Categories
boats

New wood technologies part two: Alpi

L1009971

Clever stuff. Imitation teak. The colour and graining is convincing, only the regularity lets it down slightly.

Last year I was at Mets trade show for boats. It was an impressive set up with acres of stands covering all aspects of boating. Quite by chance I came across an Italian company selling wood veneers. I couldn’t resist a look. I was very impressed with their huge range of veneers all of the highest quality. What’s more the veneers were in large sheets displayed on hangers. I was surprised that such consistency could be had from wood.

L1009970

Not sure what this one is supposed to be but it’s rather nice.

When I got home I did some reading and came to understand why the veneers were so large and so regular. The reason is because it’s not real wood. Well it is wood but it has been reconstituted. Let me explain.

Alpi wood starts life as a fast growing and sustainable wood like poplar. It is then turned in to large veneer sheets which are then dyed with eco friendly dyes. Then they are stacked together and glued to make one massive piece of plywood which is then cut to the final veneer. The colour of the dyes and the orientation of different coloured sheets can create a surprising number of convincing veneers. Even the colour of the glue can help to add to the effect. Where a wider grain is needed, the block of plywood is cut at a slight angle to create the effect. The idea is simply brilliant.

L1009972

This must be mahogany. If you like that uninteresting regular grain pattern then why wouldn’t you use this instead of real wood.

What we have here is a sustainable solution for exotic wood species. This is a completely eco product. Further more it is more stable than genuine veneers and available in much bigger sheets. You can even design your own wood. The possibilities are endless. Alpi were kind enough to send me some samples which I shall test in due time. They are not designed for outdoor use but I reckon if they are coated in a good UV varnish I see no reason why it wouldn’t do very well outdoors.

The only real problem is that the wood can appear too perfect. It lacks the flaws that give wood its character. However in the right situation Alpi wood could be a very good solution. I look forward to playing with it.

L1009960

In this close up you can clearly see the individual layers. By laying slightly different colours in varying order almost any wood grain effect can be achieved.

L1009962

Close up of the teak version. There’s a lot going on in here. The layers are thicker so this must have been cut at a slight angle and not square like the sample above this one.

www.alpi.it

Categories
boats

Quintessential Gentleman’s yacht for sale

L1009521

Waif was sold in 2013 but is now available again. Move fast, classic yachts like this don’t come around very often. Contact info@woodenwidget.com

She might only be 28 feet long but ‘Waif’ is massive below and open right from the stem to the cockpit. Her decks are epoxy sheathed so she’s dry and the wood burning stove makes Waif’s interior a very cosy place to be.

Waif is over 80 years old but structurally is in as new condition. Her shipwright owner has improved her for the last 18 years with no intention of ever selling her. Now his family are getting bigger and sadly he needs a bigger boat so Waif is for sale.

One lucky person will get a real bargain. Every frame and floor is new and the boat has been entirely refastened with copper and bronze. Her amazing pitch pine planks are all one piece and 99% of her planking is original. Original too are the deck beams, deck and coach house. Her interior is of course not original but it has been built using as much of the original wood as possible.

There is much that makes Waif special, from her massive interior to her classic Edwardian looks but for me it’s the quality of the woods used in her interior. Take the chart table for example. Made of one very wide piece of real mahogany trimmed with teak. You don’t see wood like that these days.

Waif is full of beautiful details but she’s also a very functional yacht which is ready to go sailing or act as a live aboard. Waif has been through the French canals a few times and is no stranger to the Western Med. With her long waterline she sails surprisingly swiftly and has a comfy motion. If there’s no wind the trusty BMC 40 hp diesel will get you to your destination.

She’s not perfect but all a new owner need do is steadily improve her details because they won’t need to worry about the structure! It is very rare when one has the chance to acquire a boat of this vintage that is structurally so sound and so wonderful, spacious and bright below decks.

Here are a few photos but more info is available on her website here These pics were taken using only natural light which demonstrates just how well lit Waif is.

L1009537-2

L1009535