RE: [Cedar Strip Canoes] Wood choice
I am far from expert in worldly woods. Mostly, I do local stuff, north American woods, and some special imports, padunk, African mahogany (stronger and harder than Cuban,) some rosewoods from south America. I hear they have some nice balsa species available in Australia. But it is quite light, almost yellow when you are done.
Depending on what you consider important, you are free to use most any woods, even artificial stuff has been used. The strips only supply a form, and a bit of spacing, between the inner and outer fiberglass layers. This creates a very stiff skin, aeronautical grade, that is exploited to make our strip canoes. (I believe the old Valkyrie project used a laminate skin similar to what we do 'cept they made theirs out of aluminum/stainless steel.) Anything that has fair to good compressive characteristics and is light will do well.
As a carpenter, I always worked with local woods. Whatever was at hand was used, though sometimes it may not be the actual best for the purpose. Wood foundations do not work well made of white pine, but I have seen old houses built on pilings of eastern white cedar that lasted well over 100 years in the ground. For boats, things get sealed with fiberglass and waterproof epoxy. It doesn't really matter what you use. The design of the skin on strip boat/small craft (canoes, kayaks, sculls, etc) usually leads to a good boat, no matter what the wood.
I prefer clear grade woods. They are a lot less work for the percentage of usable lineal feet (85-90%.) Each knot I need to cut out will cost about 3% in wood, depending on how big it is. So a #1 or #2 common grade means I loose between 30% and 50% of the wood. Wood is about 1/4 of the cost of building the boat. Epoxy, fiberglass cloth, miscellaneous supplies account for about 3/4. Even using exotic woods, the cost *might* increase to 50%.
Some hypothetical numbers:
If I need 38 strips 16' long for a 15' boat. This is about 608 lineal feet. (A lot will depend on how thick you cut them, how much kerf loss and how much milling loss, soo, this is hypothetical.) If I need 38 strips at 3/8" (1/4" wide plus 1/8" kerf) this is about a three 1x6 at 16'. For trim, gunnels, thwarts, yokes, decks, seats, I would figure another one...so call it 4-1x6/16'. At $6.00/bdft for clear western red cedar this is about $200. For #1 common pine(at 2.95/bd ft, don't forget the 50% loss), it would be about $141.60. This is roughly a savings of 25%, but this ignores the extra time taken. Sorting, splicing strips, etc.... If you do not have to splice, it does not make any sense from a labour standpoint, either.
My thoughts only . . .