Okay, so the wood isn’t really ‘new,’ I’ve just never had a chance to work it before! :P
The local lumber warehouse carries all the usual suspects: Alder, Ash, Birch (one of my faves), Oak—White or Red, and Walnut. They’ve got a great selection of ‘exotics,’ too, but at north of $7 a board foot, a little out of my price range. However, they’ve also got a bee-yoo-tee-full selection of European Beech, for $2.96/bf!
This stuff is GORGEOUS! The planks tend to be narrower, but I’ve never seen so much CLEAR grain in so many pieces! The colour is a nice, even tawny tint, with flecks (rays?) of darker contrasting brown evenly dispersed throughout the lumber. I’d gone to the warehouse to purchase some Maple, for various craft and kitchenware purposes (specifically, I need to make my brother a spoon for Christmas. Yes, LAST Christmas, now shush with the tsk-tsking about my procrastinating!). Anyway, although the Beech is 8 cents/bf more than Hard Maple, I picked out a nice plank and it cost me all of 9 bucks.
The spoon started as a lathe experiment, with the band-sawn blank mounted between centers to turn the shank. Dismal failure. The thin section whipped so much that any time savings offered by the lathe was offset by the babying necessary to tool the workpiece. Drawknife and spokeshave still rule for shaping spoon shanks, thanks.
The bowl, of course, is a bit of a sticky wicket. Turns out I don’t have a spoon gouge (yeah, I’ll be forging one next time I’m at the blacksmith shop nearby), so I wasted part of the bowl with a Forstner bit. And yes, I should have hollowed the spoon before shaping its back.
Okay, the fact that Budweiser is ‘Beechwood aged’ had a TINY part to play in my wood-buying decision, but it’s still a nice lumber even without the beer connection.
-- Leland, OC Calif., www.safetyshowerbars.com