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Old 03-13-2014, 04:15 PM   #1
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Project fail

I have docked in a few places where fender boards would have been handy, but had to get by with just lots of fenders.

So... I decided to make up a fender board. I looked around the shed at home but only had pine 2x4's & 2x6's . Not strong enough I thought. I then found a 2"x6" piece of local hardwood I had cut up from a fallen grey box tree in the back yard. Grey box is the predominate native tree in this area.

I gave it a rough sanding, drilled a couple holes and spliced some loops, and it was ready to go. Simple! (or so I thought).

Before I tried it out, I lowered the board into the water, holding onto the spliced line. It kept going down. It sank like a rock.???

I researched the properties of grey box, and it turns out this is one of the densest woods in the world, Specific gravity 1.2 to 1.4. Equal to lignum vitae which was used for building stern tubes for submarines and rope block pullies.

Although my fender board won't break, maybe I'll make up another one out of something that floats, and save the grey box for a new stern tube.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:51 PM   #2
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That's very interesting data on grey box wood, but makes me wonder how it was when you made the initial cut, not to mention the sanding and drilling. Does the wood peal, flake or dust with drilling. Might be good for another project I have in mind.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:26 PM   #3
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Why do you think the 2x6's wouldn't be strong enough? Last year on a trip from Seattle to California we had to use fender boards at one of the fuel docks. We borrowed a set that was already made up using 2x6's. We were on a 58' boat and the fender boards worked fine.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:35 PM   #4
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depends if the federboards are for fair weather or hurricanes...I snapped a 2x4 on in pretty mild conditions during Sandy...but it was weak near a knot....If I think I'm getting into a storm situation again I'm bringing along 4x4 material.
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:01 AM   #5
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A good straight grained Douglas Fir (or "Oregon" has its called in Australia) 2x6 would probably be fine for most conditions. The standard pine you buy here is usually a bit knotty and I wouldn't trust.

Larry - There are some amazing hardwoods here in Australia. I'm still getting to know them, most aren't sold commercially. The grey box is a protected species, but here in the Adelaide Hills we live in the middle of the biggest remaining forest of these trees. I get a few big branches falling in the yard every year during a storm. The wood is manageable to work with when green using good quality tools, but hardens up significantly after drying. When drilling, I work up in size using steel bits, cleaning the bit often so it doesn't overheat. It tends to clog up a spiral drill bit, but my spade bits weren't up to the job.

The other predominant local tree is the sheoak, or ironwood as it is called by wood turners. Also very hard. Also protected.

The one tree that can be cut down is the olive, as it's considered a pest tree. Nice to work with but hard to get long straight lengths.
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