Wood for boat sign recommendations

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jssussex@gmail.com
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Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by jssussex@gmail.com »

I've been commissioned to carve and paint a number of sign for a tug/tow boat in Miami. I'm a great lakes guy. They want a natural wood with carved and painted letters. I know woods like teak have oils so paint won't hold up. I'm thinking white oak but maybe others have a better recommendation. The largest sign is 120 x 12. The signs will be in the weather so I'm planning on a transparent stain and spar varnish top coat.

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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by Jim_in_PA »

Many experienced sign makers will tell you to use something other than wood and carve/paint in the wood grain, etc. It's about the only way to get an outdoor sign to last for a long time and in the marine environment, it's going to be even more challenging. There's a reason that the wood on boats/ships has to be stripped and refinished with relative frequency! Consider HDU or PVC for your project. If they insist on "only wood"...make sure your contract reflects a disclaimer about weathering, etc.

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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by mtylerfl »

I was thinking the same thing, Jim. I would lobby with the client to use 30# HDU. Modeling a woodgrain is trivial and the sign could be painted to look like real wood was used. Plus - it will last a long time.

Drawback is cost to the client - more time for cutting/carving and finishing initially. Still, it will be more economical in the long run.
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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by Leo »

I have not made any "boat" signs, but I have lived my entire life around boats and salt water. I am very familiar with what the boat signs look like.

White Oak is OK, NOT red oak.

Mahogany, Cedar, Spanish Cedar, is used on and around boats. A guy on Youtube restoring boats uses Sepele Mahogany.

Spar Varnish by companies like Epiphanes is a good protective top coat.

Go to a place like West Marine and chat with people there. Also a marina to chat with people there would be helpful.

I do agree with HDU, PVC or other non-wood materials, but I know that boat people want the real wood deal.

This guy is a high level boat builder in New England. Maybe you can glean some info from his videos.
https://www.youtube.com/user/TipsfromaShipWright/videos

I made a red oak threshhold for my outside door to my shop a year or so ago. I coated it with West Systems epoxy. Still looks like I did it yesterday, and that gets a lot of foot abuse. May make a good top coat.

No matter what - it will need constant maintenance to keep it looking good. Boat owners know this about boats.
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Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by jssussex@gmail.com »

Thank you guys for the post. I have worked with HDU and I believe I have the skill to create a wood grain texture. Not so sure on the painting skills. What do use to back up the HDU with? Marine Plywood? Would you still use a quality marine SPAR varnish top coat.
I have a call from the customer today and see if I can point him in that direction.

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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by ChrisInEstes »

I'll throw this into the mix for something to think about. Boats get dinged up. Especially a tug boat. If I had to choose between white oak and HDU, I'd go with the white oak because it's a much stronger material. Even 30# HDU won't resist dents and dings very well.

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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by wb9tpg »

If you need "wood" I'd go with Western Red Cedar. It carves beautifully and is widely used on boats
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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by Leo »

If you use a REALLY good quality marine paint, you don't need the spar varnish.

Epiphanes, Interlux, Total Boat.
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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by TReischl »

What does everyone have against Teak? Other than you have to mortgage your house for a board of it?
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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by Rcnewcomb »

What does everyone have against Teak? Other than you have to mortgage your house for a board of it?
It's only $32/bf
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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by JoeBlow »

No experience with it myself but a friend of mine from the South suggested Sassafras. Grows quite a bit down there and used in boat building.

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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by jssussex@gmail.com »

Customer definitely wants wood and we are going with 5/4 white oak

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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by Savannahdan »

Another wood to consider is Eastern White Cedar (also called Northern White Cedar). I purchased around 200 board feet of it from a fellow who bought it to repair a small sailboat but leaving the area. He purchased it from a supplier to boating in Rhode Island.

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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by Leo »

jssussex@gmail.com wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:54 am
Customer definitely wants wood and we are going with 5/4 white oak
Sounds like boat people to me.
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Re: Wood for boat sign recommendations

Post by Rcnewcomb »

Boat:
Definition:
1. A hole in the surface of the water into which money is thrown
2. Acronym: Bust Out Another Thousand
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