Any English speaking Italian woodworkers out there?


Wcndave

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I live in the very north where the mother tongue is German, and have difficulties finding much. Not much fine furniture here, mostly practical stuff. For example in my local shops, and big DIY stores they have varnish, oil, wax. If you ask for a type of oil you just get, "here is oil" and a big 10 litre can marked "oil". There are no types within, whereas in uk i could get at least 30 types of oil easily.

Asking for "pre-catalysed lacquer"? Forget it, the answer is "here is oil". So any help from native fine furntire woodworkers appreciated!

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Will an Italian speaking Englishman, living in Italy, and woodworking hobbyist do?

I live in the very north where the mother tongue is German, and have difficulties finding much. Not much fine furniture here, mostly practical stuff. For example in my local shops, and big DIY stores they have varnish, oil, wax. If you ask for a type of oil you just get, "here is oil" and a big 10 litre can marked "oil". There are no types within, whereas in uk i could get at least 30 types of oil easily.

Asking for "pre-catalysed lacquer"? Forget it, the answer is "here is oil". So any help from native fine furntire woodworkers appreciated!

Bolzano/Bolzen? For finishing products forget big box DIY stores, and try the colorificio (Paint shop) instead. Some, but not all, have various oils, shellacs, etc. The fun part is knowing what to ask for, in Italian :wacko: or German...

John

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Will an Italian speaking Englishman, living in Italy, and woodworking hobbyist do?

Perfectly!

I am quite near Bozen, yes, but up in the mountains. 2 hours from Verona.

I have a local paint shop, however they have oil and water paint, water varnish, some sandpaper, thats it!

No stains, dyes, nice oils, polyeurethene, was a bit disappointing.

So let me ask you two other things if i may.

Equipment, where do you get it? I have a store here that will order me stuff, and is basically a shop in he basement of a house. Big box stores have cheap rubbish. So i have no way to look / touch before i buy.

Second, wood. I find hardwoods almost impossible to get, and extremely expensive. Even boards are rather dear, i got a 4x8 "dreisheichtplatten" (low grade 3 layer plywood), about 19mm thick and was over 100 euros!

I looked into making 3 kitchen units with hardwood doors, and laminated plywood carcases, and it came to about 2k in wood alone!! For about 2m of base cabinets, and that was without the top. So where do you get wood.

Also, whilst i remember, how do you cope with the 3kw limit that all standard houses have here? If i have the TS on, and the wife switches on the kettle, the power goes, and that can often spoil wood, or be dangerous... Seems a bit mad after being used to 16kw odd in uk, i mean 3 is as much as a washing machine and microwave alone!

Out of interest how long you been here and what type woodwork do you do?

Cheers

Dave

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I'll try to do my best...

I have a local paint shop, however they have oil and water paint, water varnish, some sandpaper, thats it!

No stains, dyes, nice oils, polyeurethene, was a bit disappointing.

I think you'll have to go to Bolzano to find a decent colorificio. I asked a local restorer here who set me in the right direction. However, some things can only be found on the internet, unless you live near a big city like Milan or Rome.

Equipment, where do you get it? I have a store here that will order me stuff, and is basically a shop in he basement of a house. Big box stores have cheap rubbish. So i have no way to look / touch before i buy.

Ah, yes, well, uhm. I don't actually use power stuff, and I've been collecting via ebay (UK) as well as a few German sites. Sight unseen usually, of course. There is nothing here in Verona, but there are places in Padua and Milan, though I haven't visited them myself.

Second, wood. I find hardwoods almost impossible to get, and extremely expensive. Even boards are rather dear, i got a 4x8 "dreisheichtplatten" (low grade 3 layer plywood), about 19mm thick and was over 100 euros!

I paid €35 for 1500 x 1500 x 12mm seven ply baltic birch here, so I think you were, uhm, overcharged? That was in Bolzano? Here in Verona, one place asked €120 for listellato nobilitato - 19mm poplar with veneer faces - which I interpreted as "go away you're wasting my time".

I looked into making 3 kitchen units with hardwood doors, and laminated plywood carcases, and it came to about 2k in wood alone!! For about 2m of base cabinets, and that was without the top. So where do you get wood.

Here I have a few choices. The big boxes - expensive and limited in choice, local falegnamerie who either have offcuts, or will add my order to theirs - for a fee, or the legnamerie, but while the wood is cheaper, you have to be prepared to spend quite a lot, at least €300, and not all sell to the general public.

Also, whilst i remember, how do you cope with the 3kw limit that all standard houses have here? If i have the TS on, and the wife switches on the kettle, the power goes, and that can often spoil wood, or be dangerous... Seems a bit mad after being used to 16kw odd in uk, i mean 3 is as much as a washing machine and microwave alone!

Again, I don't use power tools at all, but you can ask your electricity supplier to change your contract, most are 3 kW, but you can get 4.5 kW and 6 kW supplies - costs more though.

Out of interest how long you been here and what type woodwork do you do?

Cheers

Dave

A little over 25 years, though my interest in 'serious' woodworking is only about a year old. Mostly DIY, but started again with the micro sleds. For various reasons I am limited to research right now, but hope to pull something (small) out of the cylinder for Christmas.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but you might be interested in Arca di Legno, one of the Italian forums, where there are quite a few members in the Trento area, who can probably give you a better answer - you can ask in English, though you'll mostly get Italian replies.

May I ask the same of you? How long, and what type?

John

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Thanks John, sounds like the prices are not that far off, so it's just very very expensive here. South London Hardwoods seems nice and cheap now ;-)

The power, I can upgrade, however it seems mad that it costs more "per kilowatt". So a 3kw circuit that is maxed out all year pays 30% less than a 6kw circuit running 50% all year, even though they both consume the same amount of power, still can't get my head around that one... and energy prices likely to increase with these austerity measures.

I have been here 2 years (living) as my wife is from here, and we live at about 1,300m in the mountains. I have put some pictures of my shop, which is in an old wine cellar, and some projects in the gallery.

I started as DIYer, then someone introduced me to a place that sold shop machines like we had in school, and i realised I could get them for myself. was working out of a 4' x 8' shed at the time... so had to micromanage all the tools. i still had table saw, pillar drill, router table, planer and bandsaw...

I was mainly making small toys (see gallery) and they were painstaking, as the pieces were so small, and the cuts had to be so exact, that i made lots of jigs to get tiny bits of wood through the table saw.

then i moved here, and cleared out a relatives wine cellar, that had been untouched for about 10 years, and made it my home. It has no straight walls, so lack of storage, however it's cool in summer, which is important.

having more space, i moved on to furniture, and made my first drawers, frame and panel door, and my last one, the sewing box, that is made with 20 sets of box joints from Cherry and Walnut, with Ash bottoms, which i am very proud of, and gave to my wife as a wedding present this year...

I don't think i could go back to my tiny shed now, and compete with a lawn mower!

I've been doing the woodwork now for 4 years.

ciao!

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Thanks John, sounds like the prices are not that far off, so it's just very very expensive here. South London Hardwoods seems nice and cheap now ;-)

Well, it depends. Listellato nobilitato (three ply) is expensive, but 5 ply poplar would be about €40 for the same size, according to this thread. I've seen betullo (Birch) and faggio (Beech) ply, but nothing else, such as the Oak and Maple ply you can get in the states. They probably exist - lot of furniture manufacturers in Italy - but not for 1 or 2 sheet quantities.

Hardwoods are priced per cubic metre (as in the UK?) but since there are 424 bf in a cubic m I use the American prices to try to get some idea - say €700 to €2500 or more per cubic metre depending on the species, but here in Verona prices can vary by 30% from vendor to vendor (all three of them).

Since I'm not up to your level of work, I'm behind on the buying curve. So I'll probably start with the cheaper end until I start to understand "how thing workTM" - which isn't always obvious here in Italy.

The power, I can upgrade, however it seems mad that it costs more "per kilowatt". So a 3kw circuit that is maxed out all year pays 30% less than a 6kw circuit running 50% all year, even though they both consume the same amount of power, still can't get my head around that one... and energy prices likely to increase with these austerity measures.

Now you know why everyone has 3 kW contracts :rolleyes: . So it'll have to be one or the other, cutting wood or washing clothes.

I have been here 2 years (living) as my wife is from here, and we live at about 1,300m in the mountains. I have put some pictures of my shop, which is in an old wine cellar, and some projects in the gallery.

Shouldn't get too hot in the summer :rolleyes: - so where do you keep all that Teroldego Rotaliano and Müller-Thurgau now? You seem to have a pretty well equiped shop there. Changed all the plugs by now?

I started as DIYer, then someone introduced me to a place that sold shop machines like we had in school, and i realised I could get them for myself. was working out of a 4' x 8' shed at the time... so had to micromanage all the tools. i still had table saw, pillar drill, router table, planer and bandsaw...

I was mainly making small toys (see gallery) and they were painstaking, as the pieces were so small, and the cuts had to be so exact, that i made lots of jigs to get tiny bits of wood through the table saw.

then i moved here, and cleared out a relatives wine cellar, that had been untouched for about 10 years, and made it my home. It has no straight walls, so lack of storage, however it's cool in summer, which is important.

having more space, i moved on to furniture, and made my first drawers, frame and panel door, and my last one, the sewing box, that is made with 20 sets of box joints from Cherry and Walnut, with Ash bottoms, which i am very proud of, and gave to my wife as a wedding present this year...

Interesting stuff - I assume that you're talking about UK wood. The sewing box looks quite a challenge. Precision work, not yet in my vocabulary.

I don't think i could go back to my tiny shed now, and compete with a lawn mower!

I've been doing the woodwork now for 4 years.

ciao!

Shedless but cellarful, eh? You'll be needing a snow plough there, not a lawn mower...

Buon divertimento!

John

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I installed european and uk strips at 7 points around shop, as moulded plugs etc, and also plugs here do not have fuses.

Also you get too may types here! Three in a row vs two and earth at 90 deg, then thick and thin pins, and then finely spaced vs widely spaced, then for "in a row" type, you have two pins versus three, gives you 16 combinations of plugs... I have some locally bought things in my house where i needed 3 adaptors to get into the wall socket!

The wood i actually got here, i do know some carpenters, and got about 2 cubic m of off cuts from one, which was enough to make the moster truck, the long bed truck, the sewing box, and still not make a dent. As he made professional furniture, the offcuts could be quite large.

They get their equipment and stock from professional places, so they can't help a lot with that, and i know no one in the village who does it for a hobby. Seems that "work" is not a viable hobby here. Skiing is!

And yes, i need a snow plough AND a lawnmower now...

The wine i found a safe place for called my mouth ;-)

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