Heading to dream lumber supplier, what to buy?

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  • #6663
    Charles Cleland
    Participant

    Hello all,

    Rather than buying Christmas presents for each other, this year my girlfriend and I decided to go on a couple small getaways together. Leaving for the first one tomorrow, and by some strange coincidence it happens to be near the premier hardwood seller in my state 🙂 So fuel economy be damned, we’re taking the truck rather than the car, and I’ll be bringing some material home with me 🙂
    The question now is, what type? I want to try some new species, and at the top of the list is local red alder, as suggested by Jim Tolpin in”The New Traditional Woodworker”. Supposedly a poor mans alternative to cherry, and great for handtools. I’m also going to get some walnut.

    I already have some cherry, some bigleaf maple, some locust, and a couple apple boards that i’ve made some tool handles with. I would like to try some species plentiful in the Pacific northwest, so they will be economical to purchase from local Sawyers, but i’m not opposed to an affordable exotic or two. So, any suggestions? I’ve tried paduak (didn’t care for it, too brittle).

    Washington State, USA
    My own humble blog:
    http://toolsofourfathers.wordpress.com/

    #6665
    Dave
    Participant

    Birch is attractive but it is very hard.  Ash is nice too and has nice grain.

    -Canada

    #6681
    Ron Harper
    Participant

    Hard to answer without knowing what you like to build.  I have a serious weakness for figured woods.  I love curly maple and crotch grain walnut

    #6685
    Charles Cleland
    Participant

    You make a good point Ron, and the answer to your question is, I don’t know! 🙂 the sum total of my hand tool experience is 2 clocks from this course, two workbenches, and my shop appliances. I made quite a few simple projects years ago in shop class, and some simple log and slab furniture a few years ago to donate to my military units rec room, but that about covers it. I’m still exploring this world called woodworking, looking to find my niche.
    I can tell you the next few projects outside of Pauls course are coffee/end tables, a set of Jefferson book boxes, and other furnishings for my home. Somewhere in there will be cabinets for my shop and an assembly/drafting table.

    Washington State, USA
    My own humble blog:
    http://toolsofourfathers.wordpress.com/

    #6692
    Steve Follis
    Participant

    Hey Andy

    If you get a chance, check out some Radiata Pine.  It comes from the Pacific Northwest.  I buy it locally at the two big Home Centers and pay a premium for it.  It is really nice lumber though, a bit harder than the typical pine, usually clear, straight and has a lot of character in the grain pattern.  I am using some now for some Bed Steps I am making, and plan to make my clock out of it as well.

    I have also had a lot of luck buying some really nice hardwoods off Craigs List.

    Another really good source for hardwoods for small projects is flooring.  A lot of time you can get the remnants at a big discount.  I have some Asian Rosewood that I paid next to nothing for, I’m using it to make small boxes.

    Memphis, Tennessee

    #6771
    Scott
    Participant

    Alder seems appealing to me as well as a real “go to” wood for projects. Quite common (and relatively inexpensive) here in Southern California. I’m not sure I have seen “red” alder though.

    Cherry would probably be my next choice. I bought some wide figured (13-14″) cherry boards a while back that still need to find a project.

    I would definitely look for some clear, wide pine boards as well. Preferably 4/4 rough or 5/4 boards even. Stuff you cannot get at the local store. Great utility in those in case you plan to build a tool chest or cabinet.

    Regardless of species, make sure to get a good mix of flat sawn and quarter sawn boards for your projects. Perhaps some thicker rift sawn boards for table legs.

    -Scott Los Angeles

    #6774
    Charles Cleland
    Participant

    Scott,

    There is a good chance the alder you are seeing in CA is red alder, its apparently the most numerous hardwood species here in WA. It’s frequently marketed as “knotty alder”, but that’s just a grading designation based on the quality of the board.

    Washington State, USA
    My own humble blog:
    http://toolsofourfathers.wordpress.com/

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