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Hey everyone, can you recommend a good alternative to teak ( if there is one)? I'm replacing an exterior piece of wood and a teak piece is going to be pretty expensive.
 

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1968 Columbia 50
Columbia 50
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I have used both Ipe and Cumaru. Both are very rot resistant, and very hard. working with them you will wish to wear a breathing mask for dust. The Ipe i bought significantly warped on me, but that might have been due to the kiln job, or not. Your results may vary. The varnished finish came out very much like that of Teak, and is a good match in color and grain. Costs for both tend to run between 1/4 and 1/2 of teak. My local provider of Cumaru can get many different sizes and lengths pretty readily.
 

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There are alternatives...but none that will save you much if any money on a strength and durability basis. They are all generally expensive, heavy, exotic hardwoods.

One cheap(er) alternative is cedar, which is well known for it's rot resistance and has long been a boat building material. It's just not strong like teak hardwood is. It dents easily, just won't hold up as well over the years. But it looks great, smells great, and is lighter and cheaper. All things a compromise.

But I'd be careful of "aromatic cedars" that are actually juniper, a completely different animal. Save that for ornamental wooded boxes and such. TRUE cedar is not native to the Americas. Here in the Pacific Northwest we use red cedar for all sorts of things, being awash in the stuff. Even cooking. I like the smell of Western Red Cedar, and I've used it as liners in cabinets. Can make the whole boat smell nice...if you like that smell.

Cedar probably won't make the longest lasting walking surface, or anything structure, being a softwood. But it won't rot anytime soon.

Good teak is magical stuff but....$$$$.
 
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美國佬
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Depending on how big a piece you need, you might try a local marina, since some of them have pieces of mahogany and teak from demolished boats, and they may sell them really cheap. I've also used white oak for certain things - when my original tiller started to make cracking noises, I bought a board from a place that recycles building materials, and made a new solid oak tiller from that. I could make three more tillers from what's left, and it cost me $25.
 

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I second the white oak suggestion as a wood able to withstand the weather, but most importantly, like teak it won't stain or permanently damage if there is a breach in the coating. Quite likely the cost of the teak will seem reasonable after working with some of the alternatives.
Dan
 

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美國佬
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I second the white oak suggestion as a wood able to withstand the weather, but most importantly, like teak it won't stain or permanently damage if there is a breach in the coating. Quite likely the cost of the teak will seem reasonable after working with some of the alternatives.
Dan
My experience with white oak is the opposite - it develops black streaks where there is a gap in the varnish, and varnish doesn't adhere to it all that well. I keep my tiller covered so that it doesn't develop black marks along the grain. Coating with epoxy, then varnish seems to work much better. I like teak, but mahogany is so much cheaper.

Regarding teak, unless I misread your sentence above, I don't understand what you mean by permanent damage from a breach in the coating - really really old weathered teak becomes like new with a little bit of sanding, ditto for mahogany.

I agree that after spending a few hours sanding white oak, you'll pine for teak (yuk, yuk); it's tough as hell.
 

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Chastened
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Somewhere I'd read that African Mahogany is also an acceptable substitute, also Iroko (African teak) and maybe Okume.
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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i am using mexican ipe aka perota aka huanacaxtle wood. is hard, resists rot and bugs, and looks good. reddens in air after oil is absorbed, is gorgeous. my nav light boards are perota, my mizzenboom is perota, and my horizontal spars will all be perota.
 

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As another stated, Iroko. It’s my top secret wood when making cabinets for clients. I love the grain and softness of appearance. It’s a bugger to plane but easy to sand. Ipe will be the easiest to find. Also Garapa is nice of you like a
More golden look
 

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Iroko is what used to be used (? is still used?) in place of teak for production boats?! Almost impossible to tell the difference ! Works the same, or better than teak! Cheaper, when I got it 30 yrs ago ! You just have to be able to find it!
 

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I've used Ipe or something called Iron Wood. These products change their name as they come from different places. Being used commonly for decks they are a lot cheaper than teak and I got mine at Home Depot. They are harder than teak and takes more to cut and shape them. In my case it was a rather large cockpit grating. They worked well. I wasn't going to varnish it. It didn't float so that was good too. When i need teak, like inside, I go to boat consignment places. They have odd pieces and salvaged teak cabinetry. This is a way lot cheaper than from boat stores.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the replys! That gives me some ideas of what to start looking for. It sounds like I need to quit being cheap and just shell out the $$$$ for teak
 

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Thanks for the replys! That gives me some ideas of what to start looking for. It sounds like I need to quit being cheap and just shell out the $$$$ for teak
Hard to go wrong that way.

Teak used to be cheaper. Once upon a time they used to deck aircraft carriers with the stuff. :)
 

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S/V Wyndwitch - Morgan 24
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Iroko is the more reasonable "substitute" as the weight density figure and color are in the ballpark
Ipe is utterly too heavy for a proper marine lumber but it can take some serious abuse.I do not understand your use of it for spars when longitudinal strength coupled with light weight sets apart good woods for spars!
I have used cumaru and found it will blend with darker teak in a cockpit or situation where mixing is helpful
African mahogany is too dark not any sort of match. Recycled teak is available around here stripped off a scrapped battleship you have to remill and plan around bolt holes which can be nicely plugged. The source is Roberts Plywood Deer Park New York

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
 

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Have used a fair amount of Iroko, Sapele as well as Teak for boating applications and custom exterior doors. Iroko & Sapele price out similarly, both about 1/4 the price of Teak. (approx. $40bf v. $10bf retail)

Suggest you go here https://www.woodworkerssource.com/ very good site to get a feel of workability, density, characteristics of all these exotic species as well as good visuals, a good resource, whether you buy from them or not....fwiw.
 

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One wood I think would be worth trying is osage orange, though finding the lumber may be difficult. It's bright yellow when freshly cut, but oxidizes to a dark brown if left unfinished. So far as I'm aware, there is no other wood that grows in N. America that has greater rot resistance. Black Locust, for instance, makes fence posts (soil contact is about the best test for rot resistance) which are reputed to last 40 years, whereas osage is reputed to last for 70. White oak goes about 15 years according to what I've read. I've got some osage planks out in the open covering a well pit. They've been out there 7 years now and look great. Extremely hard and dense, so not as nice to work with as teak.
 
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