Mike LeBlanc

What type of wood to use and where do I buy it?

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Hello all :-)

My name is Mike, my freinds call me Maddog.

Though I am 44yrs young, I am totally new to wood working. I am talented and skilled but I have not learned the proper techniques and tricks to working with wood. I have a lathe, tablesaw, mitresaw, ect. I am now wondering what type of wood I should be using as a rookie? Or does it matter? Where is a good place for material? Big box stores?, Lee valley?

Mike

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Welcome to the forum!

Do you have a jointer and planer? If you do, the best place to buy lumber is at a hardwood dealer or local lumberyard. Stay away from places like home depot, as their lumber is over priced and subpar.

The type of lumber depends upon the project, what finish you desire, as well as your skill level.

What types of projects have you completed in the past? What do you desire to build?

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I have built my work bench and several projects from plans and magazines. I do have a small jointer 4.5" but i usually use it for the edges and then my planer for the faces. My wife has a shoe room with over 300 pairs of shoes in acks and such. My thought was to build some fancy boxes for her favs :-)

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Knotty pine is the cheapest wood for building honey do's in my area I built a lot of shop cabinets and, used knotty pine for the face frames I buy it at Home Depot that way I can high grade the best stuff, lumber yards usually frown on that.

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Boxes are a great project because they can be elaborate or simple, and made from relatively small stock. You can do mitered box with splines. I have a great and simple jig that I can post pics of if you like.

I like walnut, cherry, maple, and poplar for boxes. I usually use whatever I have on hand that is nice, and I chose an especially nice piece for the top (usually put aside for this purpose when I am milling stock).

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poplar is nice cheap wood.  cherry is pretty much the cheapest "nice" wood in most areas.  What part of the country are you in? Some areas have common species that are cheaper than the national curve.

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I don't think you should limit yourself in your wood choices.  Find the look you like and go for it.  The bumps in the road can sometimes be difficult (and expensive!) but better to go for it from the start than to look back and think, "I wish I'd gone ahead and used the ..."

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Strictly speaking, no, it doesn't matter.  Just get out there and start making sawdust.

 

But since you asked, if you were in Chicagoland, I'd suggest making your wife's boxes out of 1/2" S2S Poplar from Owl Hardwood.  It's dirt cheap (less than you'll pay per board foot for the S6S reject boards at a big box store) and it'll machine nicely.  Any decent hardwood lumber dealer will have a small mountain of Poplar in stock at all times just because everyone uses it for everything.  For a big run of shoe boxes, I'd jig up to cut finger joints using the table saw.

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There's a subforum for Canadians (as there is for other geographic regions!)  Post some information on where you're from in there and you might find others close by who could give better recommendations.  Boo Oilers :)

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