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bigcreekdad

Any thoughts on Alaskan Yellow Cedar

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I'm just starting the hull planking on my Cheerful. I milled a quantity of planking strips using AYC, and find them very easy to "dent". Even light fingernail pressure seems to leave a mark. Is this more common with AYC vs cherry, pear, or boxwood?

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It does seem to be a trait of AYC.   I've only used it, so far, for planking decks and areas that don't need pressure.  If the hull planks are pre-bent using heat, water, whatever method works for you and do fit with minimal pressure, run some wood glue along the length with gaps.  In the gaps put a drop of CA to tack the piece down.  There might be an issue with things setting up fast if you're using one long plank instead of a few shorter ones.  

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Posted (edited)

Yes, but it is nonetheless a fine modeling species. In fact, it's one of the most versatile species around. Get a manicure and you won't have any problems with it. :D

 

I suggest you put The Wood Database in your "favorites" file. I haven't found a more valuable resource tool for wood identification and properties anywhere on the internet: https://www.wood-database.com/

 

Here's the Database's "Wood Finder" page entry for AYC: https://www.wood-database.com/wood-finder/?fwp_wood_type=softwood&fwp_location=north-america&fwp_color=f4ade6dcf8b10d9a9934c5cf9b49be51&fwp_decay=durable

 

And here's the entry for boxwood: https://www.wood-database.com/wood-finder/?fwp_genus=buxus&fwp_wood_type=hardwood

 

The Janka hardness test (from the Austrian-born emigrant Gabriel Janka, 1864-1932) measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. It measures the force required to embed an 11.28 millimetres (0.444 in) diameter steel ball halfway into a sample of wood. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test

 

The Wood Database information on the pages cited above indicates that AYC has a Janka hardness rating of 580 pounds, while boxwood's Janka hardness rating is 2840 pounds. 

 

If you want a harder and probably less expensive modeling species than AYC, you might consider "sweet gum," also commonly called "satin walnut," which is the wood of the liquidambar tree. A fine, interlocked-grain hardwood with a Janka hardness in the 800's, it's considered a very good modeling wood by some. This relatively fast-growing species is widely planted as an ornamental shade tree throughout the U.S. and is often cut down  when trunks reach about a foot in diameter because it's roots are shallow and wide-spreading and so tend to push up sidewalks and patios. Retail availability is probably limited, although it is used commercially for furniture and gun stocks. It can often be had for free at municipal corporation yards or from tree services, but you'll have to mill it yourself, of course.

 

 

Edited by Bob Cleek

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for mentioning the sweet gum..   Lots of it around here, and I had never considered it for modeling..  I'll have to find me a piece, and check it out..

 

I had bought a couple of sheets of the AYC from Chuck, and haven't got around to using it yet ( beside taking it out of the wrapper and sniffing it, once in a while.. ).  I hadn't given the hardness much thought until today..  Yes, I can ding it with my thumbnail..    Good to know before I start working with it..

Edited by Gregory

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Yes it is a soft wood.   You need to be careful and treat it like you would basswood.  Although it leaves a real sharp edge and doesnt get fuzzy.   The end grain also doesnt darken much when you apply a finish.   You just need to be careful and cut your nails.  

 

Chuck

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On 5/12/2019 at 11:49 AM, bigcreekdad said:

find them very easy to "dent". Even light fingernail pressure seems to leave a mark. Is this more common with AYC vs cherry, pear, or boxwood?

This doesn't sound like the the yellow cedar I'm used to, which has a hardness similar to black walnut.   It's a slow growing species, so generally has very fine grain with faint annual rings.   No way I can indent it with a finger nail without really trying, especially after it has seasoned for a while.   Excellent wood for holding detail in carvings.

Maybe the source is a second growth stand in open sun light, which will grow quickly and has a lower density.  

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Bruce,

Where do you think the Wood Database that Bob referenced might be getting their information from?

Is it possible we are looking at two different species that are similar in some regard but not hardness?

 

 

On 5/12/2019 at 4:57 PM, Bob Cleek said:

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2019 at 4:17 AM, Gregory said:

Where do you think the Wood Database that Bob referenced might be getting their information from?

Greg,

The source of almost all published properties for North American woods  is from the USDA book "Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material" based on tests done at the Forest Products Lab in Madison WI, and similar facilities in Canada.  Click on the link to go to a page to download the book.  (It's free, paid for by US tax payers)

 

Boxwood isn't listed in the USDA book, probably because the volumes of commercial harvest are so small and it's not used for structures.   I haven't been able to find a source for the Wood Database numbers.   The listed properties on the Wood Database are extremely high, which leads me to think it's closer to ironwood or purple heart (very dense and doesn't float!).  Definitely not the wood used for planking, but excellent for carving details.   

 

Keep in mind that the published values are averages and that the range is typically at least 15% either way, mainly dependent on growing conditions.  For instance, second growth (re-planted after a forest has been logged) is generally less dense with larger annual rings than old growth because the growing trees are not shaped by mature trees around them so they grow very fast.  While not strictly true, it is often said that there is more variation in a wood property within a single tree of any species than there is between species.  

 

 

Edited by lehmann

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