Curious about Wooden Canoes
I was wondering if anyone has ever used white cedar or spruce to make stems as in birch bark canoes. What is the advantage of ash?
Stems have been made with cedar - every B.N. Morris canoe I have seen has cedar stems. If you can get spruce to bend into the shape of a stem, you have a free ticket to the steam-benders hall of fame. (Note that it doesn't count if you laminate the stems, or split them into layers as in a birchbark canoe). Ash has the advantage of being easy to bend, is strong, and holds fasteners well. Perfectly good stems have also been made of white oak and red elm. Avoid red oak, it is very porous and rots quickly.

Thanks for the replys. I have steamed and bent ash stems with some success and have used red cedar for ribs with good results. I have never tried spruce. I am planning on useing spruce to repair some inwale damage on a canoe I am working on now and will take your advice on not using spruce for stems. I was looking at some white cedar left over pieces and was just wondering. I might even give the white oak a try.