And now a word about wood…

This picture illustrates the most difficult part about restoring an old wooden boat:


The bottom of the stack is a large timber of mahogany that was used for replacement deck beams.

The next up is a piece of 2″x8″ mahogany that was used as replacement planks.

The third piece up is a chunk of 1920’s British Columbia Douglas Fir. It was one of the old deck planks that was removed.

The top piece is a modern common douglas fir 2×4 (actually 1/75×3.75) available at any hardware store.

The modern doug fir has about 5 growth rings per inch, the 1920’s old growth has 25-30 rings per inch. Modern second or third growth fir is not appropriate boatbuilding material. It rots in months, not years. So we have to go after the better woods imported mahogany, sapele, teak, etc…

If you think this doesn’t sound cheap, you are correct. The average stick of wood for this boat costs between $100 and $200. There are two suppliers around here, Crosscut Hardwoods in Eugene (4 hour round trip) and Edensaw Woods in Port Townsend (16 hour round trip). The good news is the box of stainless screws I most commonly use (#14×2.5″SS square drive) is only $44.

The hull planks are Norwegian Larch, air dried and delivered in a couple of shipping crates during the 1990’s. Most of it went in to Neil Young’s huge sailboat yacht, and the rest into my friend Dan’s 1917 salmon seiner Pheonix III. Dan and I made a road trip to Port Townsend a couple of months ago to pick up some true 2×10 twenty foot planks:


All in all, the skills can be attained, most parts can be found online or fabricated in town, but the hardest part of a restoration is finding quality wood that is as good as the original.




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