Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

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brockj
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:24 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by brockj »

I have been searching through the forum trying to find as much information as I can before I order my material for my squirt build. At this time my plan is African mahogany for the frame and I am stuck on either Okoume or Meranti for the plywood. My intent is to finish it clear on the sides. Seems like most go with Okoume, but the price from the only place I have been able to find it in town is $120/sheet for 6mm (from what I have gathered I don't want to drop down to 4mm). I have requested an updated price on the Meranti but from some info on the website it looks to be about half that amount for Meranti. For the 3/4" framing and motor board I had thought about just going with Douglas Fir marine plywood, but the more I think about it that would not look good at all (unless I painted the motor board?).

So my question is, does anyone have any examples of clear finished Meranti I could compare to Okoume? It might help make the decision easier (or more expensive). Also, any reason not to use Douglas Fir marine plywood for the top decking if my plan is to cover with 1/8" mahogany/sapele boards?

hoodman
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by hoodman »

I can help with that. My frame gussets are meranti, the hull is okoume, and the frames are white oak. Everything is clear coated with epoxy. No stain. Okoume is slightly nicer to work with and lighter in weight. Meranti tends to splinter when you saw it. Both were high-quality panels.
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Matt

Building a Geronimo......!
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TomB
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by TomB »

brockj,

I used meranti and have switched to okoume. It is from www.theworkbench.com 6mm okoume is $95 plus shipping. www.marine-plywood.us has 6mm okoume for $77 plus shipping.

The sole panel on the right is okoume, with meranti on the left. For reference, my frames are white oak, battens are African mahogany, hull plywood and gussets are meranti. The finish, if you can call it that, is three coats of epoxy.
IMG_0416.jpg
The okoume is lighter weight, more flexible, and less prone to splinters.

Tom

Hercdrvr
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by Hercdrvr »

Meranti is darker than Okoume when epoxy encapsulated for what that’s worth. My major hang up with Meranti is the splintering along the sawn edge. I won’t use it again.
Good luck,
Matt B

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Roberta
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by Roberta »

Yes, the meranti splinters a lot on the sawn edge, You need to cut wide and sand it back to get a nice edge, It is also deeper in graininess and will require greater amounts of coating to fill in the pores of the wood. It is also heavier than Okoume. It is very pretty when finished properly.

Roberta
Roberta "Queen of the Boat Builders"
Built Zip "Oliver IV", Super Spartan "Jimmy 70", and Torpedo "The Glen L".

brockj
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:24 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by brockj »

Thank you everyone for the replies. It is nice to see the difference from the pictures provided. The grain pattern shown in hoodman's photo looks great to me and I would be very happy with that. On the other hand, TomB's photo makes Meranti look rather lackluster compared to Okoume. The splintering is definitely good to know. Does taping the cut prior help? I have not heard back from what appears to be the only supplier that carries either Okoume or Meranti locally. From what I am seeing it appears that they are a little high ($120) per sheet for Okoume, especially if Meranti is seriously half the price at around $60/sheet. If the prices were closer I am convinced to go with Okoume, but at double the cost is hard to justify.

For the 3/4" I am considering Douglas Fir since in most cases it is not seen. For the motorboard can I cover it with a scrap piece of 1/4" as a veneer? On the other hand, if I do end up going with Meranti any issue going with BS6566 Meranti just for the 3/4" (and 1088 for the bottom and sides)?

brockj
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by brockj »

I ended up calling out to what appears to be the ONLY non Douglas Fir marine plywood dealer in the state of Minnesota (Midwest Boat Appeal) and the cost difference truly is double, $63 for a 4'x8' sheet of 1/4" Meranti and $120 for a 4'x8' sheet 1/4" Okoume. The gentleman on the phone was very nice, but he also informed me that he is very low stock of his 1/4" plywood and that it will be 3-4 weeks before he gets more. This brings me to a couple questions:

1) Any reason not to use Douglas Fir Marine plywood for the Stem, Breasthook, Motorboard, and Transom?

2) If used for the transom, can I cover with 1/4" Meranti/Okoume to allow for a matching clear finish as I intend to do with the sides?

My goal of using the DF for the framing parts is mostly economical (since they are mostly covered is it worth spending an additional $120 for the sheet?), but also allows me to begin working on the plywood frame parts immediately instead of waiting an additional month (which will inevitably get pushed out a couple additional weeks as deer hunting begins).

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Roberta
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by Roberta »

You're fine laminating Okoume or Merante over DF.

DF is fine for stems, breast hooks, and floor timbers.

Roberta
Roberta "Queen of the Boat Builders"
Built Zip "Oliver IV", Super Spartan "Jimmy 70", and Torpedo "The Glen L".

brockj
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:24 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by brockj »

Thanks Roberta! Will pick that up this weekend and probably kick off my build. The delay on the 1/4" shouldn't be too big of a deal, other than the gussets.
Roberta wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:16 pm
You're fine laminating Okoume or Merante over DF.

DF is fine for stems, breast hooks, and floor timbers.

Roberta

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acflynn
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by acflynn »

I may be in the same boat - Ha! See what I did there? (Sorry it’s late). Would the Doug Fir ply be fine for the frame gussets as well?
Slowly building a Mist Miss in the Arizona desert

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DrBryanJ
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by DrBryanJ »

Yes the DF will work.
Bryan

Building a malahini "Mona Lisa"

My wife said "If I build a boat, she's getting a divorce."
We're still happily married, but now she just wants "the dam boat out of the garage."

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acflynn
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by acflynn »

Thanks for the conFIRmation - jeez, I can’t seem to stop. Sorry again, on vacation currently and a bit anxious to get back (temperature dropped about 30 degrees here from yesterday)
Slowly building a Mist Miss in the Arizona desert

brockj
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:24 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by brockj »

So I have decided that I might be better off ordering Okoume plywood from Noah's and having it shipped. I estimated the cost at around $100/sheet shipped if I ordered 6 sheets. So my question to those that have built the squirt to 11', is 6 sheets of 4x8 6mm plywood enough for the whole boat? At $100 a sheet I don't really want to order an extra sheet, but at the same time, would hate to be one short. Per the instructions it calls for

1- 4x10 for the planking bottom (or 2- 4x8)
1- 4x12 for the planking side (or 2- 4x8)
1- 4x8 plus scraps for the decking
scrap for the gussets

I went with 3/4" Douglas fir for the transom and was going to laminate over it on the back with 1/4" for appearance. I had also considered going with 1/4" douglas fir for the decking as I was going to use mahogany cover boards on the decking.

So for those that have done an 11' Squirt, 5 sheets of 4x8 or 6?

JimmY
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Re: Okoume vs Meranti for clear finishing

Post by JimmY »

Hi Brock,

My Squirt is 10' 10" and I bought 5 sheets of 1/4" Okoume and 1 sheet of 3/4" Okoume and I have significant scraps left over. I used 4x8 sheets and did a 3" scarf joint on the sides and bottom. This was also enough to do the deck with Okoume. If I recall, use 1 sheet for half of the bottom (wider than 24") and one side (less than 24" wide), another 1/2 sheet (4'x4') is scarfed to the bottom and side pieces to make up the ~12' length. So that is 3 sheets total so far, and the last 2 sheets are used for the deck. Since the Squirt is only 52" (?) at the widest point, you can rip a narrow strip off the sheets for the deck to make the frame gussets.

I would recommend using 3/4" Okoume for the transom and the stem pieces. While some here have used Douglas Fir, it always seams to check and split. If you were planning on 5 sheets of 1/4" Okoume plus the Fir plywood, you can drop the Fir and buy 3/4" Okoume and probably stay in your budget. This worked for me, just think through how you lay out the parts and it can be done. The plywood will be a small portion of the overall cost of building a boat.

I can go though my build photos to see if I can give you some more ideas on how to layout the parts.
-Jim
Nothing says poor craftsmanship like wrinkles in your duct tape!

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