Wooden Boats

Large Live oak on sawmill

Live Oak for California

In 2011, Steve became the first sawyer to begin cutting Live Oak for new project developed at the Maritime Museum of San Diego (MMSD). They planned on making a replica of the San Salvador, the first ship to land on what is now the west coat of the present day United States. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed his ship north from Mexico on an exploratory trip for Spain. He first landed in San Diego Bay in 1542.


The San Salvador replica almost didn't get made. The first material for the ribs wasn't large enough, then laminated rib material started to separate. Luckily for them and us the director of the museum learned that Cross Sawmill was the only mill in the country able to provide southern Live Oak. After much consultation, the MMSD took a chance and we ultimately sent six semi loads of debarked 5 inch thick flitches to California. It was used to build the ship's ribs and futtocks.


Today the San Salvador is sailing the west coast again, though now as an educational vessel. 

Live Oak for All

The positive experience with the MMSD allowed us to go forward marketing Live Oak to other shipyards around the country. Steve found a great friend and endorser in Ross Gannon of Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Gradually the word is spreading, but it has been difficult because many boat builders and restorers believe that Live Oak is unavailable. It's been a challenge to overcome the misinformation that it's endangered, protected or illegal to harvest. 

Live Oak Protection?

  • Live Oak is overwhelming common in its natural range across ten southern states.
  • On private and public lands it is not protected and is legal to harvest. 
  • There are a few municipalities where some large specimen trees in city limits are honorifically marked or need permits for trimming or removal, but there are no statewide protections for Live Oak anywhere.

More Ships

We have provided Live Oak for ship repairs and restorations including the Ernestina-Morrisy at Boothbay Harbor, the Mah Jong at Gannon and Benjamin, the HMS Surprise at MMSD, the Malibu at Haven Boatworks and others. We look forward to helping you also.


Click on the picture above to see picture gallery.