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Stem Material besides ash?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Brian J Knudsen, Nov 17, 2020.

  1. Brian J Knudsen

    Brian J Knudsen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I am trying to find air-dried ash, and I'm not having much success. Is there something else that works really well for a stem?

    I understand people have used cedar for small stem repairs. I've also read about people using laminated techniques. I'd like to try to steam bend a new stem and then scarf it onto the old stem at about the second cant rib. If I can't find ash is there anything else that can be used? I think I read that elm was used way back in the beginning. Can you use white oak for a stem?

    Thank you,
  2. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    White oak makes an excellent stem.
    Brian J Knudsen likes this.
  3. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Hi Dan notes, white oak will do the trick.
    Having said that, I'm wondering if it might be just as easy to replace the entire stem as to splice it that far back. Usually a stem splice is done on the top 1/3 of it...Possibly you are trying to save the SN's on the stem? You could remove them off the old stem and move them to the new one? Your table or band saw could make short work of that.
    WRT ash, I had 4 trees fall in the wind this week. I'll be cutting up a boat load of ash with my chainsaw today. You don't mention where you live but here in the North East we have an abundance of ash and most of it has been affected by the emerald ash borer. You may not find it in the lumber yard but you can certainly get long sections of clear wood. If you can figure out how to get it, I'd be more than happy to run the saw and cut you all you need. I also know a few local folks who can supply you with pre-cut material...there's a nearby canoe shop with a saw mill on premise. Post here or PM...there is lot's of ash available.
    And...if you want to torture yourself, I have an elm tree I plan to cut next year....I let it grow so that I could use it for stems.
    Rushton used elm. From my experience restoring Rushton canoes the elm seems to have a wicked tendency to split, twist and rot...but does it stay hard as nails when it's cared for....
    Brian J Knudsen likes this.
  4. OP
    Brian J Knudsen

    Brian J Knudsen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you for the responses. I am hoping to save the serial numbers on the stem. My apologies for not understanding... how could you transfer the numbers if not by scarfing in the new stem above where the numbers are stamped? It sounds like I can use oak. I'll go ahead and try to bend the white oak and if I can get ash in time then I'll try that. Great information. Thanks.
  5. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    After you remove the old stem with the SN you want to save take it to your saw and lay it on it's side and carefully saw the top of it off to remove the SN. On your new stem cut a notch out that matches the piece with the SN. Using a good bonder (I would go for the G-Flex) laminate the number onto your new stem. Clean up the sides and 'Bob's you uncle". Yes, this is a kluge but it works and no one will ever know unless you make a sloppy joint.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020

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