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Get some West system epoxy and wipe it on with a paper towel not leaving any excess. Three coats, lightly sand in between.

 

Seals the wood provides a hard smooth surface that will accept paint without soaking in.

 

Ron

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1 hour ago, Locomobile said:

Get some West system epoxy and wipe it on with a paper towel not leaving any excess. Three coats, lightly sand in between.

 

Seals the wood provides a hard smooth surface that will accept paint without soaking in.

 

Ron

Ive got some ext. repairs to make,........ this may work?

 

OP. Like the steel to a lesser degree, if the primer and paint on the wood is good quality it should be ok. The paint may not last as long on the wood though due to the weather etc. The wood is going to keep moving, probably more than the metal. IF you are screwing something into the wood, I dont think covering with epoxy will have any effect. The moisture and therefore weakest link will be the screw hole. 

On the other hand I dont think it would hurt in the least to epoxy before paint!

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The West epoxy is made for boat repairs and canoe/kayak building.  Excellent water resistance.  Three coats sounds like overkill provided the coverage is good, but won't really hurt. Spar varnish is also good for water resistance and more flexible if the wood flexes.  It is meant to be recoated periodically ("brightwork" means a different thing on boats).

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4 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

Among domestic woods, black locust is very rot resistant.  Such woods are usually very difficult to work with.  Ash was often used because it can be formed.

 

When researching what wood to use for my Pontiac doors, I discovered that White Ash is the preferred wood for bodies, and not just for ease of forming. It is also lightweight, resistant to splitting, flexible, somewhat rot resistant, etc. I have however encountered folks who wont use it in modern times because of it's attractiveness to powderpost beetles.

 

I came to the same conclusion you did about Black Locust, it is probably the best domestic wood for rot resistance, but destroys tools. I might have been willing to try it, but never found any for sale or any evidence that it was ever a commercial lumber. Have you seen any for sale?

 

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8 hours ago, Walt G said:

What is the type of wood you are working with/on ? Ash, oak, pine, hickory ???:

I’m using white oak. 

 

36 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

Among domestic woods, black locust is very rot resistant.  Such woods are usually very difficult to work with.  Ash was often used because it can be formed.

Around here, you won’t find locust in the stores. It grows wild in fence rows and isn’t very straight. Some of the old timers used it for fence post. It can be worked easily if it’s green. Once done it dries it is like cutting steel. Some people that have a wood burner to heat with will burn it. You just have to watch how much you burn at once because it burns really hot. You definitely don’t want to put it in a fireplace for that reason. I’ve been on a couple of fire calls in the past because they put it in a fireplace and set the attic on fire due to a bad chimney and the heat. It also pops and cracks a lot while it’s burning.  

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It's a very common tree here in western Michigan.  I have a number in my yard.  As said, you'd need to cut it green then dry it.  Not friendly to work with. Oh, and the young shoots have thorns. 

Ash is the preferred wood for body structure.  Other easier to work woods with rot resistance like cedar and redwood are not very strong.  Teak may work well, not hard to work and rot resistant, but kind of pricey

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56 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

It's a very common tree here in western Michigan.  I have a number in my yard.  As said, you'd need to cut it green then dry it.  Not friendly to work with. Oh, and the young shoots have thorns. 

Ash is the preferred wood for body structure.  Other easier to work woods with rot resistance like cedar and redwood are not very strong.  Teak may work well, not hard to work and rot resistant, but kind of pricey

Did they ever use poplar for the panels and oak for framing? Seems like that would work?

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In my 40+ years of fooling with wood I have never touched locust. I do know that it was favored by the old timers for fence posts. For anything exterior now we use Mahogany and Cypress. I have read that Ash was used a lot for car bodies. Cypress would probably have a similar grain. 

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Ash is a great wood for car bodies.  Tight grain, easy to work when “fresh” but hardens with age.  Oak, while having a reputation for being strong, has a coarse grain and splits easily.  It’s an awful wood for putting tacks into, one reason it was used so little on early car bodies.

 

I second the use of West System or Smith’s, will seal wood and allow you to put a nice paint job on surface.  New wood wheels, for example, let them sit for a couple of months raw, so they can get moisture content, then seal with one of those two products.  After that you can prime and sand and prime and sand to your heart’s content...

 

 

 

content...

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In 42 years of rewooding cars, everything from a 1910 Schatt to a 1949 Bentley, we have always used ash.  If you want a glass like finish on exterior wood, apply 3

 Coats of West System epoxy, carefully sanded between coats. We recently did a 1949 Olds woodie and did the final finish using automotive clear tinted to mimic varnish. Came put beautifully

 

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Dittos on the ash and West System.  Don't use oak-there is a reason it wasn't originally used - too brittle, less flex and porous grain.  West System is very easy to use, sands really easy and quickly, and you can prime and paint easily,  I used it on my new Model T front wheels a couple of years ago.  Getting ready to do new rear wheels soon and plan to do the same.

Terry

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1 hour ago, Restorer32 said:

In 42 years of rewooding cars, everything from a 1910 Schatt to a 1949 Bentley, we have always used ash.  If you want a glass like finish on exterior wood, apply 3

 Coats of West System epoxy, carefully sanded between coats. We recently did a 1949 Olds woodie and did the final finish using automotive clear tinted to mimic varnish. Came put beautifully

 

I work with old antique carriage bodies. A trick I learned was to apply the epoxy with a paper towel and wipe it on. Not leaving any excess. Treat it like oil stain.  If it's brushed on bare wood, it will soak in to open grain and where it doesn't soak in it leaves high spots. Which have to be removed before the next coat goes on otherwise it becomes very uneven. If it's wiped on, it still soaks in the grain and it removes what doesn't keeping the surface flat. Do that on each and it really cuts down on the sanding. 

 

Someone a while back suggested thinning the epoxy with Xylene? West advises against thinning their product as it will alter the curing over time. Epoxy keeps curing for years.

 

Someone above mentioned Smith's Penetrating Epoxy, it's a great product but gives off some of the most God awful fumes ever. Can't work with it inside.

 

Originally, they laid cheesecloth over the wood and set it in a primer coat. That added strength to the wood, then brushed on multiple coats of paint and then finished it with shellac, and then hand rubbed gloss. They were very highly polished and looked as good as any spray finish today.

 

Ron

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9 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

Dittos on the ash and West System.  Don't use oak-there is a reason it wasn't originally used - too brittle, less flex and porous grain.  West System is very easy to use, sands really easy and quickly, and you can prime and paint easily,  I used it on my new Model T front wheels a couple of years ago.  Getting ready to do new rear wheels soon and plan to do the same.

Terry

Oak also has a high acid content compared to ash, which over the long term can cause your metal fasteners to deteriorate.

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Several reasons for not using oak have been given in previous posts and I can add a few more. Oak will expand & contract over time as it absorbs moisture & humidity & dries out. Oak has a tendency to warp, cup and twist over time. There are more knots & other imperfections in oak that may effect its structural integrity. Ash is a far more stable lumber long term than oak.

   The ash beetle & Ash worm is no longer a problem. At one time, most states if not all, required that ash could only be sold commercially after it was properly kiln dried and I believe it is still required. Kiln drying kills the fungi that attracts the bugs and kills any critters & their eggs that my be in harvested logs. Kiln drying ruins the smell & taste of lumber to naturally repel future infestation.  Kiln drying lowers the moisture content about 10% below air dry which improves its stability.

   Ash is not readily available at the local box stores. You have to go to a real lumber yard or better yet, I go to  a lumber mill that sells rough sawn, kiln dried lumber retail.  Rough sawn lumber is less than half the price of finished lumber and you can get it in a variety of dimensions so you don't have to glue it up, but you should have your own thickness planer & sanders to plane the lumber down to a smooth, finished dimension.  Some lumber yards & mills will mill the lumber down to custom dimension for you at extra cost. I have restored the wood frame work on a couple of my metal skinned pre war cars as well as some early 190x all wood bodies.  Structural ash boards can be anywhere from 5/8 to 2&1/2 inches thick but 7/8 is common.

   Some curved seat backs of all wood bodies were made of 5/8 or 3/4 thick by 18 or more inches wide, solid (1-piece,not glued) ash that was steam bent by mechanical force. Even though you can still buy wide ash boards today, you won't be able to force a board that thick & wide without the proper machinery. Steam bending wood used to an industry in itself.

   The side panels on early all wood bodies were made of solid poplar typically 3/8" to 1/2 " thick and up to 20+ inches wide.  Although some people might recommend using plywood, I prefer the wide poplar boards. I've attached a pic of 1/2" X 20" X 8ft , 1-piece solid poplar and  another pic of the ash frame structure for the side panel of my 1903 Cadillac. 

   I also use West Systems epoxy sealer. It has a long cure time so I brush into an area and then move to another area as it soaks in and the go back over it 2 or three times so it soaks in good before it cures.2070319283_03poplarboard.thumb.jpg.1cbf5cd3027ac117431b7136b539745e.jpg1033497659_03sidepanel.thumb.jpg.7235977286a56f32bea6707e7ebefa06.jpg

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8 hours ago, jdome said:

Several reasons for not using oak have been given in previous posts and I can add a few more. Oak will expand & contract over time as it absorbs moisture & humidity & dries out. Oak has a tendency to warp, cup and twist over time. There are more knots & other imperfections in oak that may effect its structural integrity. Ash is a far more stable lumber long term than oak.

 

We each have different experience. Not all, but most of the very early bodies I've worked on and looked at used white oak framing and cross members. Many different types of oak and each have very different characteristics. Based on the comments here, oak would be no good at all for furniture, but we know that's not the case.

 

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I may get blasted for this, but as a (reproduction) period furniture maker, Oak is for the fireplace.  I have not done auto woodwork (though  I would love to just because) I can see no reason not to use Ash as what was original. I think it still may be available easily enough. Im lucky that I have a couple of the bigger hardwood suppliers within a half hr. drive.

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On 1/18/2021 at 4:52 PM, Bloo said:

I came to the same conclusion you did about Black Locust, it is probably the best domestic wood for rot resistance, but destroys tools. I might have been willing to try it, but never found any for sale or any evidence that it was ever a commercial lumber. Have you seen any for sale?

 

I haven't seen any for sale either but I have a few hundred of the trees on my property and some years ago I sold some to a local saw mill. He had an order for the wood to build a set of outdoor bleachers at a local high school. So...if you were to find it available from a commercial source it would likely be a small saw mill. For rot resistance I use Eastern Larch - aka Tamarac - but it is much too coarse grained for auto work.

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I know less about wood for antique car bodies than any of the previous posters here, but I do have a question based on other experience I have had with wood. 

 

"Instinctive" archers shoot bows without any sights or mechanical systems to increase the speed and energy of their arrows. Instinctive archers who are also enthusiasts of "primitive" archery like to make their own wooden arrows and bows. For the bows they often use Osage Orange (sometimes called "hedge" or "hedgeapple.") In reading about these hobbies, I came to learn that osage orange wood is extremely dense, and extremely resistant to rot. Farmers used to plant it along the borders of their fields in place of fences, hence the name "hedge." I have a friend who burns firewood to heat his large home, and he extolls the virtue of both "hedge" and locust, telling me that these two woods are both very dense, and both burn very hot. 

 

Has anyone ever tried the very-yellow and very dense wood from osage orange trees for constructing anything? Just curious. 

 

 

Edited by lump (see edit history)
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54 minutes ago, TAKerry said:

I may get blasted for this, but as a (reproduction) period furniture maker, Oak is for the fireplace.  I have not done auto woodwork (though  I would love to just because) I can see no reason not to use Ash as what was original. I think it still may be available easily enough. Im lucky that I have a couple of the bigger hardwood suppliers within a half hr. drive.

Have a look at ''mission oak'' furniture. The confusion here is all oak is being grouped together, the different types and grades have very different characteristics. Good straight grain white oak quarter sawn is very stable and strong like steel. Flitch sawn is much more common with higher yield for the sawyer.

 

Good sawmills are getting scarce and some of the oak lumber available now wouldn't have been fit railroad ties a hundred years ago.

 

This is inside the wheel house of my steam tug. That is all white oak.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.030fbee8eab8e3bf1c6386d02e0b381a.jpeg

 

 

Ron

 

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TaKerry, we buy all our ash from a supplier near Quarryville, PA., Groff and Groff Lumber.  Are you familiar with them?  They stock many kinds of hardwood, all kiln dried. They allow us to go thru the pile and pick out what we can use.  We also bend bows and use ash unless someone insists on oak.  Ash is no more expensive than oak.

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52 minutes ago, lump said:

I know less about wood for antique car bodies than any of the previous posters here, but I do have a question based on other experience I have had with wood. 

 

"Instinctive" archers shoot bows without any sights or mechanical systems to increase the speed and energy of their arrows. Instinctive archers who are also enthusiasts of "primitive" archery like to make their own wooden arrows and bows. For the bows they often use Osage Orange (sometimes called "hedge" or "hedgeapple.") In reading about these hobbies, I came to learn that osage orange wood is extremely dense, and extremely resistant to rot. Farmers used to plant it along the borders of their fields in place of fences, hence the name "hedge." I have a friend who burns firewood to heat his large home, and he extolls the virtue of both "hedge" and locust, telling me that these two woods are both very dense, and both burn very hot. 

 

Has anyone ever tried the very-yellow and very dense wood from osage orange trees for constructing anything? Just curious. 

 

 

Being a consummate tinkerer, I built longbows many years ago and shot instinctive archery for many years. Osage orange is an excellent wood for non lamintated unbacked selfbows. The french called it Bois d'Arc or ''bow wood''. which we pronounced ''bodark'' and then ''bodock'' which is still used today. It is a very dense typically crooked grain wood. It's excellent bow wood but it will not tolerate any abuse as it becomes very brittle when fully seasoned. The English used Yew, but it not too prevalent here in the US. Mostly up in the pacific northwest, with the port Orford cedar we used for arrows.

 

I mainly built laminated bows from Tonkin bamboo lams under clear glass, excellent shooters, light and fast.

 

Not sure there would be any advantage in using Osage for auto body rebuilding, over like Honduras mahogany etc. Practically any wood will suffice providing it is properly sealed from the elements.

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7 minutes ago, Locomobile said:

Being a consummate tinkerer, I built longbows many years ago and shot instinctive archery for many years. Osage orange is an excellent wood for non lamintated unbacked selfbows. The french called it Bois d'Arc or ''bow wood''. which we pronounced ''bodark'' and then ''bodock'' which is still used today. It is a very dense typically crooked grain wood. It's excellent bow wood but it will not tolerate any abuse as it becomes very brittle when fully seasoned. The English used Yew, but it not too prevalent here in the US. Mostly up in the pacific northwest, with the port Orford cedar we used for arrows.

 

I mainly built laminated bows from Tonkin bamboo lams under clear glass, excellent shooters, light and fast.

 

Not sure there would be any advantage in using Osage for auto body rebuilding, over like Honduras mahogany etc. Practically any wood will suffice providing it is properly sealed from the elements.

Thanks, Ron. Just the kind of info I was hoping for. 

 

And, I am AMAZED that you have a real steam tug boat of your own! WOW. How about some photos? 

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24 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

TaKerry, we buy all our ash from a supplier near Quarryville, PA., Groff and Groff Lumber.  Are you familiar with them?  They stock many kinds of hardwood, all kiln dried. They allow us to go thru the pile and pick out what we can use.  We also bend bows and use ash unless someone insists on oak.  Ash is no more expensive than oak.

Kencraft over in Toledo Ohio is really good and reasonable. I've been there and selected it and ordered over the phone shipped by UPS. They always ship the best they have.

 

They have virtually everything from Ebony to pine. They do planing, millwork, molding work etc.

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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There was mention of bent wood for bodies.

 

My 1910 Hupmobile runabout body was originally made what appeared to be five sheets of 1/8 inch plywood layered together.  There is “directional” plywood available which bends easily in only one direction, used extensively for small travel trailers.

 

My woodworking friend made a buck, and did the same thing, laying a sheet over the buck, gluing next sheet to it and so forth.  The buck was so accurate that the original strip of reed trim which fit around body, when placed on the new seats, needed only 1/8 inch trimmed from both ends.  Unfortunately he left town but I still have the buck.

 

We made two bodies, one on my car and the other now lives in Poland.

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16 minutes ago, lump said:

Thanks, Ron. Just the kind of info I was hoping for. 

 

And, I am AMAZED that you have a real steam tug boat of your own! WOW. How about some photos? 

Just one, I don't wanna get in Dutch here😁

 

 

racingsmall.jpg

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1 hour ago, Locomobile said:

Have a look at ''mission oak'' furniture. The confusion here is all oak is being grouped together, the different types and grades have very different characteristics. Good straight grain white oak quarter sawn is very stable and strong like steel. Flitch sawn is much more common with higher yield for the sawyer.

 

Good sawmills are getting scarce and some of the oak lumber available now wouldn't have been fit railroad ties a hundred years ago.

 

This is inside the wheel house of my steam tug. That is all white oak.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.030fbee8eab8e3bf1c6386d02e0b381a.jpeg

 

 

Ron

 

I am very familiar with mission style furniture, greene and greene, etc. Just not my taste. Nothing wrong with it. Nice wheel house. Quartered white oak is very beautiful. I did a restoration to a parquet flooring in a 19th cent. house that was all quarter white oak. We ended up milling everything in shop to match what was there.

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47 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

TaKerry, we buy all our ash from a supplier near Quarryville, PA., Groff and Groff Lumber.  Are you familiar with them?  They stock many kinds of hardwood, all kiln dried. They allow us to go thru the pile and pick out what we can use.  We also bend bows and use ash unless someone insists on oak.  Ash is no more expensive than oak.

I get all of my hardwoods (and some softwood as well) from Groff. Doug is a friend, his mother went to school with my brother, as well as his grandfather worked alongside my grandfather in the trades many years ago. They do a lot shipping and are very helpful and have a large supply on hand. Anyone looking for decent stuff should give them a call. Was just up there a week or so ago picking up some mahogany and walnut. I live about 20 min due south.

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2 hours ago, lump said:

I know less about wood for antique car bodies than any of the previous posters here, but I do have a question based on other experience I have had with wood. 

 

"Instinctive" archers shoot bows without any sights or mechanical systems to increase the speed and energy of their arrows. Instinctive archers who are also enthusiasts of "primitive" archery like to make their own wooden arrows and bows. For the bows they often use Osage Orange (sometimes called "hedge" or "hedgeapple.") In reading about these hobbies, I came to learn that osage orange wood is extremely dense, and extremely resistant to rot. Farmers used to plant it along the borders of their fields in place of fences, hence the name "hedge." I have a friend who burns firewood to heat his large home, and he extolls the virtue of both "hedge" and locust, telling me that these two woods are both very dense, and both burn very hot. 

 

Has anyone ever tried the very-yellow and very dense wood from osage orange trees for constructing anything? Just curious. 

 

 

 

I've not used it. When researching rot-resistant woods, Osage Orange came up as having similar qualities to Black Locust, but as I understand it the trees are small and tend to be crooked, so you wouldn't get very big pieces of it.

 

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1 hour ago, Locomobile said:

Not sure there would be any advantage in using Osage for auto body rebuilding, over like Honduras mahogany etc. Practically any wood will suffice providing it is properly sealed from the elements.

 

What exactly do you mean by "sealed from the elements"? Sealed with epoxy?

 

Consider something like a 1930s sedan door with roll-down windows. Water pours down the outside of the glass into the door. There will probably be some type of a piece of rubber or felt along the window glass to reduce the gallonage, but it really won't do much because the window has to move easily. The wood at the bottom of the door is going to lay there soaking wet and probably rotting. Yes, there are typically drains, but that only means that the wood wont be completely submerged. It sounded to me like a good location for Black Locust (or Osage Orange) if any were readily available.

 

 

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Just now, Bloo said:

 

What exactly do you mean by "sealed from the elements"? Sealed with epoxy?

 

Consider something like a 1930s sedan door with roll-down windows. Water pours down the outside of the glass into the door. There will probably be some type of a piece of rubber or felt along the window glass to reduce the gallonage, but it really won't do much because the window has to move easily. The wood at the bottom of the door is going to lay there soaking wet and probably rotting. Yes, there are typically drains, but that only means that the wood wont be completely submerged. It sounded to me like a good location for Black Locust (or Osage Orange) if any were readily available.

 

 

Epoxy or cuprinol type sealers etc. It's very likely the original wood had nothing on it. Mahogany and cypress are both very rot resistant and easy to work with. Cypress is a little tough to get.

 

I've never worked with Locust, but have Osage, it would be very difficult to shape into large contoured blocks to support body skin, it's hard and the grain runs every direction. Osage bows are usually made by following a growth ring which results in bows that are very crooked. The cardinal sin with these guys is to glue fiberglass on the back.😊

 

https://www.outyourbackdoor.com/Images/snake.bows.jpghttps://lh3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/-FJN51c4i9q9xwiG36FfUCdsI_Vw8EGNg_N9NSj_p-ygRqhHp4qGM21rQ3UXrdHsxl7nF8tip-Cjir2WPXtHV-1HzIhjX58gNR0DhibJswTDqDTGS2X9qW0fMVN2tTAjC_eABucnXQEESS23VXkv

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I have a little bit of Osage for a different project, and I agree it is dense and hard to work.  When I picked it up the store said "Hope your tools are sharp."  There is a tree nearby and it's about 40' - biggest one I've seen.

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1 hour ago, TAKerry said:

I get all of my hardwoods (and some softwood as well) from Groff. Doug is a friend, his mother went to school with my brother, as well as his grandfather worked alongside my grandfather in the trades many years ago. They do a lot shipping and are very helpful and have a large supply on hand. Anyone looking for decent stuff should give them a call. Was just up there a week or so ago picking up some mahogany and walnut. I live about 20 min due south.

Yea, they are good people. Just bought some Purple Heart from them.

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There is an Osage hedge row a mile or two down the road from me. Has been there for as long as I can remember 40+ yrs. At one point the 'hedge apples' fall to the road. I am surprised that none have hit my vehicle over the ages. For those that havent seen them, they are about the same size and weight of a softball.

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14 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

When I picked it up the store said "Hope your tools are sharp." 

😄

 

14 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

There is a tree nearby and it's about 40' - biggest one I've seen.

That is a BIG Osage tree. If the grain is relatively straight, These bowyers pay big money for split blanks out of a tree like that.

 

My experience with wood and rotting is: Some woods are better than others of course. What really matters is ventilation. If the wood gets wet, that doesn't really cause any problems as long as it can dry out quickly. It's when wood gets wet, stays wet and there is inadequate ventilation to dry it back out, that is when the rot starts.

 

The worst thing to do with a wood boat in the fall when it's wet, is tarp it up tightly. Many boats were lost like that, only to be untarped in the next summer and ribs could be shoveled out of the bilge.

 

If I were building framing for inside a door, I'd make sure there was adequate drains to get rid of water and provide some ventilation. prevent water getting in there. The lowermost stile in the door use mahogany. Seal the whole structure in west system before any metal goes on.

 

I see folks with woodbodied cars sitting out in the rain, not me, when the rain starts, the cover goes on.

 

-Ron

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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