It requires less energy to produce than many so called ‘modern’
And it isn’t plastic.
is the living tree’s ability to produce the material we know as wood
that is strong both in tension and compression, which enables them to
grow so large and remain upright.
And it is how it is cut and
used that allows us to benefit from the timber properties of
strength and ability to withstand various kinds of stress.
Not all species of timber are strong enough
for boat building.
And even within one species, different growth patterns due to
environmental fluctuations can cause variations in quality.
commercially obtainable wood is cut from the trunk of the tree.
And the way boards are cut from the log will affect how those timber
properties are utilised.
The stability and ‘figure’ of the wood will be determined by how it is
cut in relation to the grain of the wood.
sawing produces the most stable boards, these will be cut so that the
growth rings are close to 90 degrees to the surface of the board.
the most economical, and therefore the most common method is to cut
parallel slices along the length of the log, this produces a few
quarter sawn boards but mostly a mixture of plain-sawn rift-sawn boards.
Most construction strength boards have the grain running along their
The color difference between heartwood and sapwood in most species
does not generally mean that there is any difference in the mechanical
So much depends on the species, but generally the color difference is
resinous species such as Longleaf Pine may show an
in strength, due to the amount of resin which increases the
strength when it is dry.
There can also be a difference in
density, thus the hardness and strength and quality between latewood
which shows up as a difference in color.
again there are so many different environmental factors involved as
well as differences in species and differences between ‘diffuse-porous
woods’ and ‘ring-porous woods’ that it is impossible to generalise.
for ease of working, wood with straight grain and little in the way of
contrast between the latewood and early-wood is preferable.
for those of us who don’t have the luxury of being able to pick and
chose these differences are on the whole differences in degree.
for the majority of us building or restoring small boats there will be
more than enough of those desirable timber properties in the lumber we
buy if we chose a suitable
species and buy from a reputable lumber yard.
I am perfectly aware that the majority of Wooden Boat aficionados are sensible folk. However, I need to point out that I am an amateur wooden boat enthusiast simply writing in order to try to help other amateur wooden boat enthusiasts. And while I take every care to ensure that the information in DIY Wood Boat.com is correct, anyone acting on the information on this website does so at their own risk.