LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner
  • Please post in our Community Feedback thread for help with the new forum software! If you are having trouble logging in, please Contact Us for assistance.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
118,619 Posts
Hey Mike
The type of wood you buy depends on what your going to build. As an example if you building and out door project you want a wood that will hold up well out doors. Another consideration is a woods strength for example your would not want to build a rocker out of balsa wood. The other considerations are availability, cost, and appearance.
Were to find it depends on sources in your area. Here's a link that might help.
http://www.woodfinder.com/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,742 Posts
I ask my customers to show me pictures of cabinets they like. This usually suggests the wood species they prefer as well as the "style" of cabinets they want.

I'll also show them samples of different woods with various stains/finishes.

I buy almost all of my wood from a local cabinet hardwood and plywood lumberyard. They carry a great selection of stock and they don't keep it in stock can often get it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
572 Posts
I agree with both of the comments above. I also consider tradition. For example I'm going to build a Morris chair in the near future and I'm going to use quarter sawn white oak, because that was the traditional material. I also consider the characteristics of the wood. I like working with both cherry and walnut for furniture because they are easy to work with hand tools. Other projects, such as workbenches, require hard woods that can take a pounding. I also consider the color of the finished product. I don't like to use stains so I will choose a wood for its color as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
516 Posts
Jim and the rest make a good point and shorty presented.

Glen makes a very good point too! If a wood is used inside for interior furniture, then most woods (hard woods) are relatively equal as far as durability goes. Soft woods too for that matter. But its important to choose a wood with a beautiful natural color… I do not like using stains that much either, especially if there is a wood that produce the color I want naturaly… its just more authentic somehow. There is the whole cost factor too, that I understand… but I have the opinion that if I want to take the time and energy to build something then, the material is actually a very small percentage of the cost compared to the time or the tools to work the wood.

Point I wanted to make was, if I like cherry then I would use cherry and not take the time to stain and match another cheaper wood to match the real mccoy. Not to save 30% of wood price… that furniture will hopefully be around for many years, build it the best you can with the best materials available. There is an exception to my practice, thats when it comes to tropical woods or endangered or non certified woods. I do not use them, then I would rather take a maple and stain it to look like ebony, or maybe stain a chestnut to look like mahagony, or whatever.

my 2 cents
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Makes a lot of Glen & Nicholas. I've tried stain a few times, but not liking the results. I built a step stool recently out of oak and finished it natural - and love it! I need to get me a book or something (is there an App for that) on wood types so that I can pick out the natural colour I want for a project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,019 Posts
Whatever I use, I've begun buying it RGH (unplaned). It's less expensive and I have to face and plane it anyway to start out with straight stock. I still find it amazing how the unplaned furry lumber comes out looking like the 4 sided planed stuff you also find at the wood suppliers. Also, since RGH lumber is about 1" thick you can end up with wood that is greater than 3/4" if you want to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
380 Posts
If its for a commission, I ask them to show me a picture of the piece or what it is they want me to build. I then show them 3 or 4 different woods that I "think" might work. One of them being the cheapest wood and the other being the match, and a few others. The hardwood dealer I go to has certain domestics on special prices; cherry, red oak, walnut, poplar; though they are only 6' boards they usually come out of that group. When looking through the boards at the dealer, I usually look at the color and if its possible, the grain. I try to find ones that match the best as possible, which after milling they sometimes don't. Which is why I always buy 1 or 2 extra boards, just in case that happens. I also get the widest boards that I can find in the pile, I find it gives me a lot more flexibility when using that board, I think Thomas MacDonald said that in one of his video's.

If its for me, I usually just get something that I haven't worked with before, like my current project which is made of walnut and spalted maple, neither of which I had worked with before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,101 Posts
customer or me decides what wood specie then I shop

auctions, estate sales,
garage sales
wholesalers
retailers
word of mouth

the rare occasion, I go buy the trees, fell them and hire a portable saw mill to cut it up.

I look for straight boards, no bends, curls, twists, severe cupping. I look at the ends of the boards to avoid heartwood (pith areas), no honey comb. I look at the edges for springwood/sapwood cause I dont like the look of severe colour change. I look down both edges to look for consistant thickness and prefer the thicker boards. I look at both faces for knots, grain direction, flower, defects etc and of course I look at the price.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,949 Posts
plus different styles of furniture prefer certain woods….mission style furniture is done in oak or ash hands down, and country style furniture is done with pine, cedar, or any knotty soft wood. You also want to check the grain of the wood. You dont want to make a random picture frame with 3 sides quartersawn and the fourth side looking funny because its riftsawn
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
Who makes the decision - the person I'm making the piece for, with my help.

Others have covered have already covered why, i.e., historically certain woods are used for different styles.

I buy my lumber from local lumber yards. Not HD or Lowes, but a hardwood lumber yard. I have four within an hour drive. Because I don't have a planer, I buy surfaced material (4/4 = 13/16", not ¾" like the sanded material HD carries). Some of these yards sell rough, others sell "hit & miss" (had one pass through the planer) too. You should look for similar hardwood yards in your area.

When I start a new project, I check the yards to see who has what I need in stock, and/or the best price. I'll go through the entire stack(s), first setting aside straight, flat boards. You will find the boards with the best figure toward the bottom of the stack because most people just take from the top.

From the boards I've set aside, I pick the material needed, looking for the best color and grain match. I use a cut list to ensure I have the material needed for drawer faces, or other needs. I will also pick up a couple extra boards for the "just in case" problem that can happen. If you have a special width area, I make sure I have extra to cover this area.

Lately I've been watching craigslist. Doing quick searches for lumber has given me the names of local sawyers. I plan to contact these sawyers when I have a project with wood native to California. I need to get a moisture meter before I actually buy from one of them.

The internet has also given me the names of a few more hardwood yards within 2 hours. It comes down to economics as to whether I use one of these new yards, or the local sawyer for a project.

I've also looked at EBay and online suppliers. But when I calculate the material + shipping cost per board foot, it's just too expensive. The current Fine Woodworking Magazine has an article on mail order wood. They say if you can get locally, don't order it unless it's something special. Plus, buying local lets you pick the boards.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top