Port Orford Cedar Gunwale


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I am restoring a Racine Boat Co. Chippewa and need to do some minor repair the outer gunwales. I need to scarf in maybe 12 to 16 inches in the middle of one and repair the tips. Otherwise the gunwales are in great shape. The old catalogs say the gunwales are Oregon Cedar, which I assume is Port Orford Cedar. Being from the Midwest, this wood is not readily available to me. Does anyone have any thoughts on how white cedar would compare to the Port Orford if I used it for the repair? Alternatively, does anyone know of a source for a small quantity of Port Orford Cedar? Thanks.
If you lightly sand the wood you will know immediately, POC has a very distinctive smell. It is also very rot resistant, and there's some great reading on it, it is under strict control for harvesting. As Dave Wermuth will tell you, it is one of the best arrow woods for traditional archery. If its not POC then you will have an easier time sourcing white cedar.
Rose City would be able to direct you to some stock, and possibly ship a piece to you.
I agree

Port Orford, occasionally mis-called 'Port Oxford' is what makes arrow making so enjoyable. I think they are close enough that I would not mind substituting northern white. Cypress also comes to mind when pondering woods of that ilk. I wonder if pieces of Port Orford could be found at places like Woodcraft or Rockler?
There is a big difference in color. Using NWC will require dyeing/staining to match. West coast wood resources, I would try Gilmer Wood Supply in Portland. Any sizeable piece of POC for scarfing to rails repairs is probably going to cost. As you are not looking for instrument or arrow quality you may be able to find useable wood at a lower price. Rockler and Woodcraft would not be places I would look. Contact some of the west coast repair people and see what they have to say.
Bear Creek Lumber, bearcreeklumber.com in WA has POC give them a call. They clear and construction grade.
Racine as well

I too am restoring a RBC. I have not stripped or sanded the gunwales yet so I do not know the wood but I will need to scarf in a repair in at least one section in the inwall and replace an out wall, both port side. I am not too far away in Racine Wis. Lets keep in contact and compare notes on our successes.
Good to know tnelson. I will certainly post some pictures as I go (assuming I can remember to take them as I usually start working and remember afterwards that I should have had the camera out). Anyway, most of the sources of POC I found online seemed to deal in large quanities or minimums of $100, much more than I needed. However, Vince at pacificcoastwoods.net says he can ship the small amount I need. I will let you know how it works out.
Tom Barriball
Photos posted

If you search the forums for Racine you will find a thread by Kathryn Klos -Racinewis. There are a number of photos of my RBC Seneca 18 posted there. Notice the photo of the broken gunwales at a thwart in photo 3 and the broken stem in photo 2. Both bow and aft stems are broken in the same location and same angle. I am wondering if this is an old repair. I can not see why this would build the canoe like this.

Thanks for the info on the replacement gunwales. I hope to start on this shortly. I am excited to see the wood come back to life.

I actually initiated this thread and really need POC, not NWC to stay consistent with the wood on the gunwales I am repairing. The total length I need is probably less than six feet.

Kettle Moraine (kmhardwoods.com) does have white cedar, but most of it has knots, so you'd have to look through the stack. I was just talking to them today at the woodworking show. Very conveniently located, right off I-94.

Another vendor at the show was from Oregon: www.cookwoods.com. He said that if they don't have POC, they can get it.
Found a good source for the Port Orford Cedar I needed. Vince Strauss at www.pacificcoastwoods.net was able to ship just what I needed for the gunwale repairs. I received two nice piece of clear, straight grained POC the other day. Now I just need to find the time to get back to the Racine.