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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My daughter is flying up for a few days from Florida. We are planning to build a couple of end tables and a coffee table while she is here. We will be doing all the lumber prep. on the rough saw lumber ,the glue ups, joinery and dry assembly. We will take them apart and transport them to Florida when we go down latter this year. She will then do the final assembly and finish them.

She is open to using birch, maple or ash, all of which are readily available here (Northern IL.) Wood is going to be getting a lot of handling and the tables will get a lot of use. Which of the woods listed would be the most dent resistant? She is not interested in oak, but would consider other similar woods like alder.

Your thoughts please.

Thanks,
Don
 

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Maple is my choice also. If it does get dented in all the handling, just take a damp rag and wet the dent... it will pop back up. Real serious dents can be helped by placing a damp rag on them and by using a hot iron as in ironing clothes, the dent will pop out. Try it on a piece of scrap wood.
I am speaking of dents, not gouges etc that tear the wood surface.
 

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where's my table saw?
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What style?

The Mission Style would "require" the use of quartersawn white Oak, but for most all other designs, the wood choice is at your own discretion.
Another issue is stain or paint?
Certain woods are more difficult to stain and look better just natural.
Highly figured Cherry, Maple or Birch may absorb the stain differently in certain areas. Before you stain make some practice runs to get your formula and procedure down exactly.
How will you sand?
A random orbit sander ROS, is usually the final machine tool used, but a sanding block, moved with the grain will give beautiful finish with no swirl marks.
Where will the pieces be "finished"? Prior to assembly or after?
If before that throws a few wrinkles in the process. Glued surfaces must be taped off. The type of final finish, slow like a varnish or fast drying like lacquer will determine the environment of the spray area. Dust may be an issue?


If it were me, I would assemble and finish them on site, in your shop. Yeah, there is the shipping transport issue, but at least you will know how they came out. Years ago I shipped a rather large box via Greyhound bus. I don't know if they still do that?
I have shipped lots of large boxes via UPS with no ill results, or damge to the stuff inside, but I packed them like they were going via wagon train across the mountains. :yes:
 

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Gonna play "the devil's advocate" here. I'd go with ash as being the most dent resistant. Why do I say that? Consider professional baseball bats. Sure, some are made from maple but the majority are made out of ash. Hence, my reason for it''s being the most dent resistant.
 

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Keep in mind that there will be some large changes in the wood's moisture content between the northern mid-West and Florida. Allow for cross grain expansion and movement. Then allow the wood to acclimate in Florida before gluing up.
 

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bzguy
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Gonna play "the devil's advocate" here. I'd go with ash as being the most dent resistant. Why do I say that? Consider professional baseball bats. Sure, some are made from maple but the majority are made out of ash. Hence, my reason for it''s being the most dent resistant.
I agree, ash takes any stain far more consistently, has more contrast/character if if it fits your decor?.
Maple is a nightmare to get a consistent finish on if you are not accustomed to it.
The water and heat treatment for dents works with most any wood species.
 

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dent resistant?

What are we doin' here, swingin' at chain at it? :blink: Dent resistance is only as good as the finish that's on it, if you're not abusing it.:eek:
If that's the issue ... you want a durable finish... then the type of wood is second in line. JMO.
 

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Old School
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The finish has little to do with how dent resistant the wood will be. Ash is more than suitable for furniture, and can look a lot like Oak. If the Mission Style is desired, you could likely find some QS Ash, and finish it to whatever is desired. Ash finishes great.

As for the fabrication/shipping/reassembly, you could just make it with KD (knock down) fittings, and when it gets there just put all the parts together. No onsite assembly or finishing. There are some very good KD fittings that can be used.






.
 

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where's my table saw?
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The finish has little to do with how dent resistant the wood will be
Obviously, that's why I asked about the "environment" above.
You sometimes have to go beyond the original question, and further inquire about other aspects in order to give the best advice, which is all I was trying to do. Forgive my ignorance. :notworthy:

The wood is the wood, the finish is what protects the wood...obviously. Maybe an epoxy would give better surface protection and be more durable over what ever wood is used.
 

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Why not check out the numbers in the JANKA wood hardness standard?
Originally designed to compare woods to be used for flooring.
No need to guess but that's still fun to see how well you did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all for your replies. I should have known better than to think there was a simple answer. Dave Paine's reply led me to research the Janka hardness scale which in turn led me to this site
http://www.woodworkersguide.com/2007/11/05/the-janka-hardness-scale/
There was a fairly comprehensive list of wood varieties and their hardness. Ash, for example has a hardness ranging from 850 to 1320 depending on which variety with black ash being the softest and white ash the hardest. I suspect the local mill that gets most of it's logs from tree removal outfits probably has no idea what type of ash he has just sawed up.

Addressing some of the other thoughts presented; other than she cant carry the stuff on the plane transporting there unfinished and disassembled will help with the climate change issue.

The design will be fairly simple (her desire) : tapered legs, apron and top. Possibly a drawer and a secret compartment. Joinery will be mortise and tenon so assembly will be easy. Top attached with metal clips.

The finish is up it the air a bit. I have always sprayed lacquer and been happy with the results. The few times I tried poly I was not happy. Since she will be finishing them and doesn't have any spray equipment I was steering her toward a finish I saw in Woodsmith Magazine. Thin coat of boiled linseed oil, followed by several wiped on coats of thinned shellac, then topped with several wiped on coats of of thinned fast drying varnish. Seems pretty bullet proof and you don't have to worry about uneven stain penetration. Good way for her to break into the dreaded area of finishing.

Although I don't foresee her and hubby whacking it with chains it is possible that a scuba tank or kayak may get dropped on it.:boat:

Don
 

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In your original post you mentioned that your daughter will assemble and finish the items... now your talking about what finish to use. In my previous post, I mentioned to not worry about dents because water and heat can erase any dents and like bzguy states, this method works with "most any wood species". All of this is true... but if you are going to stain before the ship... the water and heat will not help you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry if I confused the issue. I was referring to the finish I was steering her to do back in Florida. It will go there unfinished.

Don
 

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Then don't worry about possible dents. If she discovers any dents, have her wet a rag, not dripping but wet... like a soft wringing out. Wet the dents and and they will pop out.
 
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