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Old 01-20-2015, 07:56 AM   #1
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Warning - Marine plywood Caribbean

If you need to use plywood or any wood acquired in the Caribbean be careful and seek some knowable advice as to what to get.

When we redid the fuel tanks in Grenada in 2013 marine plywood was supplied by the yard for the interior sidewalls covering the tanks in the engine room. To this plywood was mounted all the electrical connections, inverters, battery switches, bus bars etc. on one side, and all the fuel connections, Racors, fuel polisher, hydraulic tank etc on the other side.

Seems the yard supplied cheaper plywood which unfortunately was infested when purchased. Get conflicting stories, but the US Douglas fir plywood common for marine plywood in the US is a problem here in the Caribbean. Hardwood marine plywood costs between $180 and $280 US a 4ft x 8ft sheet here in St. Lucia. The bugs are not as attracted to this plywood.

Common US treated lumber is not used for studs either. A hard wood, don't remember the name, is used.

If you are having work done in the Caribbean, don't rely on the yard, verify all the materials and determine independently that it is the correct product to use.

All is well with Bay Pelican now. Systems put back together, my engine room bruises will heal, and the weight I lost working day after day will not be missed.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:08 AM   #2
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Termites?
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:14 AM   #3
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Bugs dont like glue , so get ply that is many thin layers , rather than 3 or 4 ply house stuff.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:26 AM   #4
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At work I run all the dry kilns . We bring all hardwood up to 160 degrees . 130 degrees is supposed to kill all buds and larva . Bugs can still get back in from other lumber that hasn't been dried that may be in the area .
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pack Mule View Post
At work I run all the dry kilns . We bring all hardwood up to 160 degrees . 130 degrees is supposed to kill all buds and larva . Bugs can still get back in from other lumber that hasn't been dried that may be in the area .
Pack is correct!!
I worked in a large Mill while going to college. The layup process ended with the plywood bundles being pressed, strapped and trimmed, then run into a Kiln, where it was dried and cured for a period of time, as was all the lumber we produced. There is nothing living in it when it comes out.

I don't know how they lay it up in the Caribbean, but if it was kiln dried the insect infestation is probably occurring after production through contact with contaminated lumber. Small sawmills and portable home and farm mills cut and sell green (raw) lumber and air dry their product, instead of kiln drying. Buying plywood from a lumber yard that also buys home produced lumber, yes it's cheaper, but you're asking for trouble.
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Old 01-21-2015, 12:11 AM   #6
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While the Caribbean is perhaps more risky, don't assume it's all ok in the US. The contractor who is undercutting others in price or the person finding you a special deal on materials may well be doing it because of having substandard materials.
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