Preview: How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 3 – The Local Wood Option

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In the third video in our series, Eric Blake visits David Gray, an owner of a local sawmill, to have Eastern White Cedar sawn for our Beautiful Skiff.

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12 Responses So Far to “How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 3 – The Local Wood Option

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    Robert says:

    Super informative videos guys, thank you Eric and Steve

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    Nathaniel Balch says:

    Eastern white pine is 20% heavier than white cedar. However, pine’s ultimate strength is in excess of that of cedar(32%), and its modulus of elasticity is 55% greater. Can we compensate for the extra weight of pine by making the planks 20% thinner?

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    Michael Cima says:

    Folks, I have tried for two months to source cedar for this project. The molds are complete and set up on the strong back. I am in Maine but everyone I speak with can’t come up with those 14′ lengths. If you have any contacts, please post them here. Thank you. Fun project but I was hoping to be on the water with it by this time :)

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    martin schulman says:

    This is another wonderful video from you guys. However as a victim of pulmonary disease I would suggest to Mr. Grey, and everyone, that when working in an environment of wood dust, as the sawmill here, a good filtering breathing mask be used. We now know the detrimental effect of sawdust and other particle by products of woodworking, cutting and the like.

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Thanks for the reminder, Martin. Occasionally our videos don’t reflect the normal precautions these guys take, especially with masks, as we have them talking for the video, then working, then talking, so sometimes a mask gets overlooked or just not used for the few minutes of work for the video.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    I recall that there was an initiative to have kits of lumber for the Woodenboat-sponsored Lumberyard Skiff supplied by these folks. Do you know if that ever came to fruition? If so i wonder if they could do the same for a Haddie Skiff.

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    Gregory Corning says:

    Around here, a sawyer may be the only way to get some dimensions of lumber, outside of special-ordering wood (which would be REAL expensive, I think).
    But the sawyers only have the local native trees to work with, and it is almost always very twisty stuff around here in the southern Rocky Mountains. Jack pine, ponderosa, maybe some spruce. I don’t know why it all twists dramatically as it dries, but it does. That is great for timber frame construction, I’m told, because joints that are cut and fitted green will tighten up nicely when the joint twists a bit. For building a boat, though… Not so great, I am sure.

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    Hector MacNeil says:

    This is a such a great site and another great video. I too would like to know the effects of kiln drying on wood for boat building. A number of years ago, I read an article that compared steam bending kiln dried and air dried white oak. That article claimed that both types bent equally well but it didn’t say anything about how the wood was effected otherwise. Thanks

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Good question Hector and David. We’ll be releasing a more thorough video on the kiln dried process which may answer some of your questions on the advantages of the kiln dried option. However, the “which is better for boatbuilding” might be one of those highly subjective topics that can be long argued with no clear winner. If you’re after a good boat that’ll last 10 years or so, which is our goal, then either will probably work just fine. It’s a little like the topic of fastenings or any other material you use, how good is good enough for the particular job, or are you after a museum-quality heirloom sculpture that’ll look beautiful but won’t be used much? There’s definitely no one right answer, but we’re erring on the side of ease, usefulness, and affordability, partly to dispel the myth that wooden boats need to be of the highest grade and finished to absolute perfection. When plotted out on a line-graph, the relationship between perfection vs. enjoyment may well produce a steep downward arc for most of us.

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    Bill Theurkauf says:

    Great, as usual! A really important lesson is to find a local sawyer. My local hardwood yards charge $4.00-$7.50/BF for white oak, and it’s kiln dried, which isn’t ideal. My sawyer charges $2-2.50, and will cut dimensional boards, live edge slabs, or anything else I want. He recently sold me 500bf of white cedar live edge slabs for $1.00/bf! I didn’t have project at the time, but couldn’t resist. He’s also a really nice guy, and likes the challenge of finding the right log for my project.

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    David Lee says:

    I was told that kiln dried wood is inferior because the process of drying breaks the cell walls, both weakening the wood and making it more prone to water penetration and rotting. Is this a myth?

    I must say, though, that with every video, I feel so fortunate to have found this site. The sheer volume of information is staggering. I go out of my way to recommend it to every sailor and amateur boat builder I know. I frequently hear “How the hell do you know that?”, and I am very quick to give credit where credit is due. Thanks!


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