At major home improvement chains like Home Depot, most structural lumber comes 8 feet long, with the some grades sold as long as 12 feet. But I have to fabricate continuous chine logs and wales more than 14 feet long. What to do?
Here’s what most boatbuilding sources will tell you: Use scarf joints to join lumber together to the length needed. This involves planing or cutting matching faces on the ends of two boards at a 10:1 angle and then gluing them together with a high strength glue like marine epoxy. Many folks just use a block plane, others use a jig on a portable circular saw, others use a power planer or even a sander. The resulting joint is reputed to be stronger that the wood around it. A scarf joint looks like this:
Sounds easy, but I’ve never been successful. For me, the facing surfaces come out too uneven for reliable adhesion.
Here’s a simpler solution. Surf a phone directory and find a lumberyard that builders patronize, you know, the industrial drab-looking place that doesn’t do much advertising. In the past, I’ve found lumber up to 18 feet long. I purchased 2 16-foot 1 x 4 No. 2 Pine boards for the chine logs . . no scarfing needed.