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Futtocks - Live Oak

mate's picture

Worked in the Schooner Ernestina booth at the Working Waterfront event in New Bedford today. There was a lot of interest in the live oak that we got for the futtocks and one guy knew a lot about it.

He said it came from a boatyard in Charleston (MA) near where they haul the Constitution. There was a boatyard there that goes back 200 years. They had acquired some live oak that comes from down south. It was stored in ponds so the bugs wouldn't bother it. The pond was filled in at one time, and a new construction project unearthed the oak. A company acquired it and took it to ME and put it in their yard for sale. Some of the smaller stuff was cut up for flooring, but they saved the big stuff for boatwork.

Live oak is denser than white oak, and the grain is such that it doesn't split easily, making it great for futtocks (curved frame parts) It was saved in big curved chunks.
 very old live oak pieces

We took a futtock pattern and went up to see if there were some pieces big enough for Ernestina. The outside of the pieces were black and rough, but the pieces were heavy and strong. We picked some out - one of which weighed 3000 pounds and was big enough to make several of them. They shipped a load down and they were used. It is one place where a nice straight-grained piece is not what you want.