bending stock-michigan

I am looking to build a skin on frame kayak this winter and am doing my final research on obtaining what I need before diving into the project. Does anyone know of a good place to buy bending stock (preferably whit oak, “bending oak”) in southeast michigan? I am also considering using ash. If anyone with experience with this has any suggestions I would love to hear them.

is a good place to check sources, etc.

Have you built a steambox? Call lumberyards and ask about airdried white oak or live oak. If you can find air dried, buy some and build a steam box.

There’s a Rockler
There’s a Rockler in Royal Oak, IIRC. They usually have a pretty decent stock of 3/4 or 4/4 clear ash and white oak. Usually up to around 12’ lengths I think, so you’ll have to scarf if you’re looking to them for gunwales.

mail order
Pick up a copy of WoodenBoat magazine and check the ads. There are a number of advertisers who deal in small amounts for the boatbuilder.

North of Ann Arbor
there are a couple smaller sawmills that I have dealt with.

Jackson Brothers

7685 Whitmore Lake Rd

Whitmore Lake, MI , 48189-9554

Phone: 734-449-2703


B&B Heartwoods, Inc.

Contact: Bill and Bonnie Geschwender

Address: 5444 Whitmore Lake Road

Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Phone: 734-332-9525

Fax: 734-332-9520


Web Address:

To find one close to you this is a pretty cool site:

Your best wood types are…
…red oak, white oak or ash, preferably green or air dried. As for sources, small lumber yards tend to be better than the big-box stores, which will only have kiln dried lumber. If you have the necessary power tools to machine your own lumber (band saw, table saw, jointer, planer), firewood dealers can be a great source of inexpensive green wood.

For ribs, you’ll need stock in the 24"-30" range, depending on the volume of your boat. For a typical ocean-sized coaming, you need stock ~6’-7’ long for single-piece hoops and rims, but I typically make mine with two shorter pieces with scarf joints at the sides. You can see examples of how I do it at: