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Forum topic by loneduckcustoms posted 683 days ago 1138 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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loneduckcustoms

7 posts in 683 days


683 days ago

Hi I’m new but have liked looking for some time. My question is why does everyone want things to be built out of oak? I’m thinking of starting a small shop here in Iowa to make ends meet. I’ve been woodworking for years but never as a business. My biggest problem is that everyone wants things made from oak until I show them that there is more and to my eye, more beautiful woods out there. When I build, I love the character of the wood and try to make it the main feature. Do all of you run into the same thing?)


27 replies so far

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knotscott

5417 posts in 2001 days


#1 posted 683 days ago

Oak is plentiful, it’s available, it’s affordable, it’s popular, it’s strong, and it looks “OK”. But I agree….there’s got to be a piece of oak in just about every dwelling in North America! It’s rarely my first choice, but sometimes it’s the only choice that matches the other furniture or fixtures.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View teejk's profile

teejk

1208 posts in 1310 days


#2 posted 683 days ago

oak is widely available and pretty tough. and properly finished is a very pretty wood. what do you propose to sell in lieu?

View derosa's profile

derosa

1533 posts in 1461 days


#3 posted 683 days ago

I think it is due to a lot of people liking arts and crafts or mission style furniture which is fairly simplistic and fits with a wide range of households; much of it tends to be oak or associated in people’s minds with oak. Personally I find white oak to be a very uninspiring wood for me to work with though admittedly it can be interesting when quarter sawn, I also won’t turn it down when it is .30 cents a BF like the last time. Red oak is nice IMHO and looks nicer finished. Cherry or apple are my preferred woods followed by maple and any number of exotics.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

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loneduckcustoms

7 posts in 683 days


#4 posted 683 days ago

Around here oak a lot of time is just expensive as black walnut. What I guess what I dislike about oak is the perception people have with oak. It is not perfect but people expect it from the woodworker. When I build, I like to figure out how best to use what I have and not worry if it’s perfect.

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oldnovice

3688 posts in 1993 days


#5 posted 683 days ago

loneduckcustoms,

I have a couple hundred board feet of native Iowa red oak … 100 years old! It was salvaged from a farm house in Wright county. It is beautiful!

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

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teejk

1208 posts in 1310 days


#6 posted 683 days ago

loneduck…depends on what your customers want…black walnut has the strength but not usually the highly figurement (I’d add cherry to that list as well). If people want “wild”, then oak is the best choice on the cheaper domestics. If more subdued, then tell them that.

and since I am in Wisconsin, where do you find black walnut at the same price as red oak? I’m ready to start the truck!

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derosa

1533 posts in 1461 days


#7 posted 683 days ago

Teejk, if you spend the time looking you can find some really amazing looking cherry with wild figure. Quarter sawn can have some interesting flecks that shimmer while flat sawn can produce amazing swirl effects to the grain. Too many people think cherry should have perfectly straight grain but I like the pieces that those people prefer to leave behind.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

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mountainaxe

82 posts in 1131 days


#8 posted 683 days ago

i agree that oak is somewhat cheap and readily available. With that said, mahogany and cherry are my choice for any furniture grade work. On the other hand, if you’re just going to paint a piece, why spend more? Go to a big box store and buy a load of pine…it’s easy to work with and doesn’t break the bank.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

View loneduckcustoms's profile

loneduckcustoms

7 posts in 683 days


#9 posted 683 days ago

I would like to explain a little further. I had someone ask me to make a set of kitchen cabinets but when they explained that they did not want any defects, understand I hate to waste wood and that when I tried to explain how much more it would be because of the waist involved in meeting what they wanted. Also with the time involved to get what they would like, they couldn’t understand. I ended telling them that I could not meet their expectations. Just starting a business and having to turn people away because they have this idea that oak comes perfect. How would you have and do handling a situation like this?

Fairfield Iowa on craigslist $1bf all hardwoods oak, hickory, black walnut. Cut to order. A lot of people I know consider walnut a pest tree. I’m going to cut 5this big ones from the yard because they cause to meany problem. It’s used as firewood.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2866 posts in 1113 days


#10 posted 683 days ago

Interesting responses so far.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and finding any wood in quantity that wasn’t SPF or Hemlock or cedar was expensive, except for oak.

Hard wood there was nearly non existent.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11644 posts in 2314 days


#11 posted 683 days ago

Oak is so ‘70’s-ish…....
People want it because it’s 1} Easy to say , 2} been seen in relatives kitchens , 3} don’t know that there are so many other choices out there…....4} will probably want you to stain it a different color , 5} Unedumacated…LOL

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View TraumaJacques's profile

TraumaJacques

433 posts in 2126 days


#12 posted 683 days ago

I have asked myself the same question and here is what I have come up with.
Oak is easily recognisable and somewhat common in North American furniture, flooring, mouldings and kitchen cabinets. I personally do not particularly like working with red oak (white oak in some applications is ok)
Has a creative craftsman it is my job to try to convince the customer of their best options but at the end of the day if they want Oak then oak it is.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

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lumberjoe

2829 posts in 874 days


#13 posted 683 days ago

I think the opposite. No one wants oak anymore. I happen to be in the minority that actually likes the look of good ole red oak, but only with a natural finish. QSWO is one of the most beautiful woods out there in my opinion, but maybe it’s because I tend to gravitate toward early arts and crafts style.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13735 posts in 964 days


#14 posted 683 days ago

Everyone seems to be in love with Oak. I agree, even locally there are much more beautiful woods. If you’re in Iowa, you have many choices there. Oak is traditional, but if you show people what’s available you can usually win them over. And if you don’t, you have plenty of oak trees :-)

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

View rance's profile

rance

4128 posts in 1786 days


#15 posted 683 days ago

>How would you have and do handling a situation like this?

LDC, I would suggest they provide the wood. I did that with the ball project I did a few months ago. It worked out great. My client ended ‘up close and personal’ with the suppliers of the wood so they could experience first-hand how much wood costs. The whole job worked out great.

If your client is not willing to do that, then they can find someone else(as you politely told them).

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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