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Thread: Marine ply, advice please?

  1. #1

    Default Marine ply, advice please?

    I am on the point of sourcing materials to build my Malamut canoe. Iíve got the plans and cleared the garage, all I need now is a few sheets of ply to get me started in the New Year. I have been phoning around for marine ply. One place quoted £47 and another £17. Both places claim that their product is genuine marine ply and not just exterior ply. Can anyone advise me what to look for so that I know I am buying good quality marine ply? Are there different grades of marine ply, or can the same stuff have such a big price difference between suppliers?
    All the best to you all for Christmas.
    Cheers, Dave.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    West London, UK
    Posts
    477

    Default

    I have been told that the only diference between marine ply and good quality exterior ply is that marine ply is garaunteed not to have any cavities or gaps between the butt joints of the vaneers.
    If its for a stitch and tape boat, some would say - i agree - save your pennies and go with some good quality exterior ply (i used birch for one of mine)
    It all started with a folding boat I built at school...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Cockwood Devon
    Posts
    312

    Default

    I have been told by profesional boat builders that marine ply is normaly only used where it is going to be submereged for most of it's life otherwise use top grade exterior.
    Many shores i have sailed to in my canoe,often against strong winds.Choose the tree well my brother if it is to carry you to distant shores. :- Chief Dan George

  4. #4

    Default

    I too have some plans for a Malamut canoe and four sheets of exterior ply in the (congested) garage. I first posted here about a year ago and I've had the plans for about three years. I have made a drunken bet that my canoe will be on the water before my birthday (May!). Keep me posted and I'll try and keep up. I can't clear the garage until the furniture in it is in the sitting room, which can only go in after the carpet is down, which can't be fitted until the doors to the consevatory have been hung and so on. Being self employed, I either have time or money, never both. I might start by whittling a paddle which should give me some encouragement. Good luck with your build

  5. #5

    Default

    To add to the confusion.....We used 3.6mm exterior ply on two boats this year and a friend of mine is building the same boat from 4mm marine......the quality is day and night. Having said that the boats built from the exterior ply worked fine.

    Pete

  6. #6

    Wink Marine ply for Christmas

    Quote Originally Posted by garetine View Post
    To add to the confusion.....We used 3.6mm exterior ply on two boats this year and a friend of mine is building the same boat from 4mm marine......the quality is day and night. Having said that the boats built from the exterior ply worked fine.

    Pete
    I may as well go for thegood stuff. The wood is a Chrismas present from my wife. I just didnt want to buy marine ply at £47 if the £17 was the same quality. thanks for the advice.
    Cheers, Dave.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central Scotland
    Posts
    1,742

    Default

    Marine ply tends to have better glue rather than better wood.

    Nick

  8. #8

    Default Marine ply

    Hi
    marine ply and exterior ply use the same adhesive to bond the laminates. BS. 1088 marine ply standard ( unfortunately now a waste of time ) used to not only specify the type of veneer also the fact that there should be no voids in any of the veneers within the ply. The old standard used to also specify the number of veneers and for quarter inch ply a minimum of 5 plys normally 6, however when far eastern was imported in large amounts the standard slipped and very few suppliers now meet fully the stringent stands originally laid down in BS.1088 one of the few companies that still match and exceed the standard is a company called Brunzeal unfortunately it is not a British company but a Dutch one but you can get supplies in the UK although it is very expensive it still carries the 25 year guarantee. A good alternative is Finnish Birch Ply it uses the same bonding adhesive and it has multiple veneers not the 3 layers of the far eastern ply ( usually a huge chunk in the centre with two very thin outer veneers ) and as the Birch trees are plantation grown they are a sustainable product. Just make sure you seal all surfaces well with epoxy or epoxy glass to protect the timber. You can get birch ply from most good builders supply yards where you can examine the sheets before buying ( If you are having them delivered sign the sheets you select with a felt marker to ensure you get what you selected ). As a final point the decks of roll on roll of car an lorry ferries are made from Finnish Birch ply, it is worth looking into.

  9. #9

    Default Thanks for your help

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxymanuk View Post
    Hi
    marine ply and exterior ply use the same adhesive to bond the laminates. BS. 1088 marine ply standard ( unfortunately now a waste of time ) used to not only specify the type of veneer also the fact that there should be no voids in any of the veneers within the ply. The old standard used to also specify the number of veneers and for quarter inch ply a minimum of 5 plys normally 6, however when far eastern was imported in large amounts the standard slipped and very few suppliers now meet fully the stringent stands originally laid down in BS.1088 one of the few companies that still match and exceed the standard is a company called Brunzeal unfortunately it is not a British company but a Dutch one but you can get supplies in the UK although it is very expensive it still carries the 25 year guarantee. A good alternative is Finnish Birch Ply it uses the same bonding adhesive and it has multiple veneers not the 3 layers of the far eastern ply ( usually a huge chunk in the centre with two very thin outer veneers ) and as the Birch trees are plantation grown they are a sustainable product. Just make sure you seal all surfaces well with epoxy or epoxy glass to protect the timber. You can get birch ply from most good builders supply yards where you can examine the sheets before buying ( If you are having them delivered sign the sheets you select with a felt marker to ensure you get what you selected ). As a final point the decks of roll on roll of car an lorry ferries are made from Finnish Birch ply, it is worth looking into.
    Thanks for all the detailed information. At least now I have an idea what to look for. I intend to make the canoe using good quality ply, as I want it to last me a long time and I want it to look good too.
    Thanks again for all your help, all the best, Dave.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield Derbyshire
    Posts
    558

    Default Punt

    I may have mentioned this before on the forum at some point but 20 years ago I built a 10 foot punt out of exterior ply with peruvian mahogany framing and good old cascamite glue!
    I used it for Pike fishing on the local reservoir for a year or two and a few trips to the broads. It was/is kept undercover in my garage the rest of the time and has had one fresh coat of paint and varnish in all that time. I checked it over last week and apart from a bit of painting to cover some scratches on the hull it is as sound and 'seaworthy' as the day it was built!(I'll post some pics when I find them!)
    I'm now putting together one of Michael Storers designs, a 'Eureka' canoe and have been down to Jewson and rifled through their stock to pick out the best boards of Exterior ply at 10 quid a sheet! My canoe will not be kept on the water or upside down in the rain so I fully expect it to be still usable in 20 years time (even if I'm not!) with a bit of maintenance.
    My advice is to look at the marine ply and then check out some exterior ply to see if it is inferior (and then buy the best at the price) but don't buy unseen!

    Good luck and let us see the pics!

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