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Kiln dried or green basswood strips??

Discussion in 'Strippers, Stitch-n-Glue, and Other Wood Composite' started by grd1984, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. grd1984

    grd1984 New Member

    I have a great source for inexpensive basswood close by and I have the option of getting it either green right off the mill or kiln dried. I thought I read somewhere that they used to make basswood canoes with green lumber, I could be making that up though. Would using green lumber cause problems?
  2. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The only time you would use green lumber is when steambending, e.g. for stems, as the steaming process is a drying process. Basswood plank canoes would have been built using air-dried lumber, which is the preference for nearly all boatbuilding woods. For a stripper, air-dried or kiln-dried will be fine, but you will probably have problems using green lumber for your boat due to shrinkage and adhesion of the resin.
  3. Mark Neuzil

    Mark Neuzil Paddler

    I have used steam-bent basswood on stems to good effect, but I can't think of another appropriate application for green lumber.
  4. OP

    grd1984 New Member

    Here's another question: how should I have him mill the log to get strips out of it. I want a vertical grain for the strips, right?, so would it work best just to plain saw it across in 1" thick slabs? Or is there a more efficient way of milling it?
  5. Mark Neuzil

    Mark Neuzil Paddler

    Are you planning to make the entire boat of basswood? You do see them here in the upper Midwest fairly often because of the wood's light weight and availability.
  6. OP

    grd1984 New Member

    That's the plan, I'm in Kentucky so access to cedar is fairly limited, 8' eastern white cedar is pretty much all I can get here. I can get full length basswood for pretty cheap though!
  7. Mark Neuzil

    Mark Neuzil Paddler

    Probably won't matter much if it's quarter sawn or plain sawn, except to your pocketbook, given the lightness of grain on basswood. I'd go plain.
  8. Ed Moses

    Ed Moses LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I have sawn basswood on my Woodmizer sawmill, wanted to try making basswood paddles. You might benefit from what I found. Even with a brand new , sharp blade, you get an unacceptable fuzzy board surface cutting basswood. Apparently basswood grain cuts with a lot of grain tear out rather than giving you a smooth cut board surface as with harder woods. The woodmizer cuts wood sooo smooth that you normally only have to sand board surfaces rather than plane in order to get a good surface finish . I experimented and modified my mill's forward speed thinking that a much slower cut might be necessary, with no descernable difference in board surface.

    I would recommend that you consider having your sawyer cut your boards 5/4 ( 1.25 ") as this will give you ample thickness to be able to plane your boards down to an accurate finish thickness of 1", assuming that is your desired finish thickness prior to routing your cove and bead edges on your strips. If your desired finish board thickness prior to routing cove & bead is 3/4", then 1" rough cut boards should be fine. Plain sawn boards would be OK as most of your strips cut from them would turn out to be vertical grain ranging from approximately 45 degrees to 90 degrees.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  9. Jon Bouton

    Jon Bouton Sucker for an Indian Girl

    Agreed. Basswood saws and sands rough, but cuts beautifully with a knife. Or plane. If you have patience and some skill, a jack bench plane leaves a wonderful smooth surface.
  10. Mark Neuzil

    Mark Neuzil Paddler

    Don't overlook a cabinet scraper, either.

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