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Wood usage guide?

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Forum topic by Matt Przybylski posted 06-20-2013 01:07 AM 702 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt Przybylski

467 posts in 1102 days


06-20-2013 01:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood guides

Hello fellow jocks,
I’ve considered for a while now buying some lumber that is outside of what I’m accustomed to working with (read: exotics). Rather than jumping on here every time that I’m thinking about placing an order and polluting the forum with questions about certain woods, I was wondering if there is a guide available out there somewhere (or book even) that talks about each wood and what you need to be aware of when working with it?

For instance, when working with some woods like Purple Heart or other such woods, I’ve read you need to keep your blades extremely sharp. Then, there are woods which may be of higher toxicity and special precautions should be taken when working with them. Or a wood that is prone to chip out when planing, etc. just general knowledge that should be known by a woodworker when considering the purchase of a certain type of lumber I guess is what I’m looking for to make sure I don’t spend heaps of money that will either be really hard to work with or that I don’t have the tooling to work with.

Anyone know of something along these lines?

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com


9 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3481 posts in 1695 days


#1 posted 06-20-2013 02:08 AM

Go here:

http://www.lewislp.com/woodchar.asp

Not an in depth selection, but a good start.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

467 posts in 1102 days


#2 posted 06-20-2013 02:11 AM

yes, it doesn’t get into super detail, but definitely a great resource. appreciate it Michael, thank you.

Keep them coming!

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

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Matt Przybylski

467 posts in 1102 days


#3 posted 06-21-2013 04:04 AM

Nobody else has anything? :(

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

View Tbolt's profile

Tbolt

65 posts in 575 days


#4 posted 06-21-2013 04:40 AM

Matt, I use a book by Terry Porter called Wood Identification & Use. Excellent reference that gives a description of the wood, dry weight, specific gravity, properties, seasoning, durability, possible health risk and typical uses. It full of different exotics and domestic woods. Check it out, I have found it to be very useful.

-- Fumbling and Bumbling Woodworking Todd

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Matt Przybylski

467 posts in 1102 days


#5 posted 06-21-2013 01:06 PM

Todd, oddly enough I was just looking at that same book yesterday on Amazon. It has been on my Amazon wish list for probably about a year now and I haven’t pulled the trigger but I probably should. Good call.

My only question is, does the book have any thoughts on each wood and its machinability? How sharp tools need to be, etc, kind of along the lines of what’s in the link Michael sent over? My biggest concern at the moment is purchasing wood that I will either not have the ability to work easily and overpay for or that I don’t have tooling to work with.

Thank you for your suggestion.

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

View JayT's profile

JayT

2534 posts in 936 days


#6 posted 06-21-2013 01:58 PM

I use this website quite a bit

http://www.wood-database.com/wood-identification/

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

1087 posts in 1850 days


#7 posted 06-21-2013 09:37 PM

Ahh Matt, you are looking for the holy grail of woodworking. As far as I know there isn’t a concise book that takes individual species and explains their woodworking properties. There are just too much info per species to do this, not to mention keeping track of the scientific name of the tree and the name it sells as wood.

I started out with the same frustration as you. And embarked on a obsession to study trees, just so I can understand why they work the way they do. For each wood, each board can be so different it is mind boggling. Some day I do hope to compile my research, but do not hold your breath for that.

~ I recommend Understanding Wood and Identifying Wood by R. Bruce Hoadley.
~ A list from Fine Woodworking of toxicity
~ The Tree by Colin Tudge to give you and idea of the difficulty in woods via the tree families
~ and a great resource for Individual tree species from the USDA Forest Service

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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Tbolt

65 posts in 575 days


#8 posted 06-21-2013 10:57 PM

Matt it does give info on the machinability and blunting effect of your tools. It may not contain every wood species in the world, but it does contain quite a few. I have yet to find a species that I was interested in that it didn’t contain.

-- Fumbling and Bumbling Woodworking Todd

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Matt Przybylski

467 posts in 1102 days


#9 posted 06-23-2013 02:59 PM

excellent links everyone, thanks! i’ve decided to purchase Wood Identification & Use and The Real Wood Bible (which I found accidentally by looking at Eric’s links). I’ve also bookmarked the links provided as great resources. Appreciate the help.

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

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