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Author Topic: louon plywood  (Read 9981 times)

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Offline Alan Mallett

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louon plywood
« on: April 14, 2010, 06:00:50 PM »
     I got a very good deal on enough marine plywood for the bottom, cabin and forward bulkeds and deck that I can't believe it and after checking on price for 3/8' and 1/4" for the lazarette, transom, cabin roof and sides, hull sides and seats wanted to  :'(  so I looked at louon.
     Everything on the outside will be fiberglassed and was wondering if anyone has had luck using louon in these areas ?  I'm starting the keel this weekend and have ordered a 10' x 20' enclosed portable shelter being delivered next week so everything will be high and dry from start to finish  ???.
     Thanks for your help.

                   Alan & Franny

Offline Brian Walters

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2010, 04:43:38 AM »
Ahoy and Welcome Alan and Franny to the BYYB. If you have any kind of questions someone here should have the answers for you, as we have all built to some degree.
 As far as Luan, I dont think I would do it, we had a member use it to build a mini cup, with disastarous results.
 Now I do know he did not glass it so maybe that was the issue.
 Someone here should know better than I.
 Good to meet you folks. Good luck with your build.

 Brian Walters.
If you think you can you can, If you think you can't your right.
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Offline David Oelker

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2010, 07:02:24 AM »
A while back I was reading through old posts and saw someone selling an older weekender. He said in the post that it was built of luan.  Here is a quote from the post:

"The hull was made of Home Depot luan covered in Raka cloth and epoxy, which seemed to work very well".

The name of the boat was "Fandango" and the builders name was Adam Plourde, the post was dated May 4, 2006.

So can luan be used for the hull or not? Is this one of those things that the Stevenson's say everyone has an opinion on or has luan been found to be unacceptable for hull construction? I'm not trying to be a hack here, but man, if I could avoid putting up my house, kids, and cats to buy the wood for this thing it would sure be nice.

I understand that there is a point of diminishing returns but the reason I am building this boat is to have a great experience with my kids and have fun doing it. It would be hard for me to realize this goal if I have to write a check for a couple of thousand dollars for primo plywood.

I think that like in most things in life, there are a variety of sensibilities in a given group of people. Some of us are interested in building something of superior quality, finish, and don't mind the cost if what we end up with is a finished product that will stand the test of time. Then there are others among us who are looking to build something as quickly and affordibly as possible, as long as it is safe, looks good, and will last for a reasonable number of years then the particulars of construction materials can vary somewhat. And there are a whole bunch of us somewhere in the middle.

Does any of this make sense or am I just confusing the issue? :-\


Offline mikestevenson

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2010, 09:07:30 AM »
I'm not the epoxy expert, but it would seem to me that if one used penetrating epoxy on the inner surface and epoxy-glassed the outer, the wood would likely be ok. I look forward to hearing comments from those more experienced in this.

Mike

Offline Chris Obee

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2010, 10:34:58 AM »
The problem with luan from the big box stores is that is mostly crap.  Internal voids, low number of plys, differing species on interior plys, questionable glues are all issues with this product.  In my view and given the amount of effort that it takes to build a hull and outfit a sailboat it does not pay to economize on the wood of the hull.  This is especially true if you will be using epoxy and doing an encapsulation.   The luan will require that you also glass everything to prevent checking.  though some hard liners say that you should glass everyting in sight even if using BS1088.  The quality of ply has also dropped in recent years meaning that even if it were OK 10 years ago it may not be so today.  Few topics will generate more discord than this sort of question.  There will be always be a difference of opinion between the folks that want to squeeze any dollar possible out of the boat budget and the folks that want top of the line materials for everything.  I tend twords the top-o-line end of the scale.  Its all about the boat YOU want to build.   

Offline David Oelker

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2010, 10:58:45 AM »
Chris, I understand what you are saying and I can see where in a project of this nature it would be a shame to go to all of the trouble of building the boat only to have it fall apart.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm not the only person out here who is concerned with the bottom line. Like in everything else there has to be a "Best", a "Better", a "Good", and a just plain unacceptable. I would love to be in the "Best" range but unfortunately for me finances pretty much dictate that I shoot for somewhere in the "Good" to "Better" range.

Perhaps you are correct though in that using today's luan for the hull is too far on the "unacceptable" side of the scale. I wouldn't know since I am far from an expert woodworker.

Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

Offline warren percell

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2010, 04:08:12 PM »
David, Listen to what you said. I want to have a great experience with my kids!!!! So for their sake, NO LUAN. Use it somewhere above the hull if you have to but use decent grade ply down below. Warren
Life is a journey, not a destination.

Offline Alan Mallett

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2010, 04:47:33 PM »
    Warren what you said makes sence to me and I can get  all kinds of 1/2" marine plywood from a friend at Sabre Yachts.  Does anyone know if 1'2" is bendable enough for the hull side panels, deck and transom making these areas all marine plywood, I'd only have to increase the outside deck dimension by a 1'4" per side, very doable ?
 
Alan & Franny

Offline warren percell

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2010, 06:15:35 PM »
Pretty cumbersome I would think, plus added weight. Is 1/4 in that much?
Life is a journey, not a destination.

Offline Dave Blake

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2010, 08:28:28 PM »
Alan:  1/2" is great for the bottom and bulkheads  For
hull sides and the cabin trunk, 1/4" is needed to take the curve properly.  You'll have a real hard time bending the 1/2" stuff in those apps.

Dave



Offline tombayus

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2010, 09:29:30 PM »
Greetings,

I am no expert ... but I have seen varnished hollow core doors with luan skins in basements with moisture problems and the skins swell, buckle, and delaminate ... even though they were varnished.

On the other hand, I left a scrap piece of untreated Okume Marine Plywood outside all winter in the rain and snow, and it is still structurally sound.

Hmmm.  

Me thinks you should use marine plywood for the boat.  

If money is a problem, just stretch out the building time.
 ;)

Like that never happens ...
 ;D

Cheers,
Tom
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

Offline David Oelker

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2010, 06:50:22 AM »
I am no expert ... but I have seen varnished hollow core doors with luan skins in basements with moisture problems and the skins swell, buckle, and delaminate ... even though they were varnished.

On the other hand, I left a scrap piece of untreated Okume Marine Plywood outside all winter in the rain and snow, and it is still structurally sound.

Not to kick a dead horse...or sea horse, as the case may be ;), but we aren't talking about luan being left out on the ground or being subjected to the continual moisture of a wet basement-like environment. These are trailerable boats that are in the water for limited periods of time and stored in the dry - all while being covered in multiple coats of epoxy. Wouldn't this, coupled with Mike's comments about penetrating epoxy make a difference?

Again, I'm not trying to be a pain in the neck, or a cheapskate - well, maybe the cheapskate part has a degree of truth to it, I'm just trying to express some of the concerns of the low budget crowd out here - of which I am surely a charter member :o

Offline Alan Mallett

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2010, 05:56:55 PM »
Hi Tom:
     As a builder of homes any door no matter how well sealed has to have the bottom cut after hanging when the carpet, tyle and inlaid guys come in, the last contractor on the job, this is called 'carpet sweep".  When the door is opened into a carpeted room it pushes the carpit pile away and when closed pulls the carpet pile back to a standing position.  On a trimmed exterior door sides, top and bottom are sealed against the weather, not so on an interior door neather before or after it has had the bottom trimmed.
     Any interior door subject to water at the bottom from washing machine over flow, shower curtain left outside, water heater rupture, ect will act as "A Wick".

                    Alan & Franny

Offline warren percell

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2010, 07:05:58 PM »
I just built a propane locker on the roof of my houseboat with luan, it was epoxied inside and out but not glassed. Well 3 weeks on the roof top and sheltered from direct rain & weather a seam has opened and will need some attention. I'm gonna GLASS THE HOLE THING! As I said, this will never be in the water but will be exposed to weather and it's NOT STRUCTURAL.
Life is a journey, not a destination.

Offline Terry Peterson

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Re: louon plywood
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2010, 01:08:50 AM »
I realize everones budgets are different but for something as critical to the build as the hull I would suggest you look closely at the difference in cost between substitutes, like luan, and marine grade plywood.  Take the total cost for marine grade plywood, like merenti or hydro tech, and the total cost for the luan.  The difference between them is the savings you realize when building your boat.  Is it that much of a savings? Is it worth the risk  for the hundreds of hours of work and losing the satisfaction of the boat you have built if the cheaper wood fails?  It really comes down to that.  At each step, where you consider the savings that going cheaper gives, think about the potential risk involved if going cheaper fails.  I am not suggesting you shouldn't cut corners but think some areas merit the cost using better materials brings.  You can cut back on sails, expensive sails could cost as much as your entire build, and you risk rowing back to shore if they fail.  You can save by using cheaper paint and risk sanding and repainting if that fails. You can buy an older, rust covered trailer, spend some hours sanding and painting and save.  All of these, and more, may be part of your plan to build a boat as cheaply as possible but at each step along the way compare the savings to the risk.  To me risking the hull and keel, for the money difference, just didn't add up.
aargh Matey!