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What is your favorite wood and why?

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Forum topic by JoeyG posted 885 days ago 1301 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JoeyG

1234 posts in 1257 days


885 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: resource question

I am sitting here looking through lumberyard websites and there are so many beautiful woods out there. So many I have never worked with or even seen for that matter.

My current favorite is Bolivian Rosewood also known as Santos Rosewood. I find it extremely beautiful and easy to work and it leaves my shop smelling wonderful. I have read that it can be difficult to glue and finish because of the oil content but I have experienced none of these issues. I went to my lumberyard last week to pick up some more and they were out. I think I bought the last little chunk they had on my last visit. They told me that they had some on order buy who know’s when they will get any. Seems it can be a bit hard to get. So I began researching other rosewoods. I did pick up some Bubinga which I have never worked with but am looking forward to. It to is a rosewood from Africa. I also plan to pick up so Chechen, a Caribbean Rosewood. I guess you can see the theme here. Rosewoods are my new focus.

Here is my question for all of you. What is your favorite wood and why. Also what wood would you like to work with? Maybe if we all share a little bit about the woods we favor, it will give others an idea if a certain wood is something they would like to try.

Thanks in advance for anyone who decides to play along. Have a great day.
Joey

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks


28 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13783 posts in 970 days


#1 posted 885 days ago

I only work with local wood I can cut myself. But my favorite to work with is Ash.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

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JoeyG

1234 posts in 1257 days


#2 posted 885 days ago

I haven’t worked with Ash. I do like the grain and color. That’s cool that you cut your own lumber.

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View jjw5858's profile

jjw5858

1117 posts in 1234 days


#3 posted 885 days ago

Hey JoeyG, great forum. I really love working with Cherry. It seems to turn and carve nice and I like the aroma, the grain as well as the color. Hard to pick a fav….but Cherry it is..at least today…even though I am currently working with Maple…lol Would love to work with Walnut, just have not had the chance yet.

Take care,

Joe

-- "Make something you love tomorrow...and do it slowly" JLB

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JoeyG

1234 posts in 1257 days


#4 posted 885 days ago

Hi Joe, I really enjoy working with Cherry and Walnut as well. When I first began learning to build cabinets, Cherry was my favorite. When I began building boxes, I think Walnut was my favorite. Maple and I have a tough time together. I love the way it looks, but hate the way it works.

Thanks for adding to the discussion.

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

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JoeyG

1234 posts in 1257 days


#5 posted 885 days ago

I’ve been thinking about picking up some Cocobolo at some point myself Jonathan. Is it hard to work?

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3032 days


#6 posted 885 days ago

Joe: I’ve got about 10 boards of Chechem and the grain is beautiful but is varied on each of the boards.

I’ve got a couple of small pieces of Bubingia but I’ve used some of the veneer of that species and it’s great.

I’ve got some small pieces of Santos Rosewood veneer but haven’t used it yet for anything.

I think that the wood that I love to use is Ambrosia Maple. I made my kitchen cabinets in NJ out of that wood. I hated to sell the house.

Click for details

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-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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JoeyG

1234 posts in 1257 days


#7 posted 885 days ago

Hi Karson, Ambrosia Maple is another of my favorites. I found some really crazy ambrosia a while back. I still have a few small pieces left after making my dolphin boxes. That’s a beautiful kitchen. I am looking forward to redoing mine at some point. I haven’t worked in veneers in years and then it was for curved surfaces. I am jealous of you horde of Chechen. I tried to talk my wife into letting me have the credit card this morning. When she saw what website I was on she took my whole wallet. LOL

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View ITnerd's profile

ITnerd

261 posts in 1231 days


#8 posted 885 days ago

Persimmon. Diospyros Virginiana – the only member of the ebony family native to our shores. I love it because the grain near knots is fantastic, and looks great with nothing more than BLO & wax. It is also tough as all hell – it was used for golf club heads back in the day.

I also have squirrelled away some small exotics, but sadly just of the tool handle size. I am trying to get to where the larger things I build come from local woods. I’m very lucky to have a decent source near the city, Eutree. Call Joel & Simms if you are within reach of Atlanta.

I’ve found Persimmons, Beech, Cherry, Magnolia, Holly and Walnut, among the Oaks there. Christine has a reverse House Arrest bracelet on me that goes off when I take thier highway exit.

Beech is another under-rated wood – sadly, if you use it for anything but hand planes, St. Peter has to make a bad mark beside your name. And Larry Williams will come for you in the night. Nice enough man I’d imagine by his videos, but not someone you want to see coming down a dark alley swinging a coopers jointer.

As a semi-related side note, I’ve got to stop reading about wooden hand planes.

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1234 posts in 1257 days


#9 posted 885 days ago

Hi Chris, I must say that my favorite tree is Beech. That being said, I have never even considered using one as lumber. I may have to rethink that.

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View ITnerd's profile

ITnerd

261 posts in 1231 days


#10 posted 885 days ago

Great stuff Joey, have at it. Larrys website has an article about its beneficial properties from a hand tool perspective, but it also made some of the most beautiful cabinets I’ve ever seen. Flecking from the rays on quartersawn cuts will get most woodworkers going. Matt Bickford has proof. :)

As a side note, try to make sure your chechen is fully dried & not containing any bark or sap before you have at it. Chechem is Metopium brownei, aka Black Poisonwood. The sap from the live plant is something you do not want to become familiar with. When you are on vacation. Drunk. On a Key in Florida. Just saying.

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

View BlankMan's profile

BlankMan

1487 posts in 1984 days


#11 posted 885 days ago

If I went by what I use the most I’d have to say oak, because the trim and a lot of other things in my house are oak so it matches.

But I really like maple and walnut and wenge (when I use it) because of the contrast it affords when combining these woods.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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stefang

12935 posts in 1966 days


#12 posted 885 days ago

I think wood is a little like food, variety is best and some woods are better suited to some projects than others. I have almost no experience with exotics, but one wood I love to work with is Mahogany, another is Ash because some pieces with pretty wild grains can be found. Another favorite of mine is White Oak because it works well, is pretty stable and surprisingly easy to plane and cut. Otherwise I see lots of other wood types that look wonderful, but which I don’t have access to aside from some small pieces I have of Walnut, Maple, Cocobolo, and African Blackwood. Locally we have Birch, Alder, Oak, Beech and Pine for the most part. I did get some Lindenwood last week for carving. It is similar to Basswood and it smells terrible, but it carves well.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12935 posts in 1966 days


#13 posted 885 days ago

I think wood is a little like food, variety is best and some woods are better suited to some projects than others. I have almost no experience with exotics, but one wood I love to work with is Mahogany, another is Ash because some pieces with pretty wild grains can be found. Another favorite of mine is White Oak because it works well, is pretty stable and surprisingly easy to plane and cut. Otherwise I see lots of other wood types that look wonderful, but which I don’t have access to aside from some small pieces I have of Walnut, Maple, Cocobolo, and African Blackwood. Locally we have Birch, Alder, Oak, Beech and Pine for the most part. I did get some Lindenwood last week for carving. It is similar to Basswood and it smells terrible, but it carves well.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1234 posts in 1257 days


#14 posted 885 days ago

Thanks for the input everyone. On a side note, I will also list a wood that I will never, ever, ever work with again if I can help it. That’s Bocote. I bought a small piece I thought I might use for handles. I decided to use a part of it as a lid on a pencil box. I finally had to put in a drawer for a while. Maybe I will pull it out at another time and try to finish it but right now I want to throw it in the fireplace. The only thing stopping me is how bad it would smell burning. And speaking of smell. It’s simply awful. I love the yellow/black grain patterns of it, but the feel of the wood, how it works, and how it smells will keep it out of my shop if I have a say in it.

On a good note, I enjoy working with Mahogany. It is a great wood. I am currently bidding on a hostess station. I gave them a price on both Cherry and Mahogany. I am hoping they will choose Mahogany. It will be the largest thing I have built with it. I have built huge kitchens out of Cherry and would like to try a large project something besides the norm. I should find out next week. I am working on a Mahogany box right now. The inlay is curly maple. Here’s a preview….

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View Keith Stephens's profile

Keith Stephens

4 posts in 2091 days


#15 posted 885 days ago

Joey, like you I have fetish for rosewood. I love the stuff…the smell, the colors, the silky feel.

As you will see, I am a bit of a purest about what is a rosewood. All true rosewoods are in the Dalbergia genus. Marketing gurus have attached the rosewood name to other woods just to make them more desireable. Bolivian Rosewood(Morado), Carribean Rosewood(Chechen), African Rosewood(Bubinga) are good exomples. These are all great woods but the are not rosewoods.

HERE is a blog about rosewood and attached is an article by Dick Boak, Manager of the Wood Products Division of C. F. Martin & Co. Check it out.

-- Keith Stephens

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