View Full Version : Best wood for steaming and decks on kneeldown hydro.

jim twining
06-15-2017, 06:55 PM
I need to replace some wood on my 50's kneel down hydro. It's a 1/2" thick by 1 3/4" tall and goes from the front center down the side about 76". Any suggestions on the best wood to put in the steam box? I read that straight grained ash was a good choice. The front of the hydro is ribbed with fabric but the decks on the sides need to be replaced as well. Any suggestions on what to use for the front and decks would be appreciated. Thanks Jim.

06-16-2017, 02:11 AM
Pics please not following your explanation on the piece of wood you note. For the deck Ocume 3mm plywood is a great choice, not sure it that was used on that early hydro deck. As for fabric to stay original to the boat probably aircraft 80x84 weave Grade A cotton was used and nitrate dope applied to seal and tighten then flexible paint for color. There are other modern options for fabrics and sealers.

See Fig 3-4


A/B Speedliner
06-16-2017, 10:38 AM
When replacing the fabric covering on a hydro we use Ceconite purchased from Aircraft Spruce and Supply. Follow directions that come with it and use their paint to finish off the process. We use oak or mahogany for ribs and stingers, keel, chine and gunnel.
Aeroliner Race Boats, LLC

jim twining
06-16-2017, 06:07 PM
Thanks guys! I will go with the 3 mil okoume for the decks. Mahogany for the chine. Exotic hardwoods in Traverse City will hopefully have what I need. The boat is 9'4" long .When I bought it from a friend back in the 80's it had fabric on the front that was torn. I had a friend that did boat tops and vinyl so he put white vinyl on it for me. That has held up well. When I pull the staples I doubt I will be able to save it. I will look at my options when I get to that point. The boat came with a KH-7 on it but after going to the boat races in Beaverton Mi. and talking to the racers I bought a 102 and run that. Not in race trim of course on this boat. 0 to 45 pretty quick. Sold the KH-7 to friend and then bought it back years later. Still have it,awaiting paint work.The boat had a Canadian Racing Federation sticker on it and the name Bil-Rena on it. I don't know much more about it but they used to race kneel downs on Sanford Lake in Michigan back in the 60's. It may have been raced there. Pictures to follow once I get the lumber and start on it. Thanks again for your help. Jim.

Old Racer
06-27-2017, 03:21 AM
I owned Australia's only timber bending company for 30 yrs, IMHO, white ash would be the way to go, soaks up the steam, and is easy to work with. Good luck.