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Boatbuilding Tips and Tricks

THURSDAY, JULY 17, 2008

Can You Really Use Construction Grade Lumber?

I get this question a lot so let me answer it very clearly YES! You can just go to Home Depot and buy the straightest, most knot free construction lumber you can find and build one of my boats. The use of epoxy as an adhesive and sealer makes modern boat building much less fussy than the old timers with their carefully hewn oaken logs had to put up with. There's no need to buy expensive, "marine" grade lumber to build your boat - especially not a stitch and glue boat. Using 7 ply Meranti 1/2" ply for a stitch and glue boat is WAY overkill. First of all, it's way too expensive and second, it's incredibly difficult to bend. Good old cheapo 3 ply 10mm Philippine (Lauan) mahogany is a far better choice, and it's about 1/8th of the cost. The epoxy will saturate into the wood sealing it off from moisture incursion, and will strengthen the wood to a steel-like strength. Remember some people use urethane foam and even balsa wood for boat building. Either of these saturated with epoxy is strong enough, what makes you think good old fir ply wouldn't be?


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