build one some day. Who has the plans? Are they available yet?

Thanks for letting me pick your brain Mr. Pat Trittle, your work is impressive.

Woody
Sep 01, 2005, 01:04 PM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
Woody, I would rip the planks from 1/8 sheet balsa to about 3/8 width, and would use 2 oz cloth over the wood since weight definately isn't a factor, and the strength will definately be an asset.

Drop me a line at [email protected] and I'll give you the ordering info for the "Father Goose" plans.

PAT
Sep 01, 2005, 01:35 PM
Boats on the brain!!
green-boat's Avatar
I have used a lot of different woods form apple to walnut for planking. I'm not a big fan of aspen because of the stringiness, cottonwood is the worst of all, stay away from it. The harder the wood the more aggressive you have to be when sanding. On the initial sanding I use 60 grit paper to get everything nice and level and then go to a 120 grit and then finer still.... I also use a Black and Decker Mouse for sanding, best investment I ever made. It will make easy work out of it.

Balsa is easy to work with and sands very easly. With balsa, glassing the hull is definite. I would use 2 layers of 2 oz. cloth over 1/16" balsa to get a fair amount of strength. Both layers can be put on at the same time and squeeged out, this will save you a fair amount of time and add strength by keeping the layers of cloth close to each other. I use acetone mixed in with the resin to slow the set up time and let the resin penatrate deeper into the wood.

Remeber when glassing over wood, wood is only the form and the fiberglass/resin mix provides the strength to the structure.
Sep 02, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Thread OP
Thanks for the information Green-Boat. The first boat I built was a Midwest "Harbor Tug" that used balsa sheeting with .75 oz cloth. I will probably go with balsa and glass on the Seguin as well since I have plenty. I did opt to plank the deck on this boat instead of scribing it and am very pleased with the results. I like your suggestion for using the mouse sander. I have several sanders but all are to big to use effectively without risk of damage.

Woody
Sep 07, 2005, 09:24 AM
Boats on the brain!!
green-boat's Avatar
woodmantexas,
Glad to be of some help. On one deck planking job that I had done on a very large tug, I used white oak veneer. In between each each plank I glued in a piece of black construction paper to simulate the caulking. Then sanded everything down even. It was time consuming but it was worth it in the long run.


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