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Species for Wood Boat Engine Stringers?1/3
So my question has to do with what type of wood species I can use in place of Douglas Fir for the stringers on a 1961 Century Runabout I am restoring. I know this isn't a boat building forum but I know people on here really know wood...so hopefully you can share some of your thoughts.
Some more details...I live in Michigan and mill my own lumber so I have lots of hardwoods available that are typically native to Mid-Michigan. I have no Douglas Fir. What I am looking for is a wood I could substitute and I am thinking Black Cherry may be it. The properties seem to be similar.
I have been told not to use something rock hard so the engine vibrations can be partly absorbed by the stringers. I could just go buy the Doug Fir but at about $10/bd.ft. compared to free for the Cherry I would like to save the $500. Since these are pretty important structural parts of the boat though I don't want to be silly about it either.
This is probably not going to be much help but is posted as info.
I would go with White Oak before cherry. You can use rubber engine mounts much easier than you can replace the cherry at half the lifetime of the oak.
Below that in density, but still top of durability, would be Walnut, Sassafras, and Catalpa.
Why not saw cherry, sell it and then buy DF? DF is a great species. Make sure you get coastal and not inland DF. Heart pine is also a good choice, but some folks call regular pine, when they sell it, heart pine but it is not the real stuff. But, my suggestion is to use white oak heartwood.
White oak heart wood would be a good choice. Don't use ferrous fasteners with WO, not even galvanized. Locust and osage orange are also good hardwood choices. Walnut's probably a bit too brittle for engine mounts, and there's some lore about cherry: supposedly, cherry on a boat is bad luck. When in doubt, be superstitious...
The '61 Chris Craft originally had absolutely no ferrous fasteners. There were some stainless fasteners, which I am told were not original. Brass was the preferred metal for fasteners. I pulled some 20" long brass bolts off of that boat.The original woods used were mahogany,teak,heart pine and white oak.
Mark's response about walnut being brittle surprised me. My experience is that it absorbs vibration well, and is very resilient-- which makes it good for gun stocks. Also very stable and durable. As long as you use good, straight-grained wood, you'll be fine. It'll look classey, too!