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Information about building wood

Why use wood for a boat?

With all the modern materials available to make boat, why would you want to choose wood? There are several reasons. The first is that working with wood is well within the means of most people. It doesn't take a lot of time, the material is relatively easy to obtain and it is not too expensive. But even if you are not interested in building your own boat, wood still has some significant advantages. Done right, wood is an almost miraculous. It is very strong, lightweight and does not fatigue.

Most people are used to the ability of taking a stick of wood, bending it over their knee and breaking it in to pieces quite easily. How can it be so easy to break, yet still strong? You need to consider how little that stick weighs, if you were to get a piece of plastic, fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon fiber or even steel, of the same weight, what would you be able to do with it if you bent it over your knee. Most would bend very easily, some would break with very little effort.

How much does a wood kayak weight?

Most wooden boats will actually weigh less than commercially manufactured boats. Because wood is structurally efficient, a boat built with it can be made quite light. The only real downside of wood is that since it is a natural material it is not necessarily consistent in its weight. And obviously different wood species will have different densities and result in finished products with different weights.

For standard strip built construction with 1/4" thick western red cedar strips with 6 ounce fiberglass inside and out, a good estimate will be 0.7 pound per square foot of surface area. In other words a boat like the Guillemot with a surface area of 47 square feet, this will give a bare hull weight of about 32 pounds. When you add seats, bulkheads, hatches and other out fitting the boat should weight about 35 to 40 pounds.

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