What to do.

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
I've been calling around to all the usuall suppliers and can't find Mahogany in 18' length. Best so far is 16'. The AA grade HW is 17' so --

I am waiting for a call back from one other supplier who may have 18' but if he doesn't---

Should I splice? 14' ers are five minutes from my house. And reasonably priced.

Should I use sitka? It's already in the barn.

I am inclined to used spliced mahog for this canoe if I can't find 18'.

Any advice is welcomed.

If done properly, a scarf joint would work very well, and be almost invisible.

I think I have seen some instructions on doing this very thing somewhere in another thread, if I am not confusing something from some other place. Try doing a search on "Scarf".

All it really is, is a very long angled cut. Basically, you clamp the two boards together, matching grain as much as possilbe, cut both boards at the same time, so the angle is going to be the same on both. Then put them together with glue and clamp.
Dave, did you try Johnsons in Charlotte? You can also try Zeeland Millwork @ 616) 772-9600. Ask for Ken, remind him that he made all the flagpoles for Ken Kelly and myself for the club. They might have something long enough to sell you, otherwise ask them who might. There are a ton of wood shops in the Holland/ Grand Rapids that work with mahogany and do high end millwork for large homes. Good luck.
I've managed to scarf mahogany just fine. If you match the grain up pretty well it looks pretty good.

Bending it is another story!
I've scarfed Honduras Mahogany for gunnels, and it looks pretty good.
I set up a fixture, where the rail lay on the base, against a backer board set on the right angle, and made the final cuts with a router and a bearing-guided bit. Came out flat as could be, and joined together nicely. In very bright light, if you look closely, you can figure out where the glue line is.

I am waiting for a call back from them. When I called them today they were busy and are supposed to call me tomorrow.
Otherwise I'll splice.

Does that HW have the usual high, curved ends?

If so, you might want a few extra pieces for practice and/or failed attempts at bending the end.

I'd hold out for 1 piece stock but that's me.


high curving ends. Graceful, but tight radius. I made the jig the other day. Today I got a call back from Dennis Armstrong of Armstrong Millworks. He has 19' 4/4 and a good amount of Genuine Mahogany. He has some longer stuff that is 8/4. Anyway I was fortunate to get two boards from him. The African mahog is dirt cheap by comparison to the real mahog..

Dan, after I mill the stuff I'll toss it in the pond for several days. I'll then scrape the snails off and steam it for an hour. I also use a backer band. This is kiln dried wood so great care is needed to bend it. Maybe I'll get lucky.

Anyway, if anyone wants some genuine Mahog, call Armstrong. Very nice people.

I suppose I could steam it with the snails on----I'll need some real butter.
I hear that African "Mahogany" does not bend well. Good choice with the genuine, Hondouran, South American, or American(or any other names for the same ..) stuff that you get.
..back to canvassing.....

Were your able to get some with a nice straight grain?

And how much did he have?

I have a couple projects that could use new wood.

And what was the cost per BF?


straight grain, yes. Nice looking for plain sawn. He has some, not alot but because it is $15.00 per bd ft it doesn't fly out the door. He had one 4/4 x6" x 19' that was not so straight but he picked through for me. It's older stuff. Kiln dried. I could get African near me for $5.00 bd ft. but not long enough. For this HW as I measure and re measure, I actually only need 16' 4" for the gunwales
One board I got someone had written on it to hold it for a customer. the date was October 2008. Armstrong is a cool place to just go look around at all the wood.ASk for Dennis and tell him Dave sent you. Never mind when he says, "dave who?"
I have been reading this thread, because I have to replace the gunwales on my PeterNut. I was thinking of scarfing some cherry or walnut I have out in the loft, and may end up doing that, but this coversation has me wanting to do the job without joints, if I can do it without mortaging the house. That 15.00 per BF is too steep for me, even if I lived close enough to go get it. I went down and looked through what I have in the loft. All of this wood was cut off my land ten years ago, and has been air drying in the loft since. I used to have some long stuff but most of that went into various projects over the years, and the only thing long enough remaining is some quarter sawn white oak. I have one 16 ft 2" X 8', enough for the job, but not sure if this would be a good wood for the purpose. Then I got to thinking about a couple of trees I have to cut down in my pasture before bringing my horses here. These are both very large and somewhat straight. One is a red maple, the other a black cherry, both of which are dangerous for horses, but are pretty wood. I am thinking the black cherry might be the best choice of the three. I have a little sawmill, so can render into boards, just not sure about using green wood for this. The only cherry I ever bent was kiln dried.

I'd cut the cherry as long as the tree and the mill allows. I had some from off the farm that was cut in the '40s. Wide stuff but noothing longer than 12'. It's all gone now anyway. Saw it up and sticker it. Air dried custom cut, nice. I'd go for some of that. And I drive through Tennessee once in awhile.

You're not just trying to cause trouble are you? :)

Quarter sawn white oak, air dryed, this is premium stuff,

as is green cherry, just let it dry for a bit.

Dave just spent big $$ to get some Mahogany and I will probably go get a couple boards also.

Far and away the toughest material to get for canoe work is the gunwale stock, and having a few pieces on hand is worth the effort.