Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

White cedar questions

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Jim Curlee, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Jim Curlee

    Jim Curlee New Member

    I have a sawmill.
    I have a logger friend, that is going to be whacking some old growth cedar.
    I've restored a few W/C canoe's.
    Most of the time when I buy white cedar, I take what I can get.
    If you were going to have someone custom saw cedar just for W/C canoe's, what length, width, and thickness, would be the most used?
  2. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Some say the best rib and planking stock is quarter sawn (better dimensional stability and slightly stiffer). Others say that flat sawn rib stock bends easier. As you know, the yield is probably greater flat sawing (or through sawing) than quarter sawing. Finished dimensions of stock is roughly 5/16 - 3/8 for rib stock and around 5/32 or so for planking stock. I would think the best way to go is to cut and air dry planking stock and rib stock that would then be re-sawn and planed to the finished dimensions after it is dry. It would probably have less of a tendency to warp or curl this way.
  3. Steve Ambrose

    Steve Ambrose Nut in a Canoe

    4/4 rough will yield two finished ribs or 3 finished planks. 3-1/2" minimum width to yield 3" wide planking. A 5" wide rough board will net 4 finished ribs (rip once then resaw both halves). A 6" wide board will give you one part for resawing into planking and the drop can be milled into ribs. 6-1/2" to 7" wide will net 6 planks per board.

    5/4 might add another rib or plank depending on how rough the boards are and consistent your mill is.

    Your mileage may vary but this has been my experience using a thin kerf blade on my table saw. I have tried to resaw using my band saw and squeeze more blanks out of the same boards but the blade wanders and I end up with some that are too thin. Plus the band saw is much slower.

    Quarter sawn planking tends to shrink less in width but is more prone to split although white doesn't split as much as western red. Just predrill the ends and across tight bends.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  4. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    My personal preference is 5/4. I resaw on a band saw using a skip tooth blade. It cuts like butter and has a very thin kerf. I can get three planks out of a 5/4 board. I rip to 1/4 inch and plane down to 5/32". It would be nice to get some quarter sawn. If you have a large supply of good sized trees perhaps the extra waste might not be a significant factor. On the other hand if you want to maximize the return flat sawn would be the way to go. Either way consider yourself fortunate!!
  5. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    For canvas canoes, I like working with 3" x 6", ripped down the middle the resulting 3x3s can be rotated to get the best grain orientation.

    For lapstrake canoes, live edge 4/4 or 5/4 depending on the thickness of the planking.
  6. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    Good idea Dan! Nice way to get quarter sawn after the fact.
  7. Ed Moses

    Ed Moses LOVES Wooden Canoes


    If your sawmill is a band mill rather than a circular mill you might consider doing what I do with my bandsaw mill when cutting w. cedar for my canoe projects. I saw the logs right in half using the hydraulic roller/log lifters on the mill to align the log so that the cut will be as close to going down the very center of the log as possible. Once cut, I then push the top half log to the side onto the log lifter and flip the bottom half with the sawn side against the mill side stops. I then thrucut the half log from top to bottom which gives me a few flat sawn pieces at the very top and bottom but all quarter sawn pieces for the rest of the half log. I leave the bark and sapwood on the one edge as I have a nice straight edge on the other side to work from when cutting to the widths I want in the shop. Since I try to work with all 20 foot logs , I do another sawing technique that is only economically feasible when doing stock for yourself (unless you are sawing for the customer on the hourly basis rather than board footage basis). I cut all my pieces 1/8"-3/16" thicker than my finished thickness. Once dry, I run the pieces thru the planer, one side only for planking and both sides, one pass for rib stock. This avoids wrestling with long stock in the shop trying to resaw on the shop band saw to the same thicknesses I can do on the Woodmizer mill but much easier. Since a circular sawmill takes out a 1/4" kerf ,too much wood would be wasted and this technique would not be feasible on that type of sawmill. But where a bandsaw mill blade kerf is about 1/8" or quite close to the kerf of the shop bandsaw, this technique is quite feasible. Wood wastage is minimal. Works well for me. Try it, you'll like it!!!

Share This Page