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post #1 of 15 Old 09-19-2012, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Your favorite woods

If all goes as planned, I should have about $1,500 to use for the sole purpose of acquiring stock to work with. Unfortunately, I don't have much experience with different woods, so I don't know what to get. That, hopefully, is where you come in.

What kind of wood do you like working with, and why do you like working with it? FYI, I love turning, so if you're a turner, I'd love your input. If you're not, I'd still love to hear what you have to say. TIA
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-19-2012, 11:40 PM
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Cherry is my favorite. Easy to work wonder to finish (garnet shellac makes a fabulous color). Walnut is also beautiful but a bit too dark for most of what I have made so far. I have used it for some accents and decorations and it came out great. I understand it is more forgiving when trying to fit joinery.

Good luck with your search and look for deal. I found a cabinet shop going out of business and loaded up on maple and poplar at $1.00/bf. Walnut was $3.00/bf. Others have posted about great finds as well.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 01:26 AM
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American black cherry is certainly near the top of my list for both beauty and work-ability. Black walnut and hard maple are also fine woods. I guess it kind of depends what you are going to build. Some woods are more appropriate for certain pieces than others.

I also like soft maple and western maple mostly because of the abundance of figure and burl you can find in those wood. Western maple burl is my favorite wood for turning bowls and platters.

Styles change too. I remember a long time ago, oak was my favorite wood.

I'm also kind of partial to CVG Fir. The burgundy patina it takes on over time if finished naturally is just real special.

I look for deals on CL. I'm not too picky at all if the price is right. In the past couple of years I've used some woods I've never used before due to CL "finds". White ash, black locust, sycamore, yellow wood, to name a few. They all have their pros and cons

A couple of years back I bought some black walnut logs from a guy on CL and hired a portable mill to cut it up for me. I still have a hundred BF or so left. When that's gone I'll go in search of a new deal. Beautiful stuff and a joy to work with.

Bret
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 08:31 AM
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I am still new to turning but so far I have tried Oak, cherry, Mahogany, and a couple of exotics. Mahogany was a dream to turn, to quote my mother "it turns like soft butter" and the final product was beautiful when finished.
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post #5 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itchytoe View Post
Your favorite woods
My favorite woods: Schwarzwald...The Black Forest in Germany.
My least favorite woods: Tan Phu Forest or Cat Tien in Vietnam.

My favorite wood species: I have preferences, but don't always have the choice for what I use. I find that many species have their own characteristics, each of which presents qualities, some of which vary greatly, that make woodworking interesting.





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post #6 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 09:33 AM
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I have not been able to use all the wood species I may want to use, but of the few I have used these would be my favourites.

No specific order. I try to avoid using any stains in my boards. So I use different wood species to provide contrast.

a) Hard maple. I like this for cutting boards. Hard and tight grain. Tough on the tools.
b) Cherry, easy to work, lot of interesting grain patterns. I like the rich brown tones as it darkens over time.
c) Hickory. Easy to work, can have some interesting grain patterns.
d) Black walnut. Easy to work, lot of interesting grain patterns.
e) Purpleheart. The colour is unusual, people do not at first believe it is natural. I like this for the contrast in a piece. Can splinter. Boards are normally straight.
f) Lacewood. I like this for the teardrop grain pattern. Another species I like to use for contrast. Soft so very easy to work.
g) Pink ivory. This for me is the "turns like butter" wood. The shavings have a waxy feel. It is very expensive so I only have small turning blanks.
h) Pommele sapele. This is my most expensive board. Cost me $28 / board foot, but I just fell in love with the grain. This is being used very sparingly for "wow" factor in edge treatments of boards.
i) Sapele. This is supposed to be a poor man's mahogany, but I think it has more interesting grain than the mahogany species I have been able to aquire. Easy to work.
j) Wenge. My favourite black wood. This will give you splinters just by looking at it, so handle with care. I love the grain in the unfinished, but as soon as you apply finish, sad that the grain pattern disappears.
k) Curly maple. I just love the grain. I am still trying to master how to make the curl pop.
l) Canarywood. Nice colour contrast. Grain can sometimes have nice red stripes. Easy to work.

I have my first piece of cherry burl awaiting turning. I am just trying to decide the best way to turn a piece which is more rectangular, without wasting most of the wood.

I did not include oak, since it is not a bad wood, just not my favourite.

With a $1500 budget you should have a nice wood collection. I have several boards I purchased because I loved the grain. They are in my "inventory" but I have not yet decided on a project or two in which to use them.

My friend told me I have to be careful I do not become a wood collector.
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 01:05 PM
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I've been on a big Walnut/Curly Maple kick. I also discovered Sapele recently, and that is a very nice wood. Some of it has some nice shiny grain to it.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 01:45 PM
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Cherry, Walnut, and maple. Specifically cherry and maple for turning... never turned any walnut that I can remember. I also liked the flamed box-elder I got from Kevin (TexasTimbers) for turning, even though I borked my project.

For non-turning I like those as well as padauk, purpleheart, basswood, bloodwood, cocobolo, yellowheart, mahogony, and anything else that smells really good when working.

I don't like ebony, personally. Stinks.

If I had $1500 to spend on wood I'd stock up on walnut, maple, cherry, all with figure if I could hand-pick it, and then get some padauk. That's fourth on my list of absolute favorites. I might buy a couple of "unique" pieces of something else or buy woods based upon color for a specific project but generally speaking, those are the ones I try get to fill my shop. Mahogony is probably 5th for me. Of these I think cherry and walnut are easiest to work with mahogany a close third. Padauk is really hard but makes amazingly clean lines and the color is unbeatable, in my opinion. Maple is great for turning or flatwork and provides great contrast to the darker woods I like.

Last edited by frankp; 09-20-2012 at 01:49 PM.
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 02:30 PM
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Out of curiosity, what do you plan on making with all that wood?

I'm An Expert In Ugly!
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Paine View Post
I have not been able to use all the wood species I may want to use, but of the few I have used these would be my favourites.

No specific order. I try to avoid using any stains in my boards. So I use different wood species to provide contrast.

a) Hard maple. I like this for cutting boards. Hard and tight grain. Tough on the tools.
b) Cherry, easy to work, lot of interesting grain patterns. I like the rich brown tones as it darkens over time.
c) Hickory. Easy to work, can have some interesting grain patterns.
d) Black walnut. Easy to work, lot of interesting grain patterns.
e) Purpleheart. The colour is unusual, people do not at first believe it is natural. I like this for the contrast in a piece. Can splinter. Boards are normally straight.
f) Lacewood. I like this for the teardrop grain pattern. Another species I like to use for contrast. Soft so very easy to work.
g) Pink ivory. This for me is the "turns like butter" wood. The shavings have a waxy feel. It is very expensive so I only have small turning blanks.
h) Pommele sapele. This is my most expensive board. Cost me $28 / board foot, but I just fell in love with the grain. This is being used very sparingly for "wow" factor in edge treatments of boards.
i) Sapele. This is supposed to be a poor man's mahogany, but I think it has more interesting grain than the mahogany species I have been able to aquire. Easy to work.
j) Wenge. My favourite black wood. This will give you splinters just by looking at it, so handle with care. I love the grain in the unfinished, but as soon as you apply finish, sad that the grain pattern disappears.
k) Curly maple. I just love the grain. I am still trying to master how to make the curl pop.
l) Canarywood. Nice colour contrast. Grain can sometimes have nice red stripes. Easy to work.

I have my first piece of cherry burl awaiting turning. I am just trying to decide the best way to turn a piece which is more rectangular, without wasting most of the wood.

I did not include oak, since it is not a bad wood, just not my favourite.

With a $1500 budget you should have a nice wood collection. I have several boards I purchased because I loved the grain. They are in my "inventory" but I have not yet decided on a project or two in which to use them.

My friend told me I have to be careful I do not become a wood collector.
How could I have forgotten my favourite of the exotics - bubinga. Nice grain, the boards are normally straight and flat. Can be tough on the tools. Turns well.
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post #11 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 03:02 PM
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My local place has some Peruvian Walnut. It's the cat's pajamas.
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post #12 of 15 Old 09-20-2012, 05:07 PM
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Personally, if you are unsure of what you want to use, I would buy a few pieces as a project demands and see what you think of the particular wood.

I've been using a lot of Black Walnut and Oak. The Oak is giving me fits sanding it, since it's tough. Elm is tough as well.
I also have been using Catalpa which is as soft as pine, and beautiful, but you gotta watch the application, because it will dent easy. To solve that, I epoxy base coat it.
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-21-2012, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wood4Brains View Post
Out of curiosity, what do you plan on making with all that wood?
First, I'll make all of my christmas gifts. Game boards and jewelry boxes for the nieces and nephews, a marble machine for one of my nieces, christmas display for my mom because she loves little trinkets like that, and likely a small vase kinda like Laguna Beach vase over at marleyturned. http://marleyturned.com/Video_Laguna_Beach_Vase.html Different words, and a different shape and size, but still kinda like that. After that, I'm not sure, but I'll think of something.

It seems like the favorites are walnut, cherry, and maple. Now to find a good place in my area to get it. Maybe I'll try calling some cabinet shops and see what I can come up with.
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-22-2012, 10:17 PM
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Wow! great responses there.
I try to stick with the "natives" here and do most of my works with mesquite. Really like the grain patterns and to me is easy to work--and a plus is that it doesn't split easily like the pecans and oaks, and being green doesn't affect the outcome much. If you're east of me, you should be able to find big cedars--great color, nice smell, and does turn like "butter", and takes finishes well. Have ventured on ebay and bought some exotics (to me) really like cherry and black walnut--- and they've been educational---even with shipping was cheaper than woodcraft, etc.
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post #15 of 15 Old 09-23-2012, 11:35 AM
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My favorites are cherry, birch and hackberry will use almost anything at least once though.
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