What do you look for when choosing wood?

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Forum topic by skogie1 posted 09-27-2016 03:15 AM 559 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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119 posts in 1566 days

09-27-2016 03:15 AM

I usually look for dimensional trueness when I’m picking wood. In particular I avoid twist as much as possible. Recently I was choosing some walnut for a project and I was struck by the grain of a particular board. The board was warped and twisted and knotted but there was that one section that I want so I brought it home. It got me thinking about what matters when choosing wood. Just curious to hear what people have to say on the subject. Thanks for taking the time.

6 replies so far

View Heywood's profile


46 posts in 1651 days

#1 posted 09-27-2016 05:03 AM

It all depends on the project. I mainly do intarsia, so color and grain pattern is the main concern. For furniture projects, straight is a major factor. Usually when I go to my favorite lumber yard, I get what I need, then find some awesome figured stuff and that comes home with me. Some day it will get used.

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119 posts in 1566 days

#2 posted 09-27-2016 05:23 AM

“Intarsia”. Wow. I had to look that up. That looks insanely difficult!

View TheFridge's profile


10747 posts in 1689 days

#3 posted 09-27-2016 05:45 AM

i don’t buy dimensioned lumber so I don’t really worry unless it’s really bad or I actually need long boards. Most furniture parts for me are around 2’-3’. I use a lot of figured maple scraps from a cabinet shop as well.

I don’t buy much lumber but I browse whenever I can. I usually try to leave with a figured board or two if the price is right.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2210 days

#4 posted 09-27-2016 01:06 PM

I always look for FREE wood.

Free is always good when acquiring wood !
Yeah, I also dont BUY much wood. And I have several friends nearby that give me more branches and tree trunks that I’ll ever be able to turn.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View a1Jim's profile


117337 posts in 3780 days

#5 posted 09-27-2016 01:22 PM

The real basis are moisture content, how it’s sawn(plain sawn,rif sawn,quarter sawn) avoiding defects ,knots,checks,sapwood,twist,cupping bowing.Then correct quantities and species for your project.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bondogaposis's profile


5093 posts in 2554 days

#6 posted 09-27-2016 01:39 PM

When I buy wood for a project I think in terms of the parts I need to cut from the boards. Many times I only need short parts, 3-4’, if the board has a little bit of crook or bow it doesn’t matter because as I cut out the parts I remove that. The wood I buy is usually rough, I plan on jointing and planing as I go and I can machine out most defects other than knots or cracks. Things I look to avoid are twist, cracks, knots and cup. Twist is the most difficult to deal with, it can be machined out if the board is thick enough. However, it leaves a lot of waste and is time consuming, I shun twisted wood. It is important to read the grain, I like rift sawn boards for table legs and quarter sawn boards for table tops, flat sawn for door panels and drawer fronts. Look at the ends of boards to determine where they came from the in the log and where they might best be used in a project.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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