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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default Starting Goat Island build In West Virginia

    Hello all, my name is John. I purchased a set of plans for the GIS a couple of weeks ago and plan on building this winter. I have found a source of Okume ply, but the lumber is killing me to find! No Doug Fir or Cedar to be found in my area. I don't really want to use Radiata pine as I hear bad things about it. I have found a source of clear white oak for a good price. I know oak is heavy, but it is strong and rot resistant. So what do the experts here think of using white oak to build her. I apologize if this has already been discussed, I tried searching but no results.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fenwick, Michigan
    Age
    72
    Posts
    908

    Default

    Welcome John,

    I have no personal experience with white oak. My understanding is that it does not glue well with epoxy - although you can find those who have had success using white oak and epoxy.

    Plantation grown Radiata pine (aka Monterrey Pine) is nice material - no knots and it works well. I built my mast with it and am using it in my Pathfinder. Ask your lumber yard (not a big box store - although Menards carries it as "Select" lumber) about ordering it for you.

    Feel free to ask any questions about building a GIS and keep us updated on your project.
    Building Gardens of Fenwick, a Welsford Parthfinder
    Gardens of Fenwick
    Karen Ann, a Storer GIS
    Goat Island Skiff - Sacramento

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Thanks for the answer. I can get Radiata readily. I keep reading all these forums and so many different opinions, I get confused easily. I was thinking that a white board contrasting against the darker ply would actually look quite nice.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fenwick, Michigan
    Age
    72
    Posts
    908

    Default

    I had the same apprehension about Radiata pine when my local lumber yard suggested/recommended it - said it is plantation grown. They had to order it for me and when it came in, I was impressed with it: clear - as in NO knots - no twists or warps, very nice stuff. It mills nicely, glues well and takes fasteners well. My understanding is that the Radiata available in Australia is knotty and of low quality.
    Building Gardens of Fenwick, a Welsford Parthfinder
    Gardens of Fenwick
    Karen Ann, a Storer GIS
    Goat Island Skiff - Sacramento

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    414

    Default

    John, there may be more local vendors than you realize. I thought I was stuck using some rather uninspiring local lumber yards, but some googling around turned up a nearby sawmill and an even more local vendor of specialty wood for cabinet makers. Both were MUCH more knowledgeable than the guys at the hardware store.

    Yes, variations in wood color make for a beautiful finished product. I paired Douglas Fir (light) with sapele (dark) and okume ply (middling). Came out nice.

    The sapele was all cheap stock sold for outdoor decking. I had to scarf bits together to get the lengths I needed. But the hardwood bits are for protection, not strength. So that was fine. The wood is easy to work, glues well, and looks lovely under varnish. See if your local yard is selling sapele deck boards.

    I know you've heard that cedar can't be had locally. But keep asking around. Two local yards told me it didn't exist because they didn't have any. A third yard had piles of it.

    My cedar was also stock, mostly 2 x 4's. Cutting them down left me 1 or 2 mm shy of the "official" sizes in the plans, but the cedar is used to create a gluing face, so that didn't matter. Finding (mostly) clear pieces required some picking. The guys at the yard didn't mind as long as I cleaned up the mess after.

    I special-ordered most of the Douglas Fir through the cabinet-maker guy. That was expensive. I got just what I wanted (5/4 planks, perfectly clear, VERY tight grain, 18' long) and I was able to get everything I needed out of just 2 planks plus some smaller bits of 2 x 4 stock. If you can substitute pine, go for it. But don't be afraid to special-order bits you really want.

    Overall, my advice is to find a vendor or two who: 1) know what they are talking about, and 2) are willing to work with you. Most yards are focused on the local contractors who buy large quantities of stock and aren't very picky. A specialty store or small sawmill is likely to be more accommodating.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    767

    Default

    Welcome John! I'm no wood expert (I'm not a lot of things, actually) so take my comments with a grain of salt.

    I've substituted Eastern White Pine for the cedar framing because it was available for a great price nearby. The framing bits glue to the ply wood panels and form a strong unit through design, not material selection (well, the Okoume brings strength with it...). I used Radiata from Home Depot for my mast because it was very straight and very clear. And very easy to buy. MIK has commented that the hollow square mast is over-designed and can tolerate the material difference. I also used Radiata for the chine logs for many of the reasons above, including the framing comment. But for the Yard and the Boom I found the tighest grain DF I could find (at Home Depot) and actually rejected my first attempt because it came out too bendy. If you're willing to hold off a bit on the buy and build of the two spars, you might benefit from some of the experiments other builders are conducting with alternate spar designs which might allow for a wider variety of material selection (pine, etc.).

    I do appreciate Paulie's comment about being persistent with the search for really good wood because the boat can be nice enough to deserve it; the payoff will certainly be worth it. But I guess my point is that builders have gone many routes and the boats all come out nice in their own way. So make the choices that you feel comfortable with, knowing that SOMEONE out there has done something crazier. I'm like --->||<--- this close from being done myself and I can say it has been so rewarding that even the mistakes were worth while. Good luck, and expect to hear from most of us, "where's the pics?!?"
    Dave
    StorerBoat Builder, Sailor, Enthusiast
    Dave's GIS Chronicles | Dave's Lugs'l Chronicles | Dave's StorerBoat Forum Thread

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    'Delaide, Australia
    Age
    62
    Posts
    8,138

    Default

    Welcome John,

    Yes .. try to find the lightest wood possible without financial strain. Also be aware that you can build things out of sequence. If you have the timber for the mast and foils ... you could start there. But dig around locally. I do have contacts in Virginia. I don't know if that helps geographically ... but I can see if they know of places to get timber.

    Building to a weight requires consistent effort on every front. Sometimes there's a tendency to think ... in one area of the build after another ... that "this bit of weight doesn't matter".

    I would say if a consistent approach to every process is to save weight ... then the above statement is true ... it doesn't matter if one part is a bit heavier.

    But if every process is compromised the weight balloons.

    We do have methods to reduce weight in every process - most of them are in the plan. If making variations we can probably tell you if they are worthwhile and also how to execute them in a weight sensitive way.

    Best wishes and welcome

    Michael

    BTW I'll edit your title for this thread to add West Virginia to your title ... it is one of the things that people like to know. Also problems you solve as far as timber etc will be useful for others too. Please put useful business names addresses and phone numbers in your posts if you find useful people/businesses.

    Michael

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default

    You got to love the fact that you buy a set of plans and have access to the designer for questions, thanks Mike! To give a little history, I started off in boat building by reading Devlin's and Jim Michalak's books. These two are from both sides of the spectrum. Devlin is about building with the best materials and Michalak is about building from the lumberyard. I started out building Devlin's Honker, had it stitched up in marine fir. I then decided the project was too big and stopped before I spent too much. I tore it apart and then and used the remains to build Michalaks Mayfly. I fully built the the hull, then realized that with 1/2 ply and 3/4 bulkheads I had built it way too heavy. Sooo, it made a nice bonfire in the backyard. Total money wasted 600 dollars! I really don't feel bad about it because I learned a ton, especially got good at scarfing. Now the wife, she says I wasted money, I say I spent it on educating myself.

    Now on to the GIS, I believe the boat is gorgeous and I want to learn how to sail. I live in area where people believe that to build a boat, you must possess skills far beyond the best cabinet maker. You mention you are building a boat and eyes start rolling. Little do they know! I have spent hours online looking for materials and the closest source of wood I found is Exotic Lumber 19324 Woodfield Road Gaithersburg, MD 20879. They are about a three hour drive for me. They have every wood I would need, but it gets pricey. I am buying my ply there because I want to bright finish the inside and I want that dark wood look. Besides there is no substitute for good ply. I can get the doug fir and cedar there, but I want to be able to pick through it and again, trying to keep some cost down. Still undecided how I will choose my lumber. Here is what I'm thinking right now. Radiata pine for framing, doug fir for chine log and sheer clamps, and either red oak or mahogany for the hardwood. I know red oak is porous but sealed in epoxy I think it will be ok. I'll get mahogany if the budget allows it. I'll post pics whenever I get started.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    960

    Default

    Welcome John!

    I am completely flummoxed that you can't find at the very least doug fir at least locally somewhere-- good luck!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default

    A couple of years ago it was common, but now everywhere i look has radiata pine for the clear #1 pine boards. My best friend owns a lumberyard and he has called all his suppliers, mainly Georgia Pacific, and no doug fir. I live near Cumberland, md. I was assuming radiata pine has just replaced fir because it's plantation grown does the job well in building trades. There is also cedar around but it is all very knotty, haven't found any clear.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    'Delaide, Australia
    Age
    62
    Posts
    8,138

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wvjohn View Post
    A couple of years ago it was common, but now everywhere i look has radiata pine for the clear #1 pine boards. My best friend owns a lumberyard and he has called all his suppliers, mainly Georgia Pacific, and no doug fir. I live near Cumberland, md. I was assuming radiata pine has just replaced fir because it's plantation grown does the job well in building trades. There is also cedar around but it is all very knotty, haven't found any clear.
    Send me an email and I will pass you on to Paul Helbert and fellow designer Dave Gentry in Virginia - he/they might have specific suggestions of places or some idea of the type of place.

    MIK

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default

    After doing a little nosing around on google and facebook, I see you have been to my home lake, Mt. Storm. Wow, wish I would have known you guys when you were in the area. I also own a 17 foot proline that I do some fishing there and Jennings Randolph. Mt. Storm has so many catfish in it that you can actually hold a cracker in your hand and they will come take it. They are stunted in growth, but millions of them in that lake, has something to do with the warm water.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    'Delaide, Australia
    Age
    62
    Posts
    8,138

    Default

    That was with Paul Helbert who also goes there with Dave Gentry.

    The warm water is a real boon for an area with cold winters! (compared to Australia anyhow)



    MIK

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Savannah GA USA
    Posts
    583

    Default

    Many years ago you could find moldings in douglas fir. The two most common choices were DF for stain grade and finger-jointed pine for paint. When I started my Goat back in 2007 IIRC I couldn't find anything in DF. It just wasn't being "imported" from the left coast anymore. So I just bought the clearest two-by lumber from Home Depot, usually in either 2 by 6 or 2 by 8. Careful selection and cutting provided enough clear wood for the chines and other bits. IIRC I used some clear yellow pine for the rub rails, southern yellow pine being much harder and heavier than the white wood used elsewhere.

    I was lucky to find some very nice clear cypress when I built my motor skiff a couple years later. I used the clear cypress for the floors and other bits, until I had used it up. In the meantime I installed a new exterior door on the balcony upstairs and found a gold-mine of clear fir in the door jambs and header. This stuff was still perfect and very tight-grained, 30-40 lines per inch. I repurposed it for the last few interior items I needed for the motor boat. The only true hardwood used was the white ash for the rubrails.

    Long story made short--use the best of what you can find and afford and don't sweat the small stuff.
    The "Cosmos Mariner,"My Goat Island Skiff
    http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w168/MiddleAgesMan/

    Starting the Simmons Sea Skiff 18
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    22

    Default

    I feel what you guys are saying. I felt like I would be doing something terrible if i didn't use the exact materials and end up with a sub par boat. I have access to a ton of clear pine and white oak. I'm probably going to scavenge what cedar I find, and just be happy. It scares me to drive 100 hundred miles to get wood and then find it has faults while working with it. I would rather pick through what is around me locally and test it, bend it, torture it before I glue it down.

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