Cypress for Inwales?

Steve Ambrose

Nut in a Canoe
Anyone used cypress successfully? I found some with fairly straight, tight grain but I've only had a 50% success rate pre-bending the ends. Seems to be splitting far too easily and I'm concerned about it's ability to hold fasteners. Old Town used cypress outwales on Molitors for a while so I thought it would be a good substitute for spruce which I can't get down here. Other suggestions for an appropriate substitute would be appreciated. I can usually get ash in 16' but didn't want to add unnecessary weight.
I haven't much experience with cypress rails, but ash works quite well. Canadian canoe builders have used ash rails for a long time. Gil
I used it

I used it once and liked it. I did not have to put severe bends to it. The gradual bends that I did went without a hitch. As I recall I pre-soaked the rails and then steamed them right onto the canoe, sliding my flexible steam hose back as I went along. I thought it was like working with spruce and cedar. I would not hesitate using it again if I ever came accross some.
I used 7/8" cypress boards to carvel plank a catboat. They took good bends after a solid hour of steaming. Don't rush them. A millwright friend used a trick to bend complex moulding, he'd pre-soak overnight in fabric softner before steaming. <--That last bit's an FYI. I never tried it and would be skeptical about the wood holding a finish after that treatment.
Thanks guys. I used ash for the inwales on the Old Town I reworked and they worked out fine. A little heavier than I prefer but probably not that much weight gain considering the small amount of material.

Closer inspection of the splits in the cypress revealed some funky grain on one and a check that grew on the other so both could have been avoided had I been more careful in my selection to begin with. :eek: