Thursday, November 02, 2017

last night.

Last night I was awake with various things running through my head. One was the process for cutting the joints that will connect the sides, top and bottom of small maple jewelry chests. Another was the selection of materials for work on Bevins Skiffs.

Joe Youcha from Alexandria Seaport Museum suggested that I consider cypress as a material for forming the chines and rails of the boats, as it's a material with a reputation for weather resistance that I ought to be able to find in Arkansas. When I had used cypress before to build a table on our deck, instead of it lasting for years and years as the reputation suggests, the table rotted away in three years. So why would that be? The  answer might be found in the difference between heart and sap, and the length of time in which trees are allowed to grow to full maturity before harvest. Old growth cypress and freshly grown stock are not the same quality of wood.

Richard Jagels in the current issue of wooden boat noted that plantation grown teak was once harvested after 40 years or more, but that pace has been quickened to 7 years or less. The quality of that teak is not the same. The same may be true of cypress as well. If it is not allowed it to grow it once did, the difference can be found in the quality of the material that results. Richard Jagels suggested that in teak, the heartwood that gives strength and resilience to the wood is not given time to form.

The same can be said of kids. In too many schools they are pushed to learn a narrow band of certain things, in a set time, and then strictly measured, but only for those things... Those schools neglect of the heartwood that will give them strength and resilience through a long life.

Make, fix, and create.


  1. Hi Doug
    Have you considered larch?
    In Denmark it is the classic choice for wooden boats, and I suspect that it is too in Norway.

  2. Jonas,
    I've not considered larch, as there is none growing in Arkansas. And no one seems to import it either.

  3. On the subject of plantation teak, I've used it for hatch covers on boats, which means the wood is out in the elements all year long. The wood lasts, but it needs annual finishing or it turns gray.