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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Tasmania
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    42
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    8

    Default Timber selection for strip canoe in Tassie

    Hi all,

    I am building a strip canoe on a budget as I am a student. I need help with selecting a timber which meets my requirements.

    First off I have decided to use epoxy instead of polyester or vinylester so that eats into my funds a fair bit.

    I would like the canoe to be as light as possible but the Timbers that would achieve this are too expensive i.e. Cedar, Balsa and Paulownia (Paulownia isn't that expensive but Bass Strait is a costly stretch of water).

    So I am left with medium density softwoods.


    Celery will cost $280 (a bit heavy)
    Baltic pine will cost $70
    Radiata, $75
    and finally Macrocarpa which is what I am leaning towards could cost between $50-90.

    From my calculations the difference in weight is 5 kg on the total weight of the canoe from lightest to heaviest.
    I am aiming for a 15ft solo that will be between 14-18kg.

    I will be using single layer of 4oz glass. Strip thickness will be 5 or 4 mm. The canoe is about 5 square meters.
    Most likely painted on the exterior and varnished interior. Small dimension gunwales and thwarts

    So my question is what other alternative do I have down here in Tassie ?
    Can any of these timbers be dried lower than 12%mc easily ?
    Which would be easier to work with ?
    Will the small knots in Macrocarpa be a problem?
    Which would stain better ?
    Which would have better resale value ?

    I suppose any timber that was around the 400kg/m^3 and easily worked with is what I am after that doesn't cost too much.

    thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Brisbane
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    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Omnius View Post
    (Paulownia isn't that expensive but Bass Strait is a costly stretch of water).
    Build it on the mainland and then paddle it across to Tassie

    Sorry, I know that's not very helpful.

    Jeremy

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Mornington Peninsula
    Posts
    2,656

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Omnius View Post
    Will the small knots in Macrocarpa be a problem?
    I know nothing about building canoe's, but personally I would not be likely to choose a timber with knots (no matter how small) in it.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    back in Sydney, after spending 3 years Covid stranded in Canada
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    Default

    I don't think I have ever seen a strip canoe built with visible knots. This probably rules out macrocarpa and radiata.

    I'd be looking at Western Red Cedar or Paulownia

    Don't forget to achieve a 4 to 5 mm thick strip, you can expect to waste about 50% of your raw wood.

    I'll let others comment on the suitability of 4oz glass.
    regards from Sydney

    ian

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Tasmania
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    42
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    8

    Default

    Ok I may have sourced some Cedar.

    Is this wall paneling Cedar?
    $_20.JPG

    It comes from a bathroom and there should be enough for a canoe but it is only 1300 by 140mm. there is about 6 square meters. Lots of but joins. I am not sure the thickness

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Port Sorell, Tasmania
    Posts
    567

    Default

    I'm part way through a strip kayak. You need straight grained timber or it is likely to break on the sharper bends around the bow and stern. I was able to get western fed ceder from Timberworld at Meander and a couple of boards of Paulownia from Victoria. Used a few narrow strips of macrocarpa for pin striping on the deck and had to pick the board carefully to get grain that was straight enough. Compared to the time that goes into the build and the appearance of the completed craft, I didn't consider the timber to be a big cost.
    Think I have a bit of Paulownia left over.

    Tony

    Tony
    You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~Oscar Wilde

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Tasmania
    Age
    42
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    8

    Default

    Hi Tony,

    I am a student so everything is a big cost.

    Was the price reasonable for WRC at Timberworld?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Port Sorell, Tasmania
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    Default

    Can't remember. That was a couple of years ago. They were something like 30mm by 30 mm bu 6m off cuts from ripping down larger boards. I still had to rip these into the strip planks.
    You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~Oscar Wilde

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Tuross Head, South Coast, NSW
    Age
    75
    Posts
    155

    Default

    Those bathroom lining boards look like WRC. They could be used. In fact I did the deck of one of my kayaks from WRC lining boards removed from a bathroom wall during renovations.

    However, they are not ideal. One problem is that that they are probably 12mm thick. They usually have marks on the back from the rollers that fed them through the machinery used to dress the boards.

    If you run them through a thicknesser to clean up the back, they will be about 10mm. That is much too thick for strips, but too narrow to cut strips off the side. You could build a canoe from 10mm wide strips, but it would be tedious.

    That leaves you with the option of reducing the thickness to 4 or 5mm and ripping the strips that way. The problem with that is that the strips are then flat sawn rather than quarter sawn. They can be used that way, but it is not ideal. It is also quite wasteful reducing 12mm boards to 4 or 5mm.

    Another option to consider is the way I got my strips for my first kayak, before I converted to using mostly Paulownia. My local timber yard had a pile of discarded strips created when they ripped planks from the huge WRC boards that came into the timber yard. They were just scrap that would have been burnt. They were various widths and thicknesses but I was easily ably to dress them to rips strips.

    From memory, I paid $100 and because I wasn't sure how much trouble I would have getting useful strips, I finished up with more than enough strips to build two kayaks.

    All my kayaks have one layer of 4oz inside and outside. My K1, my TC1 and C1 canoes have one layer of 3oz inside and outside. If you paddle where you don't bounce off rocks, you should find one layer of 4oz adequate. My TC1 is 5.03 metres long and 71.2cm wide, is made from 4mm Paulownia strips and weighs 11.2kg. If you can find the right timber and are careful, you should be able to get close to 15kg.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Tuross Head, South Coast, NSW
    Age
    75
    Posts
    155

    Default

    Are you sure there is no Paulownia available in Tas? I have been told there is some growing there. Maybe no-one is milling it and selling it.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Tasmania
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    42
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    8

    Default

    I have asked around for Paulownia bit haven't found any or just keep getting referred to the shutters place in Melb. I will use Paulownia for my sailing/camping canoe but that is at least 2 years away.
    I didn't really want to use the lining panels so I rang Timberworld and got a price.
    Then I consulted with SWMBO. A bargin was struck and I can buy the WRC.
    Now I have to convince her I NEED a table saw as using the circular saw wont cut it for WRC. Pun intended.
    Thanks everyone for your input. I will post photos of the build as it happens.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    back in Sydney, after spending 3 years Covid stranded in Canada
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    67
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    11,799

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omnius View Post
    I consulted with SWMBO. A bargin was struck and I can buy the WRC.
    Now I have to convince her I NEED a table saw as using the circular saw wont cut it for WRC. Pun intended.
    you are in for a very messy and potentially allergic process.
    I strongly suggest you get the process of converting the WRC into suitable strips sorted BEFORE you buy any tooling.
    At a minimum you will likely need a 2hp dust collector and possibly a thicknesser along with a table saw to produce your strips. the capital cost may persuade you to buy your WRC in strip form.
    regards from Sydney

    ian

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Adelaide - outer south
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    65
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    859

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    Omnius,

    A few comments in no particular order:
    - If you want as light as possible then consider using 2.5oz glass instead of 4oz. Strangely enough this is more expensive but you can't make it lighter afterward.
    - To save a bit of money ask around and you should be able to find someone with a table saw and dust collector who will cut the strips for a low price.
    (I cut the strips for my first stripper with a hand held circular saw and a guide from a design I found on the interweb). If done right there should be no need for a thicknesser.
    - If anything happens to the WRC deal and you end up with reclaimed timber then remember that you don't need full length strips. They can be scarfed on or near the gunwales and butt jointed elsewhere. You may need to scarf strips anyway to cut down waste. Ask here if you want some guidance on this, I think you will get plenty of help.
    - regarding resin type, I don't know why you would even consider anything other than marine epoxy. I don' tknow anything about vinylester but my opinion is to definitely stay away from polyester. There are 3 brands readily available in Australia that I would consider using : WEST, BoteCote and FGI R180.I use R180 and at time of last using it the R180 was the cheapest.

    And just because I'm curious, what design have you decided to build?
    Cheers, Bob the labrat

    Measure once and.... the phone rings!

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Hobart, Australia
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Looking to start my own build. Recently moved back to Tassie and regretting not buying my wood in Victoria before the move!

    Has anyone sourced Paulownia in Tasmania?

    Is Timber World still the best place to source some WRC? Any places in Southern Tas?

    Cheers.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    tasmania
    Age
    56
    Posts
    114

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by thylaxene View Post
    Looking to start my own build. Recently moved back to Tassie and regretting not buying my wood in Victoria before the move!

    Has anyone sourced Paulownia in Tasmania?

    Is Timber World still the best place to source some WRC? Any places in Southern Tas?

    Cheers.
    McKay’s timber in Launceston stock WRC so I assume McKay’s in Hobart would also.
    Any luck with Paulownia in Tas?

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