This weekend I was able spent some time discussing wood types and benefits with an Arboriculturist and tree biology expert . It was most enlightening. We discussed fibre content, strength and growth characteristics. We discussed color and grain. We discussed ages of trees, sustainability and wood ratings. I was amazed at all the science involved.
Anyway, I thought this might be an interesting area to discuss. Perhaps learn something new or interesting about different woods and their pro’s or con’s. Hear what others think about different species….their likes and dislikes.
My favorite wood to work with flat (lumber) is Maple. I like it’s hardness and ability to hold a detailed shape. I really like the different figures available – Tiger, BE, Hard, Soft, etc…etc. Maple is not real forgiving though…and finishes can blead into it if you are not careful. It is not as brittle as some hardwoods like Cocobolo…but it can still be hard to put in a screw or some brads etc. Maple can run the gamut on prices….depending on the figure, the size etc…..but mostly it is in the medium price range. There are quite a few domestic species available so you do not have to pay more for importing it.
When it comes to turning, I have a couple favorites….but if I had to pick one…I would haee to go with Cocobolo. It is beautifully figured, turns easily and holds the detail quite well. Cocobolo is very chip happy….it tears out easily…and will crack or break easily from screws, brads or other insertions (a pilot hole is mandatory on this wood). It is an oily wood and care must be taken when glueing and when finishing in order to insure that you get a decent bond. this wood is also expensive and very heavy/dense – since it is imported this weight adds significantly to the cost.
I haven’t worked with every wood available, so my choices are limited to what I have had experience with. I really enjoy trying a new species….I just puchased a couple of Australian burls to try out (I have never turned these woods so I will have a bit of a learning curve.
-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!