Join Date: Jun 2006
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I am restoring an old boat, 31 yeats old in fact and the ply they used was only cabinet grade... 31 years later it is intact.
Something important to consider, the finish. If the ends and sides of the sheet is sealed and a good quality finish is applied then any plywood should perform well. exterior ply is a ripoff, I will say it again, a ripoff. In my construction business I couldnt tell you how much exterior ply I have removed due to delamination and water damage.
The boat I am restoring now, I am using cherry ply with the back epoxied, as well as the ends and a conversion varnish finish on the face, 6 coats. Will it last, you bet.
Also, keep your ply 1/8th of an inch up from the pan. This will allow air to dry any water that may be under that edge.
I have used baltic birch for years mainly for locker covers and tables and never have I had a problem with it.
I have never bought into this okume arguement because it is overkill for many applications.
But then again I am a classic plastic fan and I'll take a balsa cored hull over what is produced today, anyday.
I am working an a 1975 Coronado... yes Coronado 35 foot center cockpit and I have had my nose over every inch of that boat and the hull is 100%... 31 years later and massively neglected. It was built with a BALSA core.
My point is this, fiberglass and finishes are what protect the wood. Do it right and it will last a long long time. Dont waste your money on the expensive ply's.