I've decided that it would probably be a good idea to post the occasional boat-building tech tip for those of you who might be looking for that kind of thing on this site. (In addition to drivel about my existence)
Today's Tech Tip is going to be about types of wood for feature strips:
A feature strip is just that - a pretty feature down the side of your hull that allows you to express your individuality and creativity. It can be as simple or complex as you choose to make it.
Recently, I've been reading about people who have used expensive and heavy hardwood to make what are known as 'feature strips' for their strip-build boats and have been displeased with the results. There are two main problems. One is the relative weight (not usually significant if the feature strip isn't big and the wood isn't Ipe. The other is the "ripples" that appear in the hull next to the feature strip as you are sanding the wood.
The reason for these ripples is the fact that the hardwood feature strip sands away much more slowly than the Cedar (or Redwood, etc...) that is used for the rest of the hull. This results in the removal of more of the Cedar softwood next to the feature strips. To avoid this problem, simply use softer woods for the accents, such as Spruce, Fire, Redwood, Poplar, and contrasting Cedars. Piece of cake!