Wooden boats

Wood floats because it weighs less than an equal volume of water. One would think, then, that a wooden boat full of water should not completely sink. After all, a volume of water equal to that of the boat should still weigh more than the weight of the boat and the water in it. Right?

If the boat is completely made of wood, yes. A dugout canoe would work that way. Most “wooden” boats contain a lot more than just wood; there are nails holding it together, fittings for the seats and whatever, it’s been painted and so on. And, of course, boats are normally used to carry things which don’t float so while the boat may float empty, it may not float with anything else on board.

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Don’t forget the ballast. To float, the boat can’t be heavier than water, but to be stable, the boat’s center of gravity must be below the water’s surface, the lower the better.

Also depends on the type of wood. Softwood types float much better than hardwoods. For example floating pine and hemlock down a river is easily done on a log by log basis. Hardwoods would be tied into rafts IIRC. A new company is starting up that is harvesting logs off the bottom of the great lakes. Old growth trees that sunk on their way down the river apparantly are worth a lot of money nowadays. They’re going to use a floating crane and diving crews to bring these logs to the surface. Also I believe that the Japanese have been buying extra logs for years and dumping their surplus in cold, easily recoverable waters for future use.

Sticks float. They would (wood).

“And what else floats, besides wood?”

“A duck!”

If man was meant to fly faster than the speed of sound he would have been born with 50,000 pounds of thrust.

didn’t anyone here ever go to a summer camp which featured canoes? if you swamp your (wooden) canoe, you can still sit in it with the gunwhales below the water. even with 2 small kids in it, the sucker had enough oomph to acheive neutral bouancy (sp?) a few inches below the surface of the water.


Therefore a duck is made of wood!

WARNING: I cannot be held responsible for the above as apparently my cat has learned to type. =^…^=

Well, let us also hope that this wooden boat doesn’t have a motor in it. Also wooden boats are sealed by the paint and sealers that coat the boat. Eventually the cells of the wood would soak up enough water that floating would be a problem if the wood were not sealed. Another thing about dugouts, most of the dugouts that are found in good shape are that way because they were stored by the natives and early settlers by sinking them in the water with stones to hold them down. This kept them below the ice in winter and from drying out in the summer.

So if she weighs as much as a duck…

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Wooden you like to know? Actually I don’t understand your question. Are you aking why wooden boats "sink’? Actually they don’t but when one breaks up you have five people trying to float on one little stick. Could you restate the premise? I am just ashing. Come on state it boldly don’t try to hide it behind a thin veneer.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

What about boats made from very small rocks?

Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

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(Take a bough, mr j.)

The situation can be quite different if a ship breaks up before sinking, than if it stays together. A ship that stays together will have the weight of the ballast more than cancelling the buoyancy of the wood itself. A ship that breaks up will end up with quite a lot of the pieces floating around on the surface, the heavier bits being free to sink. So I suppose if your large wooden boat (say, an 18th Century man of war) were to explode, you would have plenty to hang onto, provided you didn’t explode with it.

At least, that’s what it looks like in those dramatic 18th Century painting of sea battles (easels and canvas float too, apparently).

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  • Boris Badenov

She turned me into a newt!

I got better.