In the fast lane world, a quick form of transportation is vital if you want your business to be up and running. Even for personal affairs, people have to rely on different kinds of vehicles, whether it is by road, by water, or by air.

You may also pick up the hobby of sailing or biking if you have the luxury. But what if you want to make your transportation for the water? What if you are going to build your boat? More importantly, which wood is boat material?

This question is as essential to a DIY go-getter as it is too big corporations and brands whose sole purpose is to design and built boats. So, if you want to know which kind of wood you will need for a ship, then keep on reading.

Why Use Wood?

Before steel and iron became popular, people used wood to build everything. Wood was popular back then, and it is still prominent in construction. Boats, especially smaller ones, usually need a wooden structure to stay buoyant on water. Besides, the physics of it, there are other reasons why you can use wood for boats.


Compared to steel, iron, or any other alloy, it is easier to get your hands on wood and barks for making a boat. You can also choose to work with plywood, which is cheap and easy, to start working.

Typically used wood such as teak or Cedar are not off the chart expensive either. However, you need to make sure that the condition of these natural products is optimum.

If the wood is hollow or rotten from the inside, it will not hold for long on water. If you are trying to ensure that factor, then it can be a bit expensive. Other than that, making smaller boats with wood is the best way to go. 

Easy to Build

You only need a hand full of tools and items for working with wood. If you had to work with alloy or steel, you need various models of welders, staplers, and so many other tools. 

See Also: Best Classic Wooden Runabout: Which Company Makes or Made

You would also have to ensure rust-control; otherwise, the boat will become a rusting city in no time. On the other hand, woods need minimal work, some good nails, and manual labor.

However, you can easily make mistakes that you cannot fix while working with wood. So, be aware of that. Another reason why wooden boats are comfortable is that they do not require much maintenance. At least, compared to steel boats. 

Suitable for Smaller Boats

As mentioned before, to float on water, you need to maintain buoyancy. The object needs to disperse the exact amount of water according to its body weight in specific physics terms. Since steel or any other metal weighs more, it cannot disperse its equivalent weight when the object is small. Hence, it ends up drowning. 

However, wood has less weight and also has more resistance capacity. So, boats such as sailboats with 20 ft or 15 ft length can easily constitute wood. With a smaller surface area, wood manages to stay afloat with ease. So, wood is ideal for building smaller boats.

Which Wood Is the Best for Boat Building?

Hold your horses if you are on your way to purchase wood for your grand boat. You cannot choose any random species to make your ride. Ships need a specific kind of wood.

Most popularly people use Cedar, teak, and plywood. However, you can also use some exotic species such as Mahogany, Iroko, Merbau, and Azobé on boats. These species need extra attention and care.


This species is exceptional for building boats for several reasons. The most important factor is its strength to weight ratio. As it is comparatively lighter, it can easily float on water. So, you can build as small a boat with Cedar, and it will float.

Another significant reason why you should choose Cedar is that it is eco-friendly. Farmers grow Cedar in a planned and designed forest, so you are not causing deforestation while getting wood for construction.

Besides that, wood has the amazing ability to repel water. It does not absorb water as much as a natural plant should. Consequently, it remains more stable and is less prone to rot and fungus.


Teak is a luxurious wood because of its regal outlook and beautiful leather-like smell. The good news is, you can use teak wood for building boats. Although the tree and its wood is deemed exotic, it still has an excellent water-resistant capacity. Which is why it is a great contender for building boats.

Teak wood is also solid, which increases the durability factor of the product. People have been using this wood for building boats for centuries now and for good reasons. It is flexible and easy to maintain, as well.


This product is a modern blend of woods and is not technically a natural wood. Since plywood is not a natural product, it has various chemicals in its core that makes the wood more durable and water-resistant. Hence, choosing plywood for building boats and small ships is the most logical choice.

Plywood is very flexible and inexpensive for the most part. So, if you are a beginner, you can practice and waste if you have to. However, if you are making boats professionally, it is wiser to ditch this material and opt for more luxurious wood.

Some Items That You Will Need for Building a Boat with Wood

Since you are working with wood, you will need machines and tools that go well with wood. Sanders, drillers, staplers are a must for this process. To feed these machines, you will need bits, stables, and gauges of different shapes and sizes. You cannot finish building a boat without epoxy, fiberglass, and a fresh coat of paint.

Final Word

So, it is clear that wood is an excellent product for building boats. It is affordable and easy to procure. But you cannot use random trees and barks for the process.

The best outcome is only possible with woods that are more water-resistant and are lightweight. That is why, in our opinion, working with Cedar or teak is the best choice for building a boat.

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