Working characteristics

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Forum topic by Flipper01 posted 11-28-2014 05:17 PM 707 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 724 days

11-28-2014 05:17 PM

Have any experienced woodworkers here chronicled the working characteristics of the various woods. It would be a great help for those of us like me who are just starting serious hobby-crafting with wood and save us a ton of money in not ruining costly products. We have them in welding and metalworking; how metals join, what processes to use and expected reactions between dissimilar metals but I haven’t been able to find any such information in the wood arena.

6 replies so far

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3599 posts in 1907 days

#1 posted 11-28-2014 05:43 PM

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39 posts in 724 days

#2 posted 11-28-2014 07:45 PM

Thank you Dallas. Trying to get the shop somewhat cleaned up so I’ll look this evening but thank you for responding so quickly.

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Bill White

4406 posts in 3380 days

#3 posted 11-28-2014 09:07 PM

There are no absolutes when working with different woods. Sure, there are some basics, but each wood will respond differently depending on many variables such as moisture, temp., cutting methods, etc.
Just my thoughts.


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39 posts in 724 days

#4 posted 11-28-2014 09:31 PM

Thank you Bill. One of the great parts of having wireless internet is being able to have an iMac everywhere in the shop. The wife loves it in the kitchen but for me, it’s in the shop so again, thank you for responding. I’d think that it’s rather like metals with TIG, stick, MIG and the like on different metals and for different applications. One will work with one medium but others may be better. I’m discovering that different glue is better for different woods and some woods bind better to others. Some move more over time than others as they continue to dry and the list, for me at least, goes on. I was thinking of some basics like best glues for certain woods, best moisture contents to be able to start joining at and things like that; just starting points. Dallas had a couple of good suggestions as I just skimmed the sites. I’m looking forward to really going through them this evening.

View bobro's profile


308 posts in 731 days

#5 posted 11-28-2014 11:52 PM

A single kind of wood can vary a great deal depending on many factors. The variations can be amazing. Getting, say, rough lumber from a country sawmill, or using very old or salvaged wood, really reveals this. But if you take a bunch of factors into consideration, you can predict how the wood is going to act and work very well, though never absolutely of course as it’s an organic thing.

The wood database Dallas linked to has a great deal of information as well as comments on workability. Due to the variations found in wood and in uses, though, a wood database really needs something that wouldn’t be appropriate for most other databases, and that’s many personal anecdotes.

But the personal anecdotes would have to meet a certain standard of background information about the specific lumber in question and about the tools used. For example if I were to make a comment about “cherry” and it was in reference to some S4S of origin and drying unknown to me, and I’d done little more than crosscut to lengths on a radial arm saw before doweling it together, that would be of no value.

Whereas if I were to report on the cherry I’m working with now, I could say “sweet cherry, flat sawn, mild figure, air dried three years an inch, snowy winters, healthy tree, trunk about 3 feet, board about 16”, cupped about 16th””, and report on ripping and crosscutting with handsaw, hand planing, dovetailing, mortising with chisel, and so on. “A real pleasure to work with hand tools, glues perfectly with aliphatic resin, but don’t get carried away and pound on it like you might with say beech because it’ll want to split along the grain”. And that would be anecdote that might be helpful to someone.

So in short, I think a forum like this one here at “lumberjocks” is actually a kind of “wood database”.

Which reminds me, gotta ask if anyone here has worked elm with hand tools and what they thought of it.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

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39 posts in 724 days

#6 posted 11-29-2014 02:25 AM

Thank you bobro and again Dallas. Just went through the sites and they’re exactly what I was looking for. Those and this site are a great help

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