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Frame Choice for next build

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Hi all, I am starting to consider re-starting my Amphion scratch build so am looking (again) at wood choices.

For the frame (as that's what i will be on for the next eight gazillion years) I have the following options. The list is constrained by a particular supplier and the fact that I have decided I do not have the space to size wood myself so am buying planed to a size where by Byrnes can cope (so 'thin')


White Beech

Steamed Beech (above but pinkier/darker)
American Cherry
Canadian Hard Maple

Western Red Cedar


I started with American Cherry so may just keep with that but thought I may look around at some other low grain options. Any opinions on suitability will be gladly welcomed..


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Hello Matrim, I have used beech, steamed I think, and it's a lovely wood to work  but can be a bit splintery, on my Triton hull I'm using yellow cedar I've sourced from Balsacabin.co.uk.  That said I really like the look of cherry. That's my thoughts for you.


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Wow, Bruce !!  Boxwood!   logs though - likely not too large-  Unless it is possible to access a band saw 14" or large - processing it will involve frustration and agony - would not consider it for framing but grabbing a serious supply for use as blocks, catheads, davits,  bitts ,  belfreys,  is worth considering.

The Pear though -  if it is quality and is 4x4 or 8x4  and the price is reasonable - back up a truck and fill it.



I would score everything on your list as an excellent choice but the Red Cedar.  I have no experience with it.  Beech seems similar to Hard Maple  but a tad darker.  Hard Maple and Black Cherry are my choices for framing.  They are domestic species for me and easy to get.  

Basswood is way too soft and iffy about holding a sharp edge to me.  Lime is the same genus but a bit harder - enough harder, I seriously question.   Yellow Poplar  is similar in hardness, but it works as though it were a lot harder.  It will hold a sharp edge.  The stock that I have gotten is excellent for framing - if you totally plank over it.  The color range in a single board can go from tan to green to a color that looks like creosote treated Pine - ugly brown.  Good looks ain't its thing.

POF uses a lot of wood.  A frigate @ 1:48 - you are looking at maybe 10-20 BF.  More if you cut your frames from stock that is glued into a "U" and cement the frame pattern to it, a lot more.

The volume of wood used for everything but framing is reasonable enough to make using imported species worth considering.

For framing, it makes for a more reasonable budget outlay the use species that are domestic where you live.


While good Apple is king,  it is a bear to obtain.   Your Pear - Pyrus communis - steamed (Swiss) or not comes in a close second.  I love Black Cherry, but Pear is better.  The hard species of Maple domestic for you is Sycamore maple, European sycamore   Acer pseudoplatanus.   It is probably close enough in hardness to make not worth paying a premium  for imported Acer saccharum.  


Because Underhill praised Sycamore Naple,  but called it Sycamore,  I bought a supply of our Sycamore -  American Plane  Platanus occidentalis .  A more awful species would take work to find. well maybe Siberian Elm or Lombardy Poplar.

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Thanks all. exotichardwoods also seem to have wood my table saw can cut (blanks for guitars from the looks of things). The pear is steamed though so I am enquiring as to whether they are the ones steaming.


Otherwise beech/american cherry will be the way to go.

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Avoid Western Red Cedar like the plague. Very soft, splintery, and the dust from it is quite toxic. 


I use Beech often in my art boxes and I like it very much. Cuts well, holds an edge. Minimal appearing grain.

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