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 Post subject: Teak for canoe trim?
PostPosted: January 16th, 2007, 6:46 am 
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Joined: October 26th, 2004, 12:25 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
Just wondering why teak is "never" mentioned as a suitable wood selection for canoe trim (e.g. gunnels/thwarts/seats...)

Great wood for durability in wet environments, and is readily available in long length with straight grain... well at least here in Holland it is.

Any valid reason why cherry/ash/mahogany/WRC is preferred for trim, and Teak considered "undesired"?

Michel, The Netherlands


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2007, 7:05 am 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Could be because in Canada i would have to sell a kidney to afford it......I would like to use it, apparently it has excellent rot resistance.....I'm not sure why there is a preference for certain types of wood for trim, I use whatever is at hand..I've used black and white ash, birch, oak, fir, maple......use whatever is available...to me, teak sounds like the perfect choice.


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2007, 7:36 am 
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Location: Toronto
Usually EXTREAMLY expensive, Triple the price of local hardwoods. Also, it is usually harvested in exceptionally environmentally damaging methods. It is also pretty darn heavy for the strentgh. People are normally trying for lightweight.

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PostPosted: January 16th, 2007, 11:03 am 
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In addition to the cost, the teak, I've handled is pretty dense. So long as weight isn't an issue, I don't see why you couldn't use it. It's pretty available, even in reasonably long lengths via marine woodworkers.

Since canoes rarely spend all their time exposed to the elements, woods that are both lighter and maybe even stronger than teak (ie: ash) have dominated canoe gunwales. Mahogany seems to have more of the stringy nature that ash has than teak... so I'd guess it was both easier to locate and more reasonable to use mahogany than teak. I have two canoes with mahogany rails, and another with walnut rails and they are pretty. Cherry is nowhere near as strong as ash. The ash seems to hold together just as well despite my using those many times as much as the exotics.

PK


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2007, 4:42 pm 
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Teak is an oily wood and this makes it resistant to decay, and suitable for marine use. The oil content and the dense structure might not take varnish well because the wood will not absorb it.... also ordinary glues might not soak in well enough for a really strong bond. Teakwood oil seems to be the usual finish.

I haven't worked with it and can't say whether it will be as tough as ash, maple, yellow birch or other hardwoods. My guess is that it'll be OK for outwales since it has a reputation for being resilient and durable, and if the outwales are kept thin, the heaviness wouldn't be a problem. A glue joint here will probably not be all that secure or reliable, use screws.

The last thing you want after preparing a thin outwale is for it to snap at some point because of brittleness... so it might be an idea to get some sample pieces first to see if they're as resilient and durable as the hardwoods normally used... ash and yellow birch especially, are not brittle and will bend quite a bit before breaking. This is something you want in gunwales, so that the ability to take shocks without breaking is there.

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PostPosted: January 16th, 2007, 4:59 pm 
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Joined: October 26th, 2004, 12:25 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
My brothers works in the sailing yacht business, so he has experience with working with teak. It is commonly used in yacht building for railings and wooden decks, where long lengths are bend to follow the shape of the hull.
So bending and strength is no issue.
As for the prise there are different qualities available - and yes the best is very-very expensive.

My personal opinion is that teak is probably not often used because of:
1) high price compared to ash - and ash/cherry are good alternatives, although ash is not very rot resistant
2) teak will not comply with common glues/varnishes/epoxies .. special types/qualities will have to be used

I've trouble finding long length (16ft) of ash in Netherlands, so are considering teak. Don't know yet if I will use it.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2007, 1:47 pm 
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Joined: July 18th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Mounds View, Minnesota US
Weight.

Historically, white spruce was the preferred gunwale wood, with h mahogany an upgrade. The story is that when spruce became hard to get, Chestnut switched to ash, even though it has little rot resistance. It seems that Old Town continued to use spruce. With Chestnut using ash, folks got used to it and it's use expanded.

These days many builders use cherry, as it looks very nice. I suspect most current W/C builders use little ash, as it's heavy and discolors (rot spores) quickly when exposed to water. Cherry is a better choice.

Stika spruce is now the preferred gunwales wood with many builders, with cherry or h mahogany for the outers.

Dan


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2007, 3:25 pm 
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Here's a paragraph from Pierre Pulling's 1954 "Principles of Canoeing"...

Quote:
Most canvas canoes are ordinarily manufactured with both inwales and outwales made of spruce. Spruce outwales splinter easily. You can get outwales in oak at slight extra cost, and they add very little to the craft's weight. They are much more satisfactory.


He must have been talking about shock resistance when describing oak being more satisfactory, since it does splinter along the grain with time. Ash is more resistant to this but he only recommends ash for paddles and describes yellow birch as "hard to beat" for thwarts.

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2007, 11:22 pm 
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If you can afford it, teak is a great wood to use. One of the reasons it is so dense is has an oily preservative throughout it's stucture. But that doesn't make it stronger, because the oil that adds the wieght doesn't add strength. That being said it's a very nice wood to work with. And it does need special glues and finishes. I have once again misplaced my copy of Bruce Hoadley's - Understanding Wood, or I'd look up the exact specs for you. If you can borrow a copy from the library, it will probably tell you everyting you need to know.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2007, 6:46 am 
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Location: London, Ontario, Canada
Any local wood available?

Ash is probably the most common wood used. If not sealed properly it will go black, with mould.

Doug

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2007, 6:39 pm 
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WHich probably explains why one species is called "black ash", and why I'm always hearing people say, "git yer black ash outta here." OK, I couldn't resist. :lol:

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Last edited by normhead on January 18th, 2007, 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2007, 7:06 pm 
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Or as I like to say, "Nothing like a good piece of ash".




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 Post subject: Teak,
PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 1:14 pm 
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Joined: March 5th, 2007, 9:53 am
Posts: 574
Location: Belleville, ON
The reason its not as popular here (North America) is cost and weight like many others have said.

As an alternative, an exceptional relatively environmentally friendly North American wood with similar properties would be Black Locust. Highly rot resistant, durable, hard, exceptionally strong... But not light in large pieces. (Black locust grows very quickly and is quite invasive in open conditions making it excellent for tree farming.)

I think a really neat hull would be one made with foam core, black locust veneer, and glass/epoxy sealing. Light weight, high stiffness, durable AND esthetically pleasing.

Anyone have 150+ sqft of black locust veneer they'd be willing to donate? :D


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