Solid Wood on Wherry

I'm building a wherry and want to replace some of the ply components with solid timber.  I'm going to use King Billy Pine (a Tasmanian timber that has traditionally been used in boatbuilding), but here's my question: I want to use it for the fore and aft decks, but am concerned about fixing the timber in place with epoxy without any allowance for movement (I'm a furniture maker by profession so know all about timber movement).  Should I stick with the ply and and all its relative stability or risk the solid and ll its beauty?  Has anyone else done the same?  Advice, warnings, caveats?  Thanks,

Scott


4 replies:

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RE: Solid Wood on Wherry

Scott,

Since timber movement is caused by the wood absorbing & releasing water, completely coating the wood with a waterproof layer of epoxy should prevent it from happening. The wood gets encapsulated in plastic, its water content is fixed and all you have to worry about is thermal expansion (which is pretty low for wood).

If I was doing it, I'd cover both sides of the deck with a light layer of glass (4 oz. or so). By the time you get through filling the weave, there will be a good even layer of epoxy everywhere. I'd pay particular attention to the unglassed edges of the wood when applying the epoxy. And, I'd do all this before gluing the wood into the boat.

Between the epoxy and the varnish, I'd be astonished if the water content of the wood ever changed. And if that doesn't change, there's no movement.

Have fun,

Laszlo

 

RE: Solid Wood on Wherry

Scott,

I did the same thing on my Chester Yawl. I installed the plywood decks as per plans. I then planed down some red cedar to half inch and epoxyed it down to the ply. On the exposed ends I matched the end grain of the cedar with another piece of cedar to cover the end grain of the ply. Everything was epoxyed and varnished as usual. It's been two years now and my boat sits in the lake all season with no problems yet.

 

Don

RE: Solid Wood on Wherry

I suppose epoxy  differs from other finishes (lacquer, oil, etc.) in so far as it completely seals the wood, preventing  the gain and loss of moisture entirely rather than simply inhibiting it.  What a wonderful substance! Thanks again to the invaluable advice of the builder's forum.  The generosity and enthusiasm of fellow builders never fails to amaze me.

Scott

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