25/03/2019 at 3:14 pm #17676
As many know, Spark, is an early 60s Series 1. In doing repairs over the winter, I discovered that one of my floorboards is cracked all the way through and has some rot. I would like to replace it and another questionable looking board. The question remains: What wood did Bell Woodworking use for the floorboards? My local mill is uncertain what it is and I need to know before he can order any.
25/03/2019 at 4:18 pm #17678
Although I don’t conclusively know, I rather suspect that they may well have used ramin. That suspicion is for no better reason that that it was a popular hardwood at the time, and I have very definitely known of it being used in boat building in situations where its light appearance was specifically wanted (e.g. in contrasting coloured strips in laminated rubbing beads, etc.), and I vaguely recollect that early floorboards were often whitish in colour. However it is rated as non-durable, which is an argument against its choice.
If they did indeed use ramin, this timber has been seriously over-exploited in the past, and is now officially listed as an endangered species, so it is unlikely to be available (except perhaps second-hand). Online references tell us that most of the limited amount of ramin now harvested is the result of illegal logging.
But if I am right in that guess, it follows that you are going to have to choose something else, which allows you to start with a clean slate.
However I happen to have a set of vintage GP14 floorboards in my garage (destined for Snowgoose at some future stage), source and builder unknown, which although well weathered appear to be a medium hard and medium close-grained timber with a reddish colour; so they, at least, are clearly not ramin. I don’t think they are any of the mahoganies, but I could be mistaken.
If you cannot identify (or can no longer obtain) the original timber I suggest it might be sensible to consider either cedar, or sapele, or utile.
Hope this helps,
25/03/2019 at 9:30 pm #17687
I built a Bell kit in the early seventies and went straight to plywood floorboards. However some of the original boards are still in my garage (in the original polythene wrapping!) and I would guess that the wood is parana pine; the grain lines are the characteristic reddish colour and the wood has a yellowish tint. Google tells me it is an endangered species and likely to be expensive!
30/03/2019 at 1:52 am #17708
I decided to have them made up in Cypress. It’s the wood the local mill recommends for floor boards. It’s not too bad in price, $50 and all I need to do is drill the screw holes, varnish, and install. I could have routed the edges, but I lack a planer to get them to the proper thickness
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