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View BigDwood's profile

What is your go to wood for furniture?

by BigDwood
posted 01-16-2019 03:26 PM


27 replies so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

6779 posts in 1647 days


#1 posted 01-16-2019 03:43 PM

Cherry, alder and walnut are all extremely easy to work with. Of those, I’d suggest alder since it’s about half the price of the other two.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

459 posts in 3302 days


#2 posted 01-16-2019 03:56 PM

Whatever the customer or wife wants

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View Andre's profile

Andre

4461 posts in 2864 days


#3 posted 01-16-2019 04:02 PM

For some reason there is alot of Oak in my shop from past projects that I keep trying to use up?
Still have some Birch that I milled myself!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6928 posts in 3551 days


#4 posted 01-16-2019 04:32 PM

I wouldn’t call white oak my go-to wood, but it seems I use more of it than alternatives. I prefer cherry, and sometimes walnut.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

745 posts in 1677 days


#5 posted 01-16-2019 04:41 PM

When I started, I used pine as it was cheap and available. Tossing mistakes didn’t hurt the wallet much. After the kids grew up a bit, and my skills improved, I moved to hardwoods. Then it became whatever SWMBO asked for.

-- Sawdust Maker

View pottz's profile

pottz

16308 posts in 2042 days


#6 posted 01-16-2019 05:02 PM

i love all woods but it depends on the project or what the person im making it for wants.im building bedroom furniture right now out of cherry,and before that a rocker out of walnut,both great woods to work with.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3462 posts in 2855 days


#7 posted 01-16-2019 05:07 PM

My default is cherry—easy to work with and pretty.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1358 posts in 961 days


#8 posted 01-16-2019 05:58 PM

Most of us choose wood based on appearance, function, price, ease of woodworking, availability, etc. We may even like the idea of changing wood to gain experience. If we are building something for someone else, we let them decide. You can approach this matter as you choose. Our opinions are unimportant.

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View Rich's profile

Rich

6779 posts in 1647 days


#9 posted 01-16-2019 06:02 PM


Our opinions are unimportant.

- Phil32

Speak for yourself. The OP has gotten some valuable opinions so far in this thread.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View SMP's profile

SMP

3821 posts in 963 days


#10 posted 01-16-2019 06:12 PM



Cherry, alder and walnut are all extremely easy to work with. Of those, I d suggest alder since it s about half the price of the other two.

- Rich

I’m new to hand tool woodworking, and am using a lot of alder for the reasons you listed. I live close to mexico and can get rough alder about 1/3 the price of cherry or walnut for whatever reason. Plus its soft enough where I don’t have to sharpen my tools all the time, which is nice especially since I don’t have the greatest sharpening setup yet.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

4417 posts in 3406 days


#11 posted 01-16-2019 06:23 PM

I’d suggest that you consider what is available and what the prices are in your area.

Here in the upper Midwest I can get white oak (rift, QS, flat sawn), cherry, walnut, elm, maple, alder, hickory, and even some chestnut, just to name the stuff I remember off the top of my head, all at decent prices.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View jonah's profile

jonah

2136 posts in 4356 days


#12 posted 01-16-2019 06:30 PM

I prefer cherry. I just love the look of it, and it only gets better over time.

Second is maple. I love the light color, plus its another wood that gets more attractive over time.

View MPython's profile

MPython

347 posts in 870 days


#13 posted 01-16-2019 06:46 PM

I don’t know the I have a “go-to” wood. Over the years, I’ve built furniture from maple, mahogany, oak, cherry, ash and walnut, with a smattering of other stuff thrown in. I like them all. Each wood has its own working characteristics and it has been fun learning them. In my opinion, walnut and cherry are the easiest of our domestic woods to work. They’re not too hard, have relatively mild grain, they mill nicely and they are hand-tool friendly. Mahogany is the king of furniture woods and has been for several centuries. It is a dream to work with both machines and hand tools, and it is beautiful. But good mahogany is getting hard to find and it is very expensive. I think walnut and cherry are a very close seconds to Mahogany and they are plentiful and much more reasonably priced.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

7513 posts in 1632 days


#14 posted 01-16-2019 06:46 PM

Maple, especially curly. Cherry, especially with gum streaks, and the little irregularities. Walnut, all brown please. Pretty much in that order, unless the project just tells me it needs another wood, or maybe a few woods for contrast.

All 3 of them are very easy to work with, tool wise. The curly maple needs some care in final prep, and finishing, but the trouble is worth the effort in what it brings to the end project.

-- Think safe, be safe

View pottz's profile

pottz

16308 posts in 2042 days


#15 posted 01-16-2019 06:50 PM


Our opinions are unimportant.

- Phil32

Speak for yourself. The OP has gotten some valuable opinions so far in this thread.

- Rich


+1 if it didnt matter why would he ask right?

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

459 posts in 3302 days


#16 posted 01-16-2019 06:54 PM

yes Alder is a great choice to learn on, as it is widely considered junk wood!!

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

7513 posts in 1632 days


#17 posted 01-16-2019 07:04 PM


Most of us choose wood based on appearance, function, price, ease of woodworking, availability, etc. We may even like the idea of changing wood to gain experience. If we are building something for someone else, we let them decide. You can approach this matter as you choose. Our opinions are unimportant.

- Phil32

Above I answered as you requested, with what I like. Phil has actually given you the best answer though. If you look at what people said you may gain some understanding of what we like, but as stated what you can afford, like to use yourself, and especially what others would like to see in something you made for them, or a household. If married you will quickly find that knowing your spouses preference can make things go better. I mostly agree, that using different woods, can net you more, and better experiences.

If you are like a lot of us you will likely use BORG pine, fir, spruce to do mock ups, and paintable projects from at first, and maybe always. Many do this, and just use the higher cost items from solid hardwood.

I think many would forget to include Plywood, pine or Birch, would often lead that choice, as so many projects today are made using ply, for both dimensional stability, cost, and ease of build. A lot of us have likely used Ply for entire builds, drawers included.

If you asked me what You should use. My pat answer for anyone starting a shop is to make whatever jigs you need for whatever kind of woodworking you plan to do as the very first projects. First they will be invaluable to do the work. Second, who cares if you TS sled isn’t pretty, or a shooting board isn’t pretty, as long as they do what they need to do. To make them, I think many would use a combination of plywood, and BORG lumber, 2×4, 2×6, and up to make them.

Wanting to start on a Walnut Chippendale tall case may not end with what you imagined, but the cost will be the same or more than what you hoped for. So start with lower cost, easy to obtain woods, and build some basic projects first. Then as your skills and appetite grow, move along to more advanced work, with costlier wood.

Potz had the second best answer, but he wasn’t answering the OP was he, just the village XXXXX.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Rich's profile

Rich

6779 posts in 1647 days


#18 posted 01-16-2019 07:06 PM


All 3 of them are very easy to work with, tool wise. The curly maple needs some care in final prep, and finishing, but the trouble is worth the effort in what it brings to the end project.

- therealSteveN

Which of them did you build your height adjustable work table out of?

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View tblank's profile

tblank

83 posts in 4028 days


#19 posted 01-16-2019 07:20 PM

“I don’t have the greatest sharpening setup yet”.

If you make it easy for yourself to keep razor sharp tools, it will make the work go easier. Setup needs to be efficient and simple to use. It will make a world of difference in your shop. There are many methods from expensive to realtively inexpensive. Pick one that suits and you won’t regret it.

View Aj2's profile (online now)

Aj2

3773 posts in 2855 days


#20 posted 01-16-2019 07:30 PM

What a strange question almost like asking a stranger what shoes do you wear or shirts. Without ever seeing them.

-- Aj

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

495 posts in 3628 days


#21 posted 01-16-2019 07:30 PM



When I started, I used pine as it was cheap and available. Tossing mistakes didn t hurt the wallet much. After the kids grew up a bit, and my skills improved, I moved to hardwoods. Then it became whatever SWMBO asked for.

- LittleShaver

Pretty much what I was going to say. Since OP said he’s new to it…there’s going to be some trial & error. It hurts less the errors are on cheap wood..

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

707 posts in 1798 days


#22 posted 01-16-2019 08:55 PM

If it’s getting painted, I use poplar. Otherwise, cherry is readily available at my nearby mill, and though prices have increased over the last year, still quite affordable.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1379 posts in 1966 days


#23 posted 01-16-2019 09:13 PM



yes Alder is a great choice to learn on, as it is widely considered junk wood!!

- Snipes

WHAT?! How dare you! Heretic! Rabble-rouser! Provocateur!

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View BigDwood's profile

BigDwood

11 posts in 823 days


#24 posted 01-16-2019 09:40 PM

You guys are awesome. I appreciate everybody’s feedback. I’m from NC, so we have a lot of the wood that’s been suggested. Great stuff.

View Richard's profile

Richard

11310 posts in 4090 days


#25 posted 01-16-2019 09:59 PM


Our opinions are unimportant.

- Phil32

Speak for yourself. The OP has gotten some valuable opinions so far in this thread.

- Rich

+1 if it didnt matter why would he ask right?

- pottz

+2 Totally RIGHT!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Richard's profile

Richard

11310 posts in 4090 days


#26 posted 01-16-2019 10:03 PM


yes Alder is a great choice to learn on, as it is widely considered junk wood!!

- Snipes

- Ripper70

YEA for having the nerve to just say it! (I Also agree)

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

4359 posts in 2552 days


#27 posted 01-17-2019 12:44 AM

+1 SWMBO (or customer) choice, sort of.
She usually picks the color and grain intensity desired, and then I get to pick wood that will work best for project. Usually cherry, walnut, figured maple, QSWO (in that order); or any exotic found too cheap not to buy. Often my large projects have primary wood, cheaper secondary wood, and then cheap alder/oak/popular for any internal hidden stuff; so projects are not just ONE wood type.

+1 depends heavily on where you live.
Plus how much you want to spend, and where you shop for wood.

Here in Phoenix, alder is cheapest wood available. Cheaper than pine. It is OK wood for learning, and second class furniture where the warm colors found in wood are created by staining it. Perfect for family room coffee table that is actually a foot rest covered in pizza boxes most time. Not something I would use to build heirloom desk or curio from. Pine used to assume the same title when I was younger and lived near cheap pine trees.

Local shop lately has been selling African Mahogany cheaper than any of typical domestic furniture woods (cherry, maple, walnut, and even oak); so it is good local choice ATM. Have also been able to get ASH lumber dirt cheap due borer beetle issues. Makes a good alternative to oak, although grain is not as interesting.

IMHO – Part of ‘which wood’ equation is WHERE you look for wood. You can solve availability issues, if have time and storage for local stash. I can drive to where trees are harvested and buy most any domestic hardwood from a sawyer for 1/3 of what it costs me locally at retail for same thing. Haven’t made a lumber run with trailer in while, but local sawyers are a great diversion while on family vacation!

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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