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Old 27-09-2013, 19:17   #46
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Roy M could you suggest a species? Teak would be low for me. Given yours years and my brief read you haven't suggested a wood . Maybe I missed you recommendation . Surprised Minaret suggests Sitka. Low weight to to strength but were not worried about weight so much. Strong and rot resistant. Why would you use Sitka for a fixed bowsprit?
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Old 27-09-2013, 19:22   #47
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

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Originally Posted by Roy M View Post
Having been a shipwright for many years now, I always enjoy hearing of the individual choices for wood on boats. Some folks choose apitong for applications where high abrasion resistance is warranted, others choose high strength-to-weight species like spruce or even vertical grain fir for spars that need the flexibility, others use teak for its durability in static applications such as decks. Reading that some folks have made the decisions to turn some of these applications on their heads is entertaining, but a little sad. The bowsprit has a physical purpose, not ornamental. It has to stick out there, holding a high tension headstay, buttressed by the complementary bobstay to keep it from snapping off. It is a spar which flexes slightly as the sails pull it one way and the force of crashing into the seas cause it to sag a small amount the other way. But it is best served by a forgiving material that tolerates a degree of flexibility and LIGHT WEIGHT. Using apitong or teak makes it considerably heavier, with no redeeming value. It's like having a permanent, HEAVY crewmember sitting on the bow doing nothing. Building a mast of teak probably sounds like a good idea for someone who doesn't know much about strength of materials or how boats work, but it doesn't work well at all as a spar. Save the dense, hard woods for purposes that are better suited such as skid plates for anchor chain, deadeyes in traditional rigging, or belaying pins that get lots of friction. Use the spruce, cedar and light fir for spars. Save the teak for cabinets, and if desperate, for decks. Don't just use a particular wood species because it looks nice, or is unusual, or because you have a seasoned trunk laying in the backyard that is going to waste. Do some research to check out if your particular need is satisfied with a certain wood. You will be using the collective wisdom of centuries of boat builders who learned the hard way what works and what fails over time.

The other part of the discussion is what do you do to protect the material from failing. Spars don't do well when left unfinished, or even clear-coated with varnish. Ultraviolet light is powerful stuff, leading to minute fractures in the protective finish, allowing water to enter, and if it's fresh water, that means dry rot, the subject of the original issue with the bowsprit. If you can't keep up the maintenance and elect to use a tougher wood species like apitong, mahogany, teak or whatever, you will still be facing the issues of the natural forces working on the wood, but you will be thinking it's taken care of because your wood doesn't rot. In reality, you may be simply substituting one issue for another. Use the right wood for the purpose, maintain it religiously, and enjoy watching the bow rise to oncoming waves, rather than drag upward with effort.
Kind of strange you claim such knowledge, write so many words, and never answer the question. Is it a shipwright secret you are not allowed to share?
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Old 27-09-2013, 19:41   #48
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Kind of strange you claim such knowledge, write so many words, and never answer the question. Is it a shipwright secret you are not allowed to share?
He noted "spruce, cedar, light fir"
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Old 27-09-2013, 19:57   #49
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Yikes. Cedar? Fir with real tight annual rings maybe. Spruce is great except I don't want this stuff in a spot like a sprit. Spruce will rot if its wet and not sealed. Why these woods are suggested by shipwrights escapes me. Good to be wrong so let's here why spruce or cedar are the choice of 2 experienced shipwrights.
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Old 27-09-2013, 20:19   #50
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

The wooden boats that I grew up with mostly had spruce masts, gaffs & spars. Based on that, I would assume that spruce would be a good choice, but I have no other information upon which to base that opinion.
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Old 27-09-2013, 20:28   #51
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No man the spruce is great sticking up in the air. Tucked up at the coaming with the fittings and bedding you don't use spruce . It's a hard target. Hard stuff like locust , oak Purple Heart are better. We're not so worried about weight so low down. You want strength and resistance.
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Old 27-09-2013, 21:16   #52
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

Yall might think a little out of the box, and try looking at black cypress, most of this is under water for years, tough as a rock, hard as hell, and it don't rot ! And is plain "buetymuss!!" It is really great looking and we get it down here for way less then teak or any old growth west coast woods. Just a thought I just replaced the sprit on the ketch we just sold, and it was really much a selling point LOL
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Old 27-09-2013, 21:23   #53
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Old 27-09-2013, 23:04   #54
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I thought black locust and Purple Heart were out if the box. Cedar is so far out that it should not be considered.
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Old 27-09-2013, 23:04   #55
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

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No man the spruce is great sticking up in the air. Tucked up at the coaming with the fittings and bedding you don't use spruce . It's a hard target. Hard stuff like locust , oak Purple Heart are better. We're not so worried about weight so low down. You want strength and resistance.


You might not be worried about weight down low, but the shipwrights here are clearly worried about weight out at the ends of the boat, particularly at the bow. This is why chain lockers are generally arranged to stow the chain as far aft and as low down as possible, many designs are very sensitive to weight up high on the bow. It won't change how the boat trims if it can bear the load, which it almost certainly can (unless you build a ferro sprit), but everyone knows weight on the bow causes hobbyhorsing. This is why I stated weight is a primary concern in my first post here.
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Old 27-09-2013, 23:09   #56
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

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Yikes. Cedar? Fir with real tight annual rings maybe. Spruce is great except I don't want this stuff in a spot like a sprit. Spruce will rot if its wet and not sealed. Why these woods are suggested by shipwrights escapes me. Good to be wrong so let's here why spruce or cedar are the choice of 2 experienced shipwrights.


Alaskan Yellow Cedar bears very little resemblance to the common Western Red Cedar. Vastly superior in every way. Port Orford Cedar is even better. More rot resistant than teak, half the weight, and stronger (at least, stronger than the crap teak they sell these days).


http://www.glen-l.com/wood-plywood/bb-chap5d.html


http://www.glen-l.com/wood-plywood/bb-chap5e.html


http://cdlumber.com/species/portorford.html


http://www.bearcreeklumber.com/custo...s/pocboat.html
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Old 27-09-2013, 23:13   #57
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Your kidding? Right. Cedar? Spruce? On the op boat were not worried about 5 lbs of bow sprit weight . Course oracle just got slammed for adding weight in the bow. Spruce or cedar is not the choice material for a bow sprit. No way.
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Old 27-09-2013, 23:32   #58
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

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Your kidding? Right. Cedar? Spruce? On the op boat were not worried about 5 lbs of bow sprit weight . Course oracle just got slammed for adding weight in the bow. Spruce or cedar is not the choice material for a bow sprit. No way.


Read the links I posted and learn. Note that Port Orford is the only lumber on the chart listed as light weight, strong, and very rot resistant. And we are talking about much more than five lbs. Why don't you let the OP educate himself and decide for himself whether he (or she) is worried about it?
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Old 27-09-2013, 23:40   #59
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

This is the worlds oldest wooden building. It is built largely from Port Orford Cedar, as are most ancient Japanese temples. The Japanese could choose to use any Asian lumber they want, including teak. But they build in Port Orford.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hōryū-ji



Ancient Japanese Temples
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Old 28-09-2013, 00:06   #60
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I admire your knowledge and skill base.you first advocated Sitka which in my mind is a poor choice. Quote " Sitka is the way to go" Cedar as a structure for a building is very different then a bow sprit. Spruce especially Sitka is magnificent for a mast. It will rot like compost meal if its wet. It will rot faster much faster then good yellow pitch pine. Black locust is amazing in its strength. Laminated woods are very good at weight strength ratios. None of this means that they are good choices for a bow sprit. Guess we will just disagree. I won't link how good hard yellow pine real hard yellow pine is cause I have no data . It's damn good and resists rot better then cedar or spruce. When used correctly. Locust will out perform your cedar bowsprit on every load and rot resistance test. Not going to build a mast of locust cause that's not where it works best. Sitka masts are great. Not going to plank a boat in locust. I'd plank it in cedar because its one if the best materials for that. Why are you posting links to building structures? That is not the same application. But you know this and more.
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