Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Plank, Oar, spar? Or all of the above

A month or so ago a crew was down the road taking down a bunch of trees that loomed over a neighbors house.  I got them to drop off the wood and wood chips at my place.  Most of the wood was cut up for fire wood but I had them leave five logs of a Spruce at lengths of 10 feet and they dropped them of for me as well.
I have begun milling the wood for future projects.
10 foot Spruce logs sitting in my driveway.  The one is a
good 2 feet in diameter. (in the background is the
temporary boat barn that has now been up 5 years)
I am thinking of using the wood for small boat spars.  I have built laminated solid spars and I think they work pretty well, though I'd like to try a "birdsbeak" hollow spar for a mast for the skiff.
I think I could also make some long rowing oars with this wood.  There is also the possibility of using it as planking in either a traditionally built boat or a strip plank hull.
The first two planks are about 18 inches by 10 feet by 2 inches thick
 I am storing them vertically for now.  I saw a video on OCH and in it Harry Bryan stores his cedar planks this way.  It allows for easy inspection and there is not much concern for that kind of wood changing shape as it dries. I don't know that I will leave them like this but for now it's convenient.

I am making a lot of saw dust, or shaving. which will be stored and then used as litter for the chicken coop.
 I am using a 16 inch electric poulan chain saw for the work.  It isn't ideal but it works pretty well and, I don't have to smell the exhaust of a combustion engine.  The nice thing about the electric is that when I release the trigger, it's off, and the torque it constant.  This saw was given to me by somebody clearing out there garage and it works pretty well.  I rather save my Stihl for the work where electricity is not available.
It is strange to see it looking more like lumber than a tree.
I had considered buying an attachment guide to help with the work but I saw some videos of guys, probably in the Philippines, doing using a chainsaw free hand and cutting these lovely hardwood planks, so I figured I'd try it.  I am glad that I did because the work has come out fine, or at least good enough for me.  The key is to go slow.  Using a chalk line to mark off the log helps to give continual reference for straight, at least in one dimension.

I'd love to be able to build an entire boat this way, and maybe this is enough wood to actually do it.  I don't know yet.  The next boat I want to build would be my trailerable cruiser, so something in the 15 to 17 foot range.  With 10 foot planks I suppose it is still possible with scarfs, or if I build a strip plank hull.  A strip plank hull seems like a really good idea, It is still a wood boat but no need to worry about seams opening up if it is dry sailed and having a limited supply of long clear wood does not preclude that style of construction.
I have read that Spruce is not the best for rot resistance, but I have it and nothing lasts for ever anyway, and I am OK with that.
I think a good 9 foot set of oars will be the first thing to make, or a new mast for the skiff.  We'll see.