what are the best types of wood for boat building

When it comes to boat building, the type of wood we use greatly impacts the final appearance and quality of the boats. It also has a significant impact on the performance and durability of the boat, from strength to longevity.

However, choosing the ideal type of wood for your boat-building project can take time and effort, because so many different types of wood are available. For this reason, we inquired with some of the top boat builders to compile a list of the best wood for boat building, so you can choose the type of wood to use. Look at this.

woods for boat building poster

Best wood for boat building


In our quest for the best wood to use for boat building, we wanted to know why Mahogany is very popular in the construction of boats. One of the boat builders gave us enough reason to trust Mahogany.

He started by giving us the obvious characteristics. He said, “The wood has a long lifespan, is naturally dense, and is extremely durable. Another important quality to consider when choosing wood for boat building is how well it resists rot and decay. Mahogany is very good at resisting rot and decay.”

He also said that since he started using Mahogany, it has become much easier to work with both by hand and in a machine, in addition to being more readily available and having a variety of uses.

However, it also has some drawbacks. With constant exposure to sunlight, it begins to fade and become darker. It is also heavier and more expensive. Nevertheless, it is a very good wood, and you should consider trying it out.


Teak wood is another popular wood that another experienced boat builder suggested. The density, hardness, and natural chemicals that prevent rotting are among the top qualities mentioned. It can also withstand much pressure and abuse from the external environment, making it a stable wood in the marine environment. He concluded by saying that it is also a very flexible wood that can bend easily without breaking.

In our interaction with it, we also discovered that Teak is a bit more durable and water-resistant than similar woods like Mahogany.

One of the few drawbacks is the need for TeakTeak, especially in large sizes. The scarcity makes it a little bit expensive.


Cedar was suggested by one boat builder who loves working with easier woods. He usually uses cedar because it has tight grains which makes it easier to work with because the tighter grains provide high stability and workability. Additionally, the tighter grains also make nailing, glueing, and even screwing and cutting very easy without breaking.

He told us that cedar is considered one of the most versatile woods among boatbuilders. It is an excellent wood to get along and learn the art of boat building, especially if you’re a beginner. He mentioned different types of cedar he uses to build a boat but he said that, among the many types, the yellow cedar is much stronger than all the cedarwood species.

Cedar is considered the best alternative to Teak in the boat-building industry. Therefore, you can save money by using Cedarwood instead of TeakTeak.


It is durable and low-maintenance wood that was also preferred as a good wood in marine applications due to its straight and tight grain.

Oak wood has a high density when compared to other wood we use to build boats, making it resistant to rot and fungi. Due to its resistance to the effects of moisture and durability in water, we consider oak the most suitable wood for shipbuilding. However, not all oak is suitable for boat building. For instance, when you use Red oak for boat building, you must first make it stable to withstand the marine environment.

Finally, on oak, Its straight and closely packed wood grains make oak simple to cut and scarf. It also lends itself well to finishing processes like painting, polishing, staining, and glue, which are crucial when building a boat. Oak is a secure wood for boat building because it is fire-resistant, like cedar.


plywood for boat building

Finally, we concluded our search for the best wood by asking, “What about the most suitable one for building a small boat?”

The most frequently recommended material was plywood. Although made from wood, we do not consider plywood as a “solid wood” product like lumber or timber. This is because we make plywood from a flat sheet of composite material made by bonding several layers of wood veneer.

Plywood is a good material because it is easier to cut into any shape than other woods like Teak and Mahogany. It also has a high strength-to-weight ratio, enabling it to offer a sturdy, stable structure without weighing the boat excessively.

Finally, with plywood, you can create the intricate curves and shapes needed for boat construction because it is easy to bend and mould into different shapes.

However, using plywood has limitations, as you cannot use it to make bigger boats. It is also not very durable, like when using solid wood.


In agreement, it depends on what you require and desire from your boat. Each of these woods has particular advantages and disadvantages of its own. Please consider your spending limit, the size of your build, how long you want it to last, and the appearance you want to achieve. After considering everything, you should be able to select the ideal wood for your project.