Wood choices


Chest Nut
Can anyone commment of the use of quatresawn vs. flat sawn cedar for planking and ribs.

Most of the cedar mills in my local area do a flat sawn cut on their logs as standard practice.

I can get enough clear cedar but finding quatresawn is going to be a challenge.

Whats the preferred dimension to get and why? I know longer is better but what about the width. Are 1x3x_?_ rough sawn ok or is there a reason to go with a 1x6?



Get some of both, and match the grain/cut of the ribs in the canoe.

Of the canoes I've seen, and maybe I read this somewhere,
many/most of the older canoes used flat sawn for the ribs, possibly to allow them flex easier, the newer canoes had/have quarter sawn ribs, possibly to make them stiffer. Either way, try to minimize the grain runout.

Most ribs are in the 3/8 thick x 2 1/2 wide range, and about 5 ft long, so a nice piece of 6" (5.5) "may" get you 2 ribs abreast and 2 in the thickness direction, or 4 ribs for a 1x6x5ft board. Note that with 8 ft boards, you may have a lot of waste (to cut out/avoid knots). :)

For planking, you will want at least quarter sawn, and use the more verticle stuff on the flats and the true quarter on the bilge or curved areas to prevent cracking. (Unless you are restoring a Chestnut and then match the grain.) :)

The straight grain planking is the most desirable because it is so stable which is important and even more so below the waterline, BUT its even more import to have good quality stock even if has to be flat sawn. Good quality flat sawn would be a better choice than bad quality quartersawn. If you can get a 6" wide board, most of the time there will one side that has straigher grain than the other side. The straighter grain can be used for the below waterline use and the other planking for above the waterline.
3 to 4 inch wide planking is the most usefull. Wider planking can have a tendency to warp more and thinner planking has lesser strength.
Most planking is 5/32" thick.
Grain selection on ribs is not so important because they thave more freedom of movement. If they swell a bit it doesn't really effect anything. Some builders chose a certain grain pattern for its apperance.
Most ribs are 2-1/4" to 2-3/8" wide and 5/16" thick.
There is a lot of options in these thickness and widths depending upon whats important; strength, weight, availability of stock, etc.