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Wood on Steamboats

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Old 06-02-2015, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 770
Default Wood on Steamboats

I realize if it happened before 1970 and is not about the DELTA QUEEN no one is interested, but I'll get to Her Royal Highness in a minute.
As much as they were steamboat builders, the Howards ran a lumber yard. Lumber was everything to their business, they had to be experts in all phases of the lumber business. Many said it was the quality of the wood they used that set their boats apart.
They would get their lumber in large rafts floated down from the Big Sandy River valley, the Kanawha River and from around the vicinity of Twelve Pole Creek. They would store these rafts in the river behind Six Mile Island and bring the logs down to the shipyard on an as needed basis. The logs Howard used were in the river at least one year and many times two Jim Howard said "this washed the acid out of the wood". (I wonder how many virgin forest oak logs are lying on the bottom of the river behind Six Mile Island today....might make a program for the Discovery Channel).
The Howards used oak, both red and white, in the hulls. Pine for the decks. Cedar under the boilers, and Poplar, both yellow and tulip, for the superstructure and cabin.
Howards had a rough saw mill on the river bank and a finishing mill across Market St. (where Girders Service Station and the Wise Owl is today).
The reason I brought all this up ......and here it comes.... the DELTA in another thread I asked if modern day wood fits what they are replacing on Her Royalness.
If you were trying to do the same thing on a Howard built boat, I doubt you'd be able to find on stick of wood at a lumber yard today that would fit because Howards cut their lumber to meet the specifications of whatever boat they were building.
My question is did the California shipyard do like the Howards and mill their own lumber or did they buy it from a lumber yard?
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