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Lumber Selection

Discussion in 'Strippers, Stitch-n-Glue, and Other Wood Composite' started by Pantry3cow, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. Pantry3cow

    Pantry3cow Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Today I had the opportunity to visit my local lumber mill and they allowed me to sort through 2 large piles of rough cut white Manitoulin cedar. 200 pcs. I was looking for full length (14') boards that I could cut into strips that were clear. After working up a good sweat and losing 10 lbs I was able to find I few boards with just a few knots that I should be able to get some strips out of. (see photos) Its the nature of the beast here. Just when I thought I had a good one there was a knot 3/4 of the way down the piece that made the board unacceptable. Then Talking to the yard boss he explained that they do have some 8' and 12' that was clear. I should be able to get a good number of 8-10' strips out of what I selected also. Can I use these? Is the preference to use full strips or is it just recommended to save time in joining pcs.? In the canoecraft I've read I can but that would be a lot of joints in a 13' canoe. I'm also having trouble finding clear BC cedar that is clear. A local lumber yard here has a great supply of nominal lumber, but it is not first grade and is knotty the same as the Manitoulin cedar. I guess the questions are can I use it with small knots as it may give it a good look on some or do I use shorter strips and slice or join them ? Thanks for all your help thus far. You've helped me get that new saw and planer I wanted to get anyways…..lol she will be impressed when she see's them I'm sure.
    manitoulin cedar 1.JPG manitoulin cedar2.JPG
     
  2. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    When I sort 1x stock for strips, and I can get full length strips out of a plank, without splices, I buy it. Butt joining strips is easy ! I do it between the stations with a 2" spring clamp, and two pieces of tape covered scraps.
    One thing you want is Flat sawn planks !
    Here's a few pics.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Bead and coving your strips, makes splicing a cinch ! You can keep on stripping, as the bead and cove holds the strips in alignment !

    Oh while I'm at it, cut your strips with a Skilsaw and attached fence ! You will be doing yourself a big favor !
    [​IMG]


    Jim
     
  3. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    3Cow,

    One thing you need to know is if you ask 10 builders how to do something, you'll get 10 answers, and none are all right or wrong, just different ways to get a job done.

    The use of full length vs shorter and spliced is totally up to you, as is wood with knots, in fact some canoes are built specifically with knots and they often look great.
    Again, it's up to you.

    On my 1st canoe I bought strips, that were cut as Jim describes, they got the job done but were less then ideal.
    The thickness on them varied too much.
    On the next 2 I milled my own.

    I am lucky in that I have a very good full service lumber yard close that carries Aye grade cedar in dimension sizes. So I look for the nicest 18 and 20 ft 2x4's that I can find, it only takes 3 or 4 to do a canoe. As long as the grain is straight I don't care what direction it is in.

    I prep them by cutting them down to 2x2 blanks. This on a table saw with a 16 ft out feed table/extension for catching/holding the cut pieces. I use 4 finger boards to hold/control the blanks and slowly feed them through the saw, when done with the 1st cut there are 6-8 2" wide strips laying there in the order they were cut.
    I then tape the strips back together with box tape, and make 1 final cut to cut the stack in half, creating 14-16 strips.

    I then retape the stack for handling, each stack of strips still in order as they were in the blank.
    This allows you to install them in pairs so the finished wood is symmetrical side to side.

    Note that when starting with the 2x2, the blank can be rotated to get vertical grain strips from any stock.
    I use a Freud Diablo 7.25 blade which leaves a smooth finish - no planing required.

    Dan

    btw - when I'm looking for w/c planking material, I go to the box stores and look for 2x's in 8" or wider and length's to 14 ft. I look for pieces with the wain/bark, as they usually have fewer knotts. These can then be hi graded to clear planking stock. If you plan to splice your stripper strips, this would work for that also.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Pantry3cow

    Pantry3cow Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Gentlemen thank you so much!! Your comments to use 2x should save me some time and money. Now I’m off to the races. I will now be comfortable with proceeding. Thanks again to you both and others on the site that have been such a great help. By the way I have found today some local lumbermen the claim to have clear board for me to look at. I will be talking to them tomorrow. These boards may be wet, should they be dried?
     
  5. Rod Tait (Orca Boats)

    Rod Tait (Orca Boats) Designer/Builder

    The cedar should dry fairly quickly as the wood is not very dense. A few days in the sun will dry it out enough for you to cut strips and then the thinner strips will dry very fast. And by the time you come to fiber glassing, they will be very dry. As for the small knots in your lumber. Small knots can be worked around, but what I would be concerned about in the photos above is the amount of "swirl" around those knots as this change in grain direction would make it harder to plane, bend and sand smooth. The strips may also break easily at these points. Grain orientation in the raw boards is more important than a few knots as Jim shows in his photos.
     
  6. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    If possible buy 1 x stock ! Buying 2 x stock requires more sawing, and for a beginner, can lead you into trouble!
    With flat grain planks it is simple to cut your strips with a Skilsaw, and get Very uniform strips ! ( I've done it for 29 yrs) Cutting 2x stock, one slight variation on the Tablesaw, and you've ruined several strips !
    Grain orientation IS important as Rod points out !
    If you Can't get 1 x stock, Flat grain planks, then a Table saw and 2 x stock is your second choice in my experience.
    Knots ? They may look cool, but sand differently. because of their hardness. They are often times a source of Air bubbles in your epoxy !
    Your Strongback works great to hold your planks, while walking back and forth cutting strips !
    [​IMG]
    Lastly, Bead and Coving your strips, simplifies the construction of the hull !

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  7. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    3Cow,

    Like I said, different opinions,

    I disagree with much of what Jim is saying here.

    Don't buy 1x stock, it takes more work to cut the strips.
    Cutting the way I describe above, once the 2x blanks are cut, it takes (X divided by 2) plus 1 = total cuts to make the strips, or if your cutting 14 strips, that's 8 cuts. (Where X is the number of strips. This because you cut 2 strips at a time.)

    One slight variation with a Skilsaw will also make a flaw, and because you are moving, you will have a lot of stops and starts, each making a flaw.
    With infeed and outfeed supports and finger boards there's little risk of flaws with the table saw. And with a little practice, there are no flaws.

    With the method I relate above, grain is not important as you can rotate the stock to get vertical grain with any piece.

    I do agree to avoid the knots, I was just relating that some folks purposely include them for aesthetics and they can make for a striking canoe.
    They are hard to work with and I avoid them.

    Dan

    ps, in my experience with "Skilsaws", there is too much end play in the bearings to precisely cut a piece of wood.
    Just the float of the blade will cause variations in the strips.


    "If possible buy 1 x stock ! Buying 2 x stock requires more sawing, and for a beginner, can lead you into trouble!
    With flat grain planks it is simple to cut your strips with a Skilsaw, and get Very uniform strips ! ( I've done it for 29 yrs)
    Cutting 2x stock, one slight variation on the Tablesaw, and you've ruined several strips !
    Grain orientation IS important as Rod points out !"
     
  8. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    [​IMG]

    my 28th Cedar strip canoe, strips cut with a Skilsaw, as were All my canoes.
    [​IMG]
    I'd be glad to demonstrate how to cut strips ! And clear up any Misconceptions
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I repeat

    "One thing you need to know is if you ask 10 builders how to do something, you'll get 10 answers, and none are all right or wrong, just different ways to get a job done."
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Pantry3cow

    Pantry3cow Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Guys again thanks for all of the info. I can see merits in all of the methods suggested and that's why I asked. It is now up to me to take the information and come up with the best solution to fit my requirement and space. Love the debate, in the end we will all be up the river hopefully in the boat we love ...….lol
     
  11. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Absolutely, and please post progress pics as you go down the road.
    All here love to see boats being built. (and paddled)
     
  12. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Though Dan and I differ, I'm sure we can agree on one thing ! Building your own canoe, will be a Journey that will enlighten and strengthen your Spirit !
    I was, and still am, a Beginner ! I look for a better way with every step I take, building a canoe. I guess that's why I haven't stopped at building just one !!!
    I have often times learned new tricks, from people, that I've helped build their First canoe ! Not to mention the Life long friendships I've developed.

    Now back to building your canoe !
    It is true, you can build a canoe without Any experience !
    As I remember building my first, I sought the advise of builders, with Experience. Those being members of the Minnesota Canoe Association ! Bob Brown, Bruce Kunz, Betty Ketter, Al Gustafson, and several more.
    In their early Builders Book. a Blue loose leaf note book, was the Skilsaw method of cutting strips !
    My early saw setup was a 11 amp Skil brand Skilsaw, with a Plywood base attached, with carriage bolts. I still have that base, but burned out two 11 amp saws in short order ! I learned from an experienced carpenter, to used a Skilsaw, with at least 13 amps. ! That saw was actually a Makita brand. Though I've retired it, it cut strips for at least 15 canoes.
    Since then I have set up several Skil type saws to cut strips. Once I have a saw dialed in to cut the the strips to a certain dimension ( 3/16", for thinner strips, 3/8", used to cut Ash gunnels, 5/8" again for gunnels, and of course 1/4" for standard strips).

    End play of the shaft has never been a problem, and I would match the uniformity of my strips, with any Tablesaw cut strips.
    The Freud "Diablo 7 1/4" - 24 tooth is the best I've used ! Dan and I agree on that !

    A table saw with a Power feed , is the next best thing, to cutting strips with a Skilsaw saw, as you see pictured in a previous post.
    Having said that, the cost of a power feed, and tablesaw, is at least 10x the cost of a Skilsaw set up !

    Your Strongback, makes an excellent Saw Horse to hold your strips while cutting them. This also requires half the work space as a Table saw used to cut strips !
    The Portability of a Skilsaw, as opposed to the Table saw, is easy to see. I have taken my saw to several other beginners shops, and cut strips for them. There is no need to plane the strips, when cut with a Skilsaw !

    I apologize for this long post, but I was in a hurry with my original post ! And felt a more thorough explanation was in order !

    Jim Dodd
     
  13. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Yup, someplace I have a copy of this book.
    The precut strips I got came from Betty Ketter herself. (not sure who cut them, they had a pile of bundles on a shelf.)


    "In their early Builders Book. a Blue loose leaf note book, was the Skilsaw method of cutting strips ! "
     
  14. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I don't know where the Ketters obtained their strips !
    I know Al Gustafson, used a table saw with a Gang blade, cutting several strips at a time from 1x stock. As I remember, it had a power feed ! I'm guessing it's the same as what Dennis Davidson used when he took over the shop from Al .
    I also don't know what Al charged for his strips, but I do know I Saved a bundle, by cutting my own, to the tune of an $800 savings !


    Jim
     
  15. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I assume Ketter cut their own as you describe with a Skillsaw.
    And yes, I was pretty green then, that's why I bought the strips, after that I cut my own, and as you say, saved a bunch.
    I was so green, in addition to the red cedar strips, I also got a couple bundles of red wood, and I (and she I assume) didn't know it at the time.
    I ended up using them as accent strips.
     
  16. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Pretty hard to find Redwood in these parts anymore, unless you have deep pockets.
    I did cut and use some years ago. Machined well, but stiffer and more brittle. But clear ! A Good choice if you can get it !

    Jim
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Pantry3cow

    Pantry3cow Curious about Wooden Canoes

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