What wood would you use to assemble non factory speedster body. Looking for durable hard wood yet not difficult to work with. Also not too costly.
Oak is not too expensive.
You can use Walnut
Poplar is a decent choice.
Poplar is easier to work than walnut or oak, and depending on your location will probably be least costly. Additionally, it accepts paint very well, and unlike oak or walnut is not open grained, making it easier to finish.
Depends on what part of the country you live in. Around here (N. Calif.) Alder or Poplar would fit the bill. Surprisingly, even Kiln-dried Fir would work, although that's almost impossible to find!
Live in North east. I was thinking oak, or ash. For some reason I'm thinking ash was popular choice back in the era.
Typically, wood bodies of the era were ash structure with a poplar skin. That varies slightly depending on what species was available locally to the manufacturer.
Ash is good
I made replacement wood for my '25 RPU using ash. Came from upstate New York, and was easy to work with, straight grained and finished very well. Ash was the wood of choice for the coach building trade.
Oak is terrible, especially red oak. Splits, absorbs moisture quickly.
Often, a mix of woods is best. Oak is good for many applications, not others. Oak is very strong, quite hard, but tends to be brittle, and if any flexing is needed, it can break (almost like glass). Oak is hard to work with, and difficult to make look nice when painted (although, I tend to like wood to look like wood, and oak usually does). Oak can be excellent for door frames, door jambs, corners, braces, and parts of fixed tops. It should never be used for wheel spokes in cars, and generally not in body sills (although I have used it in sills mixed with another more flexible wood).
Poplar is a medium hard (?) close grain wood that works very easy, and finishes really nice. Its strength is fair, but can crush under tight bolts.
Both oak and poplar do have wood rot issues if they are not properly housed and cared for.
Ash (straight grain) is probably the best all around wood for body framework and/or finish. The mahogany family is also a good option for much body work.
David D mentioned it. Surprisingly, a lot of truck bodies and car running boards used a variety of kiln-dried Fir (closely related to Douglas Fir). Knotless pine could also work. The tighter the grain, the better. The angle the grain is cut, does matter. The softer parts can continue to shrink with age, and result in major splitting of the wood.
How about Maple, it is used in my 30 A woody as the major framing. Looks real good and is also used as a major furniture wood. Nice to work with, hard and strong.
I hadn't thought of maple, it's definitely the go to hard wood and always available.
Maple is good, but the original post was for wood that is " Also not too costly."
Poplar is probably the best. It is nice to paint, not expensive, and easy to work with. No knots to speak of. I've made some speedster bodies with it. I think you can find it at any Home Depot.
I don't know much about wood, but there is a lot of difference between hard Maple and soft Maple. I think that the Maple used in furniture is soft Maple for the frame work. Hard Maple is a whole 'nother ball game. I'm sure that if soft Maple would be OK, it would be very cost effective. I very well could be in way over my head! Dave