Choice of Wood for Turning Spindles - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-04-2010, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Choice of Wood for Turning Spindles

Hi Guys,

As I mentioned in another post, I haven't turned in a long time but want to try my hand at some Hitchcock style spindles for coffee/end table legs.

I am matching existing furniture and the spindles are no more than 2" diameter. They will be painted so the wood will have to be closed or tight grain.

I am leaning toward poplar. Due to my lack of lathe experience, I don't know how well poplar turns. The local sawmill has poplar and oak available in 2" planks that I could rip down but the oak would be unsuitable due to the open grain. I could glue up other species to get the thickness I need. They also have ash.

Ideas?

Thanks,
Bill
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 12:02 AM
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If it is going to be painted go with the poplar. Ash will show the open grain as bad as oak...Bill..
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 04:40 AM
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I'm assuming that by "poplar" you mean American tulipwood, not actual poplar (cottonwood). There's a big difference. Tulip turns very nicely and takes paint very well. Cottonwood gets very fuzzy and can get blotchy with stain (but I don't know about how it takes paint ... might be OK).

It's almost certain that what your lumberyard is selling is tulipwood since that's the norm but you should make sure.

Paul

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post #4 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Good point, Paul. I wasn't aware of differences in 'Poplars'. I hit Wikipedia and gave myself a short lesson.

I'll have to ask at the sawmill to find out what they actually have as poplar.

Any other good woods to use for this project?

Thanks,
Bill
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 11:13 AM
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I shudder to suggest it, but cherry is a nice turning wood and takes paint well, although personally I think that anyone who paints cherry should be taken out behind the barn and shot.

You can never have too much pepperoni on your pizza or own too many clamps.
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 08:16 PM
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Cherry, maple and yellow poplar are good choices. Ideally my choice would be maple. At lest for longer thin spindles. It flexes less to cause you less problems when turning.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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John,

Would you go with hard maple or soft?

Thanks,
Bill
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-06-2010, 10:59 AM
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I think they both turn well. I'm not sure I've noticed much of a stiffness factor between the two but I haven't turned them side by side.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-06-2010, 01:19 PM
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No contest as far as I'm concerned --- soft maple often turn fuzzy and CAN get blochy with stain (although it probably paints well). Go with hard maple.

Also, if you paint maple instead of cherry I won't have to take you out behind the barn.

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post #10 of 10 Old 01-06-2010, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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If I painted cherry I'd be smacking myself!
Bill
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