Light weight wood? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 41 Old 08-15-2019, 09:10 PM
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Cedar is probably the lightest readily available and is fairly hard. It splits easily, but with a clear coat it fairly glows and it is weather resistant.

Interestingly balsa is listed as a "hardwood".
They kind of have a silly way to determine if a wood is a hardwood. It's got nothing to do with the density of the wood. Balsa is one of the exceptions, usually a tree is determined a hardwood if it makes leaves that fall off with the fall season. Eastern red cedar is also considered a hardwood.
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post #22 of 41 Old 08-16-2019, 01:35 AM
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Actually the largest wooden plane ever flown was the Spruce Goose.
Actually the Spruce Goose was made with birch.
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post #23 of 41 Old 08-16-2019, 06:57 AM
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Actually the Spruce Goose was made with birch.
Your right. Gees, I've heard my whole life it was made of spruce is how it got it's name.
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post #24 of 41 Old 08-16-2019, 11:48 AM
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Guess "Birch Goose" did not have that catchy ring to it. 😊

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post #25 of 41 Old 08-16-2019, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
A fairly light weight wood is Cypress and it machines easily.
Fairly attractive and readily available on southern coast area and reasonably priced. Besides, hunting for a good lumber yard with cypress would keep you out of the BORG.
It looks amazing how much does it cost
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post #26 of 41 Old 08-16-2019, 02:28 PM
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It looks amazing how much does it cost
I don't remember the cost and I havent had a shop in about 8 or 7 years. But I do remember that it was relatively inexpensive. Probably in line with the price of red oak which is one of the least expensive hardwoods used in furniture. Not too many people use cypress for indoor furniture.
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post #27 of 41 Old 08-16-2019, 02:52 PM
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According to this ad, the table is balsa, granted this is not likely a true Losander.

https://mikesmagicshop.com.au/pages/...e-instructions
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post #28 of 41 Old 08-17-2019, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
They kind of have a silly way to determine if a wood is a hardwood. It's got nothing to do with the density of the wood. Balsa is one of the exceptions, usually a tree is determined a hardwood if it makes leaves that fall off with the fall season. Eastern red cedar is also considered a hardwood.

Maybe I have it wrong ; I thought that softwoods were geotropic and hardwoods were phototropic.


I just rechecked the table cited earlier and was quite surprised at how light butternut is.Has anybody used it for furniture?
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post #29 of 41 Old 08-17-2019, 08:29 AM
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Maybe I have it wrong ; I thought that softwoods were geotropic and hardwoods were phototropic.


I just rechecked the table cited earlier and was quite surprised at how light butternut is.Has anybody used it for furniture?
I've never looked into the geotropic and phototropics, hardwoods is usually determined if it is broadleaf or not. They make the determination there separating them from conifers. They probably cross that line in a few cases because hardwood suppliers want to sell a few soft woods as hardwood.
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post #30 of 41 Old 08-17-2019, 07:36 PM
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Butternut is very light, I've used a good bit for different projects. It looks very much like walnut but light in color and weight. For its weight, it is pretty strong but like walnut it can be kind of splintery. If you are looking for a light weight wood with great strength/weight ratio and is easy to work try some sassafras.
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post #31 of 41 Old 08-18-2019, 03:27 PM
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...usually a tree is determined a hardwood if it makes leaves that fall off with the fall season...
Actually, as I understand it and was taught... in the most "text book" and general botanical (one of my majors in college) understanding (as well as in accurate woodworking circles) a "tree" (and thus its wood) is determined if "hard" or "soft" by where genetically it falls within both taxonomic and structural biology...

Hardwoods (dicotes - Dicotyledon)

Softwoods (Gymnosperms.)

There are oddities like bamboo that is a "grass" etc...

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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
...Eastern red cedar is also considered a hardwood...
Sorry...no it is not... nor is actually a true cedar, as we have none in North America...

It is a Juniper species...and listed as an gymnosperm, as are all conifers...
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post #32 of 41 Old 08-18-2019, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 View Post
What would be a light weight wood other than balsa wood for a project similar to a small end table? Similar to a Shaker table- three legs, spindle and round top. Thanks. A source would be good, too. Thanks.

Should have mentioned that this will be for a "floating table" magic trick he is working on. I explained balsa wood is very fragile. We were looking at basswood or something else...
For that style table (and your planned purpose for it?) I would still recommend Balsa (averaging 10 lbs/ft3) as that is typically what they seem to be made of as are many "magic trick" wood items...

However, if the correct grain and example is selected from a broad/plank stack at a supplier...Northern White Pine can weight as little as 20 lbs/ft3.

Paulownia is also a very excellent replacement for Balsa in such application coming in at only 18 lbs/ft3 (and sometimes lighter) if you select the correct stock and grain pattern...In Asia, this was the wood of choice for such illusionist props made of wood.

There are others but they get heaver than Eastern White Pine...
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post #33 of 41 Old 08-18-2019, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay C. White Cloud View Post
Actually, as I understand it and was taught... in the most "text book" and general botanical (one of my majors in college) understanding (as well as in accurate woodworking circles) a "tree" (and thus its wood) is determined if "hard" or "soft" by where genetically it falls within both taxonomic and structural biology...

Hardwoods (dicotes - Dicotyledon)

Softwoods (Gymnosperms.)

There are oddities like bamboo that is a "grass" etc...



Sorry...no it is not... nor is actually a true cedar, as we have none in North America...

It is a Juniper species...and listed as an gymnosperm, as are all conifers...
According to the National Hardwood Lumber Association eastern red cedar is considered a hardwood. That is good enough for me.
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post #34 of 41 Old 08-18-2019, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
According to the National Hardwood Lumber Association eastern red cedar is considered a hardwood. That is good enough for me.
I think you may find it is a softwood graded as a hardwood due to its use in cabinet construction.
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post #35 of 41 Old 08-19-2019, 07:04 AM
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I think you may find it is a softwood graded as a hardwood due to its use in cabinet construction.
It's just a name. If the woodworking industry wants to call it a hardwood it's reasonable for me to call it a hardwood too. This is why I brought it up in my fist post on the subject as being silly.
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post #36 of 41 Old 08-19-2019, 09:31 AM
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All the discussion over it being "called" hardwood seems silly... "Hard" is a relative term anyway. Use the Janka scale or a Janka hardness chart if you need a better idea how hard a species of wood is. My wish is for a simple scale similar to the janka scale for strength with the grain and against the grain.
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post #37 of 41 Old 08-19-2019, 11:54 AM
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Some days silly is a silly does, this discussion started with a question about wood to build a table light enough to be suspended in air by two horizontal wires or a magnet in a box, now we are redefining scientific terms.
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post #38 of 41 Old 08-19-2019, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
It's just a name. If the woodworking industry wants to call it a hardwood it's reasonable for me to call it a hardwood too. This is why I brought it up in my fist post on the subject as being silly.
WRONG AGAIN...

The..."woodworking industry"...does not call it hardwood Steve, and once again you are being both aragoant and argumentative.

As Frank has correctly pointed out...many "harder"...conifers do (in some circles...not the industry!!!) get considered in a different context than others conifer species...AGAIN...that is not the industry, nor the science...nor even the general understanding of the species in its entirety...It is a...SOFT WOOD...and to continually push your obtuse agendas and opinions all the time on this forum only confuses young and inexperienced readers with esoteric (and often incorrect!!!) information...

I'm (was) a certified grader at one time...how about you?

Last edited by 35015; 08-19-2019 at 04:52 PM.
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post #39 of 41 Old 08-19-2019, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by regesullivan View Post
All the discussion over it being "called" hardwood seems silly... "Hard" is a relative term anyway. Use the Janka scale or a Janka hardness chart if you need a better idea how hard a species of wood is. My wish is for a simple scale similar to the janka scale for strength with the grain and against the grain.
Well stated...!
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post #40 of 41 Old 08-19-2019, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay C. White Cloud View Post
WRONG AGAIN...

The..."woodworking industry"...does not call it hardwood Steve, and once again you are being both aragoant and argumentative.

As Frank has correctly pointed out...many "harder"...conifers do (in some circles...not the industry!!!) get considered in a different context than others conifer species...AGAIN...that is not the industry, nor the science...nor even the general understanding of the species in its entirety...It is a...SOFT WOOD...and to continually push your obtuse agendas and opinions all the time on this forum only confuses young and inexperienced readers with esoteric (and often incorrect!!!) information...

I'm (was) a certified grader at one time...how about you?
We've been down this road before. I've proven to you the woodworking industry regards cedar as a hardwood and you choose to ignore it. Suppose you called it a softwood, it would be an injustice to the novice woodworker perhaps looking to buy some. They might not think to look for it at a hardwood supplier and that's where it would be since at least the hardwood suppliers I use regard cedar as a hardwood.
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