Blue Viking

Wooden Canoe Maniac
:confused: Went to Pembroke, Maine, over the weekend with my canoe making buddy, and while he was picking and stacking his wood in the trailer, i got talking with the owner/sawyer. He was not familiar witht the terms "face" and "edge" and started mentioning terms I didnt understand. Now I am totally confused.
Can anyone explain in simpler terms and descriptions, which cut is the "Face" and which is the "edge" and which is the best for making ribs and which is best for planks.
Thanks....(Trip was 974 miles roundtrip!..but well worth it!)
Face and edge don't really apply to the grain orientation of the wood, but rather to the wide and short sides of the plank, regardless of grain orientation. Though some may apply these terms to quarter sawn and flat sawn wood. As most lumber yard lumber is, typically, flat sawn, then it often follows that the face is the flat sawn grain and the edge is the quarter sawn grain.
To add to Doug's comments, which are correct,
often the terms "face grain" and "edge grain" are used as "slang" for flat grain and quarter sawn edge grain.

As for which is "best", usually planking is made from wood that is cut with the grain running from 90 degrees to maybe 45 degrees to the face or outside surface. This is done to reduce buckling. For planking that is installed without much bending, the 90 degree grain works well, but if the plank is bent, then planking with the grain at 45 or so degrees works better, as it has less tendency to crack. (this bending is across the plank, not lengthwise.) With this said, some builders/manufacturers use/used flat or face grain planking on their canoes.

For ribs it's less clear, builders and manufacturers have used both face and edge grain for ribs. More experienced guys may correct me, but, it seems like on older canoes, manufacturers preferred face/flat grain as it flexes easier but on newer versions, they have gone to "edge" grain, or even a mix of face and edge grain for the ribs.

As an example of this, I have 2 Old Town 17' HW canoes, one a 1928 model, the other a 1950 model. The '28 model has flat/face grain ribs, which are slightly smaller dimensions then the '50 model, which has "edge" grain ribs, ranging from maybe 45 to 70 degrees, none are 90 degree grain.

If you're doing a restoration, try to match the grain and color of what is currently in the canoe, for both the ribs and planking.

Also, dependig on the manufacturer, at least on the US side, most/many of the manufacturers switched to western red cedar for planking back in maybe the 20's(?), so get that for your planking stock, and try to get boards of several different colors to help match the existing planking.

Thanks for those responses...I replaced 3 ribs in a Chestnut (after breaking 5 to get the three!) I think that problem was becasue I didnt use a metal strap to help keep the wood compressed. Have put my "stuff" away for the winter (restored a 47 Sebago Lake WCBoat, an OTCA, cleaned and repaired an 18 Strip square stern, and repaired,cleaned and repainted my 74 Stowe) In the spring I am going to have to tackle the challenge of lifetime:eek: I have a White Boy Scout Canoe that as far as I can tell will need numerouse ribs and planking, along with new inwales and outwales. I am sure you are going to see me on here a lot then asking for HELP!:D This forum is the best and so are you guys....Maybe some day I will be able to offer something to help answer one of those questions. B]