for other purposes, I think that the best ash is tougher than the best cherry, and not necessarily any heavier. A cherry I cut down in my yard and had milled is incredibly heavy, very hard, and would never bend well enough to make gunwales. The cherry I've received in furniture and keyboard instrument kits would be OK for gunwales, if one could get it in the necessary lengths.
White ash I've seen in SW Michigan grow incredibly tall and straight, so of course getting 20' lengths out of them is easy. The black cherries in that area are seldom so undistorted. The black cherries coming up in my yard now seem to want to zig zag in their growth.
I would try for ash. "Eds" sells good ash in sections that one glues together on semi-scarf joints and then installs. They can supply lengths sufficient for an 18' 6" canoe (about 20 feet) and of course shipping them in sections saves lotsa money and shipping complications.
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
Free Standing Boat Racks
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