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Old 13-02-2007, 11:59   #1
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A question I'll be scolded for...

I bought a 26' boat. Looking to learn the ropes with it, that is to say this boat is a hull with sails. I need to replace the two hatches on the boat. Here it comes......can I use oak and treat the hell out of the wood? Im in college and I am on a VERY tight budget. Looking forward to responses on this one.
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Old 13-02-2007, 12:10   #2
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Did you buy the Clipper Marine / Columbia ? Good luck with the boat.

Oak has a tendency to warp and cup. You might think about using exterior plywood and painting the hell out of it.
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Old 13-02-2007, 12:20   #3
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The only dumb question is the one you don't ask........

Not quite sure where these hatches are (forehatch or Mainhatch / Companionway??) and whether you are talking the frames or the hatches themselves, but IMO what material you use for something like this (and how you treat it) is pretty much up to, your budget.......and taste! Off the shelf forehatches are wildly expensive, but something made out of wood is perfectly acceptable - that's what they used to be made from.....

The only caveat being that whilst these are not structural as such they should be designed and constructed to be "fit for purpose" - but someone could make a very weak job out of 1/2 inch steel and another a good job out of a few bits and pieces of plywood from a skip. (I would go for the plywood option for cheapness and ease of construction and epoxy fill away any "sins" and then paint or varnish - but your wood skills may be better than mind. Would not be too hard!)

FWIW Oak would be considered an "Expensive" option in my part of the world - I am guessing that you have located a cheap source?!........

......it has just occurred to me that you may be talking about Oak straight off the tree, in which case I will admit complete ignorance as to what needs doing to the wood before using it - do you wanna clarify before those who do know about this stuff arrive?!
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Old 13-02-2007, 12:30   #4
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Hey Morgan,

I did not buy the hulk yet. I am just figuring the angles right now. Doing a cost analysis.
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Old 13-02-2007, 12:32   #5
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I know nothing about wood, but as I was inside of the sauna at my boses house last night the thought came to me.. "Why don't I use cedar for my cabin soles?"
I am not sure if cedar would work or not but it sure smells and looks good
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Old 13-02-2007, 12:46   #6
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Hi Ativa

I am using cedar in the Vberth on my Morgan 36. I bought it at Home Depot. I tore out the water saturated teak and holly cabin sole and replaced it with composite deck boards. I don't have the money for teak and I don't want to become a slave to the boat. Cedar is a soft wood and it will not hold up under traffic.

Paul
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Old 13-02-2007, 12:54   #7
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Aloha Drexel and Ativa,
Drexel you can use oak or clear douglas fir for the frame and plywood for the top. Treat and paint it well and it will last for years. If you go to a salvage place and buy some lexan or plexiglass scrap large enough for the top you'll have a great skylight.
If you have to replace interior bulkheads from water damage you can use construction grade exterior plywood that has been soaked through and through with epoxy but it would be better to use marine grade because it has more plys and more water proof glue holding it together.
Ativa, for a cabin sole you want something tough and durable. Cedar is too soft. You can make quite a mark in it with your fingernail. For the insides of hanging lockers it would really put out quite an aroma.
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Old 13-02-2007, 13:08   #8
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Drexel, somewhere in your campus library they MUST have engineering reference books on the properties of various woods. The US Forestry Service or another agency has published them over the years if none of the trade groups have.

Look at the numbers for water resistance, rot resistance, strength. "Oak" means nothing, white oak and red oak are both oak, but they aren't at all the same.

There's also a good library at the New York Yacht Club in NYC, and if you ask as a student they might let you in to visit. Probably some good references on the selection criteria for woods there.

ML CONDON Lumber, 248 Ferris Ave. White Plains, NY 10603 tel: 914-946-4111 fax: 914-946-3779 might be the closest source of "marine" grade lumbers for you, the good stuff often isn't stocked locally at all.
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Old 13-02-2007, 13:21   #9
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Ohh yes, all of the data is here at Drexel. I could do alot of things with many materials etc and so on...but like I said, budget. This boat is going to patched togther so I can just go and sail. Looks like the local store it is for me.
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Old 13-02-2007, 13:27   #10
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which oak?

Not that it really matters when you down to it, but what type of oak are you talking? Red? White? FYI white oak was/is used extensively in the construction of wooden boats. That's a good indicator of it's suitability. Red oak can also be used, but it's not as oily a wood, and therefore needs more care in saturating the wood fibers with a good sealer. BUT, any wood could really be used as long as you paint/varnish/epoxy/oil it so that it's sealed from the elements. Back in the day, I made a cockpit hatch board for an old San Juan using plain old white pine. Sealed the heck out of it with wood sanding sealer, applied a coat of resin, then paint. Other than needing repainting form time to time it's still in good shape 20 years later.

go for it
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Old 13-02-2007, 13:35   #11
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Drex

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This boat is going to patched togther so I can just go and sail.
That is a good attitude. You don't have to restore the boat to "Mint condition". Make it seaworthy and sail.

Paul
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Old 13-02-2007, 16:40   #12
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Oak is an open grain wood which has the strength but the open grain will open up if any moisture or exposure happens. Better to use tropical american mahagony which is about the same price. Make the frame from this and then use a marine ply top or plexi which will add light and be easier to maintain. Seal and paint the hell out of the plywood all the way around and bed with sikaflex construction adhesive which is better than the marine sealant they make for permanent bonding It's a nice touch to varnish the frames which will add some beauty to the boat.

Good luck if you buy her.
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Old 13-02-2007, 17:45   #13
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Use what you have. Epoxy as much as you can, and just realize you will likely be replacing it in a couple of years. If you are talking oak plywood, just go with a standard exterior ply, don't spend the extra money, as it will provide no benefit, Make sure all end grains are thoroughy coated with epoxy, and paint everything.
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Old 13-02-2007, 17:47   #14
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One other note, if you are talking about lumber, not plywood, mahogany is not much more than oak. For a small amount, there are some good sources around, especially for small quantities.
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Old 13-02-2007, 18:43   #15
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Benny is right on. Oak is not a good choice for wood that will get alot of exposure. It will be hard to get a long lasting finish and it will look like sh*t after the finish breaks down and weathers a bit. Oak is used in traditional wooden boat constuction for frames and other stuctural elements, seldom for exterior trim. Although softer western red cedar would work well (it is commonly used for planking). If you get it from your local home supply center you will have to pick thru the pile as probably 1 in 25 boards is tight grain boat builder quality. It will also probably be green so some drying time may be in order. My choice would be mahagony even though most of the stuff on the market is African Mahagony which is somewhat inferior to the stuff from Central America. I have been slowly drawing down my large stash of Honduran Mahogany that I salvaged from a building demolition about 10 years ago. It is beautiful stuff. Of couse we all know about teak but the price is just crazy. If you use fir ply for the hatch cover you should sheath it with a light layer of fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Paint and or resin only will not work on fir ply exposed to the elements. It will check and crack sooner or later. The oak ply that I commonly see at the "Depot" is ment for cabinet building and may not be rated for exterior use.
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