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LETS SEE WHAT YOU THINK. WHAT'S THE HARDEST WOOD TO WORK WITH

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Forum topic by bodymanbob posted 05-08-2012 11:46 PM 2104 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bodymanbob

36 posts in 1722 days


05-08-2012 11:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question carving milling shaping finishing refurbishing scrollworking veneering joining sanding sharpening woodburning

WHAT;S THE HARDEST WOOD THAT YOU HAVE HAD TO WORK WITH, AND THE EZ’S TO WORK WITH? MYSELF THE I WAS TOLD THE WOOD WAS CALLED LASE. WOOD IT LOOKED LIKE PIG SKIN AND IT FELT LIKE PIG SKIN TOO . THE HARDEST DAM WOOD TO MAKE SMOOTH AND FLAT. FOR THE EZ I LOVE WALNUT. OK NOW TELL YOUR NIGHT MERE STORY…


19 replies so far

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 878 days


#1 posted 05-08-2012 11:47 PM

Why ya yellin’ man?

-- Wood is not velveeta

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chrisstef

10858 posts in 1664 days


#2 posted 05-09-2012 12:08 AM

Black Palm … that stuff wont sand smooth, changes color, and splinters when i walk in to the room.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View MisterBill's profile

MisterBill

337 posts in 909 days


#3 posted 05-09-2012 12:15 AM

To paraphrase what a friend of mine said about golf courses, “The hardest wood to work with is the one that I am working with now!!”

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1131 posts in 1134 days


#4 posted 05-09-2012 01:49 AM

Sycamore and sweetgum. They will twist and warp it you look at it wrong because they have spiral grain. Hackberry and elm are also sprial grain and are a challenge to keep flat.

My favorite is walnut, but yellow poplar is the easiest to work with as far as machining and sanding.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2127 posts in 1143 days


#5 posted 05-09-2012 02:43 AM

In my extremely limited experience, I’ve taken to disliking red oak. The grain is huge with pores like canyons, and because the fibers are so coarse it’s not much fun with a handplane. Oh yeah, it smells like a burning plague ward when you cut it on the table saw.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View Ed's profile

Ed

19 posts in 1770 days


#6 posted 05-09-2012 11:28 PM

Sycamore and Sweet Gum are my best and worst woods!

They are great on the sawmill, but the boards are very difficult to dry. The interlocking grain causes the boards to cup and twist as the water is removed from the wood.

Once dry, they are very stable, machine well, sand easily, and are the best domestic species that I have found for laser engraving.

The grain patterns and color variations in Sweet Gum are awesome and quartersawn Sycamore is absolutely beautiful.

I have learned to live with the drying problems by cutting boards over-sized, drying them quickly, and accepting the fact that I’ll lose a lot of lumber in the kiln.

Here’s a picture of a Sweet Gum table top that I am working on. I need to sand and apply more varnish, but it illustrates how well the wood engraves and the great grain patterns that you get from a single tree. The engraving is 10 inches high by 12 inches wide.

It also shows my poor photography techniques!

Ed

-- Ed

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Martyroc

2708 posts in 964 days


#7 posted 05-10-2012 01:53 AM

The hardest I worked with was Ipe, plus it weighs a ton, chewed through my cheap router bits but gave me an excuse to buy new better ones. I regularly work with all different types of Maple, some oak, cedar and ash. Never tried sycamore and sweet gum, and probably wouldn’t have until I saw the beautiful grain patterns. Maple is my go to wood, hard but not too hard, and machines well, especially with my new Freud router bits :)

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1644 days


#8 posted 05-10-2012 02:23 AM

For the woodworking that I do the hardest is pine and its friends. It just eats up my tooling and I can’t get a clean cut or engraving.

Conversely, the easiest for what I do is the crazy hard stuff like Purpleheart, ebony, and incidentally, white oak.

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View Joshuah's profile

Joshuah

152 posts in 1351 days


#9 posted 05-10-2012 02:41 AM

I agree with tyskkvinna! I am not a fan of pine!!!! It is so soft, anything you do requires so much delicacy.

Though my favorite has to be WALNUT!!! Love walnut, though purpleheart and maple are always good woods too!

-- -Joshuah

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3769 posts in 2025 days


#10 posted 05-10-2012 06:36 AM

In my opinion one of the worst is Vermilion, a.k.a. Padauk. Not the actual cutting but the red dust that sticks to your tools and makes them all look like they are rusted. The dust seems to cling to everything.

My favorite wood is red oak (because I have several hundred board feet of 100 year old native Iowa red oak) which because of its age is not as opened grained as the stuff available today.

I really haven’t worked with many exoctic woods because of cost and not because of lack of availability! I am fortunate that I have a local lumber yard that has almost any species available!

I guess I don’t have enough specie to buy exotic species of wood. ha ha, couldn’t resist!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View NathanAllen's profile

NathanAllen

376 posts in 1802 days


#11 posted 05-10-2012 04:32 PM

Tossup between Hickory and Cottonwood for hardest to work.

Favorite is easy, Chestnut.
Favorite that I can actually buy at reasonable prices, Cherry.

View gpop's profile

gpop

12 posts in 955 days


#12 posted 05-10-2012 05:12 PM

HAHA, oh boy! Most wood available in Argentina! Even though they promise dried, only means that it’s not actually dripping. The good stuff is probably exported.

I’ve posted an image of a recently [veneered] test piece. Check out the edge banding… no uniformity at all.
This is considered to be a *”good” plywood over here with 1 good pine side and the other, not so much [eucalyptus]. Price wise, it’s borderline, although the better stuff is almost twice the price without much improvement in quality.
Euca is great if you need flexible, springy, durable stock that will take the weather, but it’s painful to sand and splinters like crazy on the edges.
Kiri ROCKS though, and paraiso is something that also caught my attention lately… I think that I’m going to ditch using any kind of plywood here in favor of these two for a while.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3365 posts in 1471 days


#13 posted 05-10-2012 05:19 PM

Cherry has some unfavorable traits such as prone to burning, sap buildup on blades and bits, springy reaction wood that bends after cutting, blotchy if stained without shellac or conditioner, and actually not hard enough to stand up to everyday living.
Best are Walnut and quartersawn oak.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Bobmedic's profile

Bobmedic

302 posts in 1460 days


#14 posted 05-10-2012 06:31 PM

Lignum Vitae. It is the hardest and has lots of resin that gums up sand paper. It is best to use a scraper to smooth it out.

-- Save lives, ease suffering, reduce morbidity and mortality, stomp out pestilence and disease, postpone the inevitable, and fake compassion. The Paramedics Creed

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1928 days


#15 posted 05-10-2012 07:29 PM

I’d have to name my worst wood to work with as a tie between cocobolo (due to allergic reation) and curly hickory (just dulls the heck out of everything that gets near it). I love the looks of both these woods though…and still use alot of hickory – as for cocobolo….I have had to forego any use of this wood unless I want to spend several days in agony.

Favorites – I’ve seen most folks pick them also – Walnut, Maple and Cherry…nothing is better and less expensive to me here then these domestic hardwoods….and they look fantastic. To be frank though….I like working with any wood….since they are all one of a kind…and are all challenging in their own ways. My goal is always to let the natural beauty of the wood be directly reflected in what I make….and that is what true designing (to me) is all about.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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