|Forum topic by cathyb||posted 09-14-2013 07:30 AM||1166 views||0 times favorited||11 replies|
09-14-2013 07:30 AM
I enjoy making koa rockers. To date, I’ve made 18 chairs and have a good idea of what to expect during the process. So when a client asked me to make a chair from a less expensive wood, I was interested to see if there would be a difference. I selected sapele, a wood that I have limited experience with but the price was quite reasonable. The chair will be complete next week and I will post the photos. This is what I’ve learned about using sapele versus koa for a chair:
The pros: sapele is harder than koa, which is nice, because every minor ding isn’t such a disaster. sapele finishes without as much trouble as koa sapele is easier to sand, although you have to start with a grit as low as 100, which I would never use on koa (if I ever wanted to get rid of those tool marks) sapele was relatively easy to shape, especially the seat
The cons: the dust from sapele is too fine, I don’t like it and neither do my lungs sapele doesn’t bend as well as koa, which is a negative with all the bent laminate work that I do. my thickness for the layers had to be much thinner sapele just isn’t as pretty as koa sapele is more brittle than koa, which spells more angst for those laminations, especially the bent back rest
I doubt that I would make another rocker from sapele. I have tried tropical ash and loved working with that wood. I also made a chair from Hondurus mahogany which, like ash, is so wonderful in laminations.
I appreciate your wisdom and suggestions….......
-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com