Im restoring a fibreglass fishing boat which had wooden gunwales, which rotted away. I was wondering if any one had any advice on how to replace them (wood choice/bending etc) any help would be greatly appreciated! thanks in advance.
White oak is a good choice. I buy woods from Endsaw. Very pleased with their services.
Probably no need to steam bend if you use white oak. But you can if you must.
Guy's right on - white oak would be a good choice - another option is ash. More info about steaming can be found here.
If you decide to steam bend a scarfed piece, your choice of glue in the scarf will effect how you proceed. Epoxy won't tolerate the heat of steaming, so the process would be simpler with a glue like Titebond III
From the picture, the hull looks like an interesting restoration. For what they are worth, here's a few comments.
A fiberglass hull without gunwales or other supports changes shape quickly. If you can find any original specs, use them to restore the width. Otherwise, try different beam widths that seem 'right'. I lost 3-inches of a beam with a 8-foot dinghy by not paying attention.
The photo seems to show an engine bed, as well as part of a stabilizing bulkhead. If inboard propulsion is being considered, the supporting structures such as bulkhead, engine bed, bulkhead, and gunwales play a part in providing a rigid structure.
Seems like lots of fun and decision making.
Thanks for you help! really appreciate it.