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Old 26-09-2013, 19:17   #1
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What wood for a bowsprit?

Our Cheoy Lee Midshipman has some rot in the bowsprit. I need to replace it. If I had my choice it would be a big chunk of Teak, but finding that might be difficult and would probably break the bank if I did.

What would you use ? I'm thinking a piece of White Oak, but I'm no expert about this. Any thoughts, and why?

Thanks
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Old 26-09-2013, 19:25   #2
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

I used apitong to repair mine, and apitong is the original wood (38 years old). It's quite durable and fairly rot resistant. It's frequently used for the cargo bed of a truck so finding it in a major US city isn't too hard if you look it that area. It's kind of ugly so you'll probably want to paint it. It's also cheap.

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Apitong is a very dense and tough wood with a relatively coarse grain pattern. It is very harsh on ordinary steel tooling due to its extremely high mineral content. Apitong is highly durable and is chosen over other woods for applications where they may decay or there is exposure to abrasive wear. Apitong is similar to Lauan; however, it does not finish as well due to the coarseness of the grain structure. The heartwood is moderately dark brownish red in color.
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Old 26-09-2013, 19:43   #3
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

Aloha,
Just checked sailiboatdata and the Cheoy Lee Midshipman 40 there didn't have a bowsprit. At any rate, laminated Sitka Spruce would be great but I don't think you'll find it. I'm partial to Douglas Fir but it's a bit heavier. Whatever you use, keep lots of paint on it and where you drill through it line the holes with epoxy.
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Old 26-09-2013, 19:47   #4
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

We discovered rot in our bowsprit and replaced it. We had a SS box fabricated with all through bolts having welded in sleeves.

I believe some of the W32 owners that replaced others have also gone with douglas fir.
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Old 26-09-2013, 19:49   #5
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Aloha,
Just checked sailiboatdata and the Cheoy Lee Midshipman 40 there didn't have a bowsprit. At any rate, laminated Sitka Spruce would be great but I don't think you'll find it. I'm partial to Douglas Fir but it's a bit heavier. Whatever you use, keep lots of paint on it and where you drill through it line the holes with epoxy.


Spar quality Sitka is the way to go. Important factors for a sprit are rot resistance, strength, and light weight, in that order. Oak and many other hard woods are too heavy. Fir is a gamble, most kiln dried fir rots much too quickly, I wouldn't use it unless you have a source for quality quarter sawn VG fir that is sticker dried. Alaskan yellow cedar or even Port Orford (much rarer but o so nice) is also excellent for this.
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Old 26-09-2013, 20:01   #6
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

Fellow in my marina replaced his on a glass boat two years ago, he is a blacksmith. I replaced mine this spring. We both used 316. FWIW.

Expensive as hell,but lifetime warranty. Well, my lifetime anyway!

Here it is in the basement.
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Old 26-09-2013, 20:16   #7
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

I saw pictures of a nice bowsprit replacement on another Nor'sea 27 where the owner used Epi (also spelled Ipe) wood which is a pretty strong wood for the main structure and used teak on the sides surrounding the bow rollers. It really turned out beautifully.
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Old 26-09-2013, 20:29   #8
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

We had a friend use Alaskan yellow cedar for his bowsprit. Worked great. Highly rot resistant, easy to shape and strong.
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Old 26-09-2013, 20:35   #9
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

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We had a friend use Alaskan yellow cedar for his bowsprit. Worked great. Highly rot resistant, easy to shape and strong.


Smells damn good too. Beautiful color.
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Old 26-09-2013, 20:44   #10
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by austinsailor View Post
Our Cheoy Lee Midshipman has some rot in the bowsprit. I need to replace it. If I had my choice it would be a big chunk of Teak, but finding that might be difficult and would probably break the bank if I did.

What would you use ? I'm thinking a piece of White Oak, but I'm no expert about this. Any thoughts, and why?

Thanks
Teak is so expensive because the demand is high and supply is sadly very low, leave the poor teak trees alone and save yourself some loot in the process, there are lots of great boatbuilding woods to be had right here at home.

An excellent substitute for teak that is also a very sustainably harvested hardwood in North America is Black Locust. Abe Lincoln made fence posts out of it becuase of its superior rot resistance. It is similar in density and strength to teak, available in reasonably long lengths, and has a long history of use in American boatbuilding.

Robinia pseudoacacia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://blacklocustwood.com/aboutlocust.php

Alternately you might consider Bald Cypress, a softwood prized for its rot resistance which also has the benefit of being local to Texas and throughout the American South. Although not as dense or as strong as Black Locust is still and great boatbuilding wood available in long clear lengths with a straight grain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxodium
http://www.griffislumber.com/why_cypress.html

Avoid white oak unless you are going to paint it, it will get dark stains that won't go away. Douglass Fir is a fine wood, if not a bit underrated becuase it is more common. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is excellent but harder to come by. Good luck with your project, post some photos!
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Old 26-09-2013, 20:47   #11
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

Many good suggestions - I'll have to start looking at each one.

It appears that the 40 Midshipman was made in a couple configurations, with and without a bowsprit. I'll attach two pictures, taken from the Choey Lee association website. We're registered there, but have no pictures. Ours is like the one with a bowsprit.

To make it more complicated, most had a cutaway between the shoal keel and the skeg at the rudder. Some - at least ours - is full from the front of the keel to the rudder. A much too small rudder, I might add.

I'll also have to build a new stem fitting. All the stainless on the boat was rotten. About 5 years ago I replaced all the chainplates and made new fittings for the whisker stays. As I replace the bowsprite I'll also have to make that fitting. It goes on forever!
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Old 26-09-2013, 20:56   #12
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

Black Locust - interesting. I have some on my land in Missouri, although none big enough. I've made projects on my lathe with it. I'm sure there are big trees in the area, and it's considered trash there. I might have to search my neighbor's woods. I have a chainsaw, a sawmill and a planer so it might be a possibility.

The current project is removing the thin teak decks. I just gelcoated the front deck today, after refinishing the toerails, grinding the deck smooth and clean, laying glass on it, then gelcoating it. Never realized how big that deck was! And there is a lot of boat left.
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Old 26-09-2013, 21:05   #13
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

I used some old growth Fir.
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Old 26-09-2013, 21:20   #14
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by austinsailor View Post
Black Locust - interesting. I have some on my land in Missouri, although none big enough. I've made projects on my lathe with it. I'm sure there are big trees in the area, and it's considered trash there. I might have to search my neighbor's woods. I have a chainsaw, a sawmill and a planer so it might be a possibility.

The current project is removing the thin teak decks. I just gelcoated the front deck today, after refinishing the toerails, grinding the deck smooth and clean, laying glass on it, then gelcoating it. Never realized how big that deck was! And there is a lot of boat left.
Black Locust grows to decent sizes in the Northeast. Another similar wood you could consider that is also local to you is Honey Locust. It has similar density but is maybe not quite as rot resistant. Both are used for flooring due to their hardness.

Honey locust - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Somewhere not too far down on my project list I have to replace all of the Teak handrails and trim on my deck. I have been considering Black Walnut which might look pretty all varnished up. Walnut is another great American boatbuilding wood but might contrast too much if you already have some existing teak nearby, the Locust is lighter in color and might be a better match. If you leave the Locust unfinished it will turn silver and look like teak.
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Old 26-09-2013, 21:25   #15
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Re: What wood for a bowsprit?

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I used some old growth Fir.
Neat boat! Is that the one listed on Sailboatlistings.com?
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