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Arauco Ply

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Arauco Ply

Postby bklake » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:56 am

I saw this at Lowes. It claims to be exterior grade and for outdoor projects. Comes in 15/32" and 23/32" A-C grade. I bought a sheet to make a center console. Mostly to examine its qualities. I have some epoxy I got cheap at the Boater's World sell off so not much lost if it doesn't work well. This sheet was about $25, 3/4" runs about $35 I think. It is supposed to be made using Radiata pine. This type of wood is not rot resistant but not any worse than some other wood commonly used. In the past, I used Radiata pine boards for a project. It was some of the nicest wood I have found in a long time. Straight grain, no twisting and saws nicely.

Here is a description. It is 5 almost equal plies. The top ply, A side, is a little thinner but not much. I looked at the whole stack they had and about 1 in 10 sheets has voids on the edge. Voids on the edge means voids in the middle. The A side is really nice. The C side is really C minus. There are splits, knots and a lot of filled knot holes. The sheet rode around in the back of my pickup for two weeks. It was covered but a little water gets in when raining and it rained a lot the last two weeks. After this, it was not perfectly flat but definitely better off than the twisted, warped piece of CDX that has been my bed protector for the last year. I don't know if the top ply will check if bent but it seems to be bendy springy stuff, more so than fir or pine plywood. I read one review of this stuff and a guy commented that some scraps have been in the back of his truck for several months. The pieces have not delaminated and are fairly straight

So far, I have cut about 8 pieces, using about half of the sheet. I have not hit any voids, but that doesn't mean there are none there. I picked out a piece that didn't have any voids on the edge. My saw blade isn't the best but it cuts this stuff well with minimal splintering, more like fuzz on the cut edge. I drilled about 10 pocket holes to attach the pieces. The Kreg type screws seem to hold well.

Next up is to epoxy and tape the joints. I dripped some water on the wood to see if it is waterproofed, it does not appear to be treated in any way. It soaks up water fine so I'm hoping it takes up epoxy. I will report back when this is done.

So far, I have concluded that I would not build a boat using this stuff. I would not build a structural part of a boat with this because of the voids. For non structural parts it is fine if you can hide the C side. It is easy to work and we will see how it holds up as a center console.
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Re: Arauco Ply

Postby Fred in Wisc » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:53 pm

I just bought a stack of this to use for underlayment for the vinyl floor in my kitchen. It was way nicer looking that the regular BC stuff.

Here is my impression: It's really soft, you can sink a screw head into it with little effort. It has voids in the inner layers. Not as bad as BC pine, but still too many for boat use.

On the other hand my flooring installer said it was great for underlayment....

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Re: Arauco Ply

Postby bklake » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:59 pm

A little update. I just found a long strip, about 1/16" thick, of this that sat outside in the sun and rain for three weeks. It is warped as I would expect from a thin strip. The glue seems to be holding well. I broke it apart and the glue line held strong, breaking at the wood.
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Re: Arauco Ply

Postby frazoo » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:45 pm

We discussed Arauco Ply a year or so ago. I actually used it to build my V12. It didn't save me a penny. It is very soft as Fred noted, it checks a lot as most soft woods will and It is VERY thirsty. It takes a minimum of three coats of expoxy to seal it, and you'll feel better with four or five coats. You have to cover it completely with cloth to avoid the checking. I covered the outside and seat tops of my V12 with cloth, and used a product with lots of elasticity on the rest of the inside just as an experiment. I would have had a cheaper and lighter boat had I used quality marine ply (not the douglas fir). I have several scrap pieces of Arauco that have been outside for almost two years now, the glue still holds.

Good luck, frazoo
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Re: Arauco Ply

Postby bklake » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:56 pm

My bad, I spelled it incorrectly when i searched for anything on this wood.

After reading the old thread, it sounds like the sheet I bought isn't as good quality as what was written about several years ago. It was said that the C side was almost as nice as the A side. That is not the case now. I might thicken the epoxy a little to keep it from sponging up too much resin.
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Re: Arauco Ply

Postby frazoo » Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:57 pm

Yeah, based on what I have seen local to me recently the quality of BOTH sides have gone down considerably.

good luck with it,

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