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Best hardwood for casement windows.

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RichD1

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I know that this has been covered in the past but doing all the reading and Google searches I am now totally at a loss as to what to chose!

I started out planning for Sapele and then the wood stockist suggest Idigbo as a cheaper alternative but just as good. Having read a bit about Idigbo there is the environmental issue and one blogger said it was quite brittle in shear and can cause tear outs when routing across the grain.

Others suggest that Sapele is not as stable as I thought it would be and as I live by the south coast this could be an issue. Is this movement being blown out of proportion? The windows would be paint finished.

Is there any other wood I should consider.

BTW, would love to use Accoya but it’s out of my league.

All advice gratefully received.

Richard
 

MikeG.

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You might consider douglas fir. Durable, easily worked, and not expensive. Takes a good finish, too.
 

Trevanion

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RichD1":1urxqyry said:
I started out planning for Sapele and then the wood stockist suggest Idigbo as a cheaper alternative but just as good. Having read a bit about Idigbo there is the environmental issue and one blogger said it was quite brittle in shear and can cause tear outs when routing across the grain.
I'm surprised they suggested Idigbo as a cheaper alternative as from what I've been told it's been getting harder and harder to find decent supplies of it to the point where it may end up like Ramin and quietly disappear off the market completely. It is quite a nuisance to work though as described, and morticing it isn't a pleasant experience usually.

Sapele is a pretty good all-round timber and it's fairly stable compared to most other similar timbers, it will move with the seasons but that's timber for you.

Utile is similar in appearance to Sapele but is slightly more durable and stable but costs a little more.

Iroko may be another consideration, it's extraordinarily durable and doesn't move too much with the seasons but it's not the most stable timber in the world for twisting and such unless you're very picky with the timber selection that everything is dead straight grained.

I don't tend to disagree with Mike, but I do not recommend Douglas Fir for joinery. The slow-grown DF of old was a pretty good timber to use for joinery as there are still many examples of windows from over a hundred years ago made from it but the new-growth stuff is absolutely atrocious for movement from my own experience. I saw a job that had been done in DF not too long ago where there were loads of black paint spots on the paintwork, the DF inside had taken on mould or something before being painted and it had bled through the paint after a few months. Everyone's had their own experiences though and I imagine some would argue that it's the best timber going but from my personal experience I wouldn't use it myself.
 

Doug71

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You won't go far wrong with Sapele, everyone has their own methods but I always recommend aluminium primer on hardwood if it's going to be painted.

Accoya is sometimes not as expensive as you think, hardwoods normally come in random widths so you can end up with a lot of waste but Accoya you buy in the size you want so practically no waste.
 

merlin

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+ 1 with Trevanion and have always used Aluminium primer with no problem.

I've used Utile for external doors and frames and its good to work, morticing has to be taken easy with a machine.
 

kevinlightfoot

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I have used utile for a few jobs including some church doors,much easier to work than sapele and you don't get the same tear out problems.On the other hand have you considered unsorted redwood,not as expensive and if properly maintained will last a long time.
 

RichD1

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Thanks for all the advice guys, think I'll stick with Sapele.

Richard
 

Ollie78

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I use mostly Utile, it's fantastic and normally cheaper than Sapele or Iroko. Machines nicely.
You could try Accoya but your workshop smells like a chipshop afterwards. Comes off the moulder crisp but hates being hand planed.
As for the priming I used to use the aluminium stuff, but it's a pig to paint nicely with.
If hand priming try Tikkurilla Otex, it brilliant stuff, dries quick, de -nibs wonderfully.

Ollie
 

thetyreman

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if you used linseed oil paint on a door or window, I presume the aluminium primer is not needed?
 

RobinBHM

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When I was involved in joinery manufacture I did some trials of Idigbo, mostly because David Salisbury used it for orangery manufacture. However I found it had too many issues which meant its overall cost was not less than Sapele.

Idigbo has poor screwholding, it has a grain that doesn't machine well, so morticing is difficult. Also Idigbo has a real issue with bleed through on paint and any end grain cuts will weep out and stain brickwork.

I manufactured almost entirely with Iroko for almost 20 years -Iroko can be troublesome, boards can contain a lot of tension which can cause serious movement during rip cuts, the timber quality is variable and problems with wild and torn grain are common. However I can say that once the joinery is in service it is very stable. The timber is very durable, screws, machines and paints well -you just have to know how to cut and select the material to get the best out if it.

Sapele is ok, but it can suffer with interlocked grain and in my experience moves more than iroko in service.

for the last few years I swapped to engineered Siberian larch -which is the material Mumford and Wood use. Its the best timber for joinery, but sadly its not available from suppliers in the UK, I imported it directly from Germany (goodness knows how difficult thatll be in 2021).
 

thomashenry

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Does it need to be hardwood? Windows have been made from good quality pine for centuries.
 

RobinBHM

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Phil Pascoe":2gib8qs7 said:
Odd. My ex neighbour owned a joinery for years and ended his working life lecturing in joinery at the local college - he swore by idigbo. :D
are you sure he wasnt 'swearing at Idigbo'? :D
 

RobinBHM

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thomashenry":2g30uscs said:
Does it need to be hardwood? Windows have been made from good quality pine for centuries.
engineered softwood will make very good windows -and a can of Teknos 1410 water based preservative will help.

The problem is that water ingress at joints, beads or locations of water trapping will lead to rot. Modern joinery techniques can pretty much eliminate those issues but most small joinery firms dont apply best practice -unless they have the correct tooling.

The Victorian box sash windows that lasted 150 years used slow grown pine with a high resin content and were painted with lead based paint.
 

thomashenry

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RobinBHM":3nhdoh4i said:
thomashenry":3nhdoh4i said:
Does it need to be hardwood? Windows have been made from good quality pine for centuries.
engineered softwood will make very good windows -and a can of Teknos 1410 water based preservative will help.

The problem is that water ingress at joints, beads or locations of water trapping will lead to rot. Modern joinery techniques can pretty much eliminate those issues but most small joinery firms dont apply best practice -unless they have the correct tooling.

The Victorian box sash windows that lasted 150 years used slow grown pine with a high resin content and were painted with lead based paint.
Is it not possible to get such pine anymore?
 

RogerS

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thetyreman":3f0ox3iz said:
if you used linseed oil paint on a door or window, I presume the aluminium primer is not needed?
Correct. First coat is a slightly thinned coat of Linseed Oil with Raw Linseed OIl and Turpentine (roughly50:35:15 IIRC) spread thinly. It will dry well on bare wood. It's the subsequent coats that need careful painting !
 

LBCarpentry

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We make a lot of windows and have gradually worked our way through a lot of timber options and gradually cast each one aside due to various annoyances. Best stuff we used was either woodex laminated FJ softwood, woodex eucalyptus (hardwood) or Accoya. Everything else was simply rubbish or too difficult to work with. Sapele dust is a killer! And if you have more than one door to mortise then wave the day goodbye.

If I was making a couple windows for my house I would personally use woodex softwood and maintain it properly.
But If Doing it for a living you use accoya.
 

Darrenp

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We make a lot of windows and have gradually worked our way through a lot of timber options and gradually cast each one aside due to various annoyances. Best stuff we used was either woodex laminated FJ softwood, woodex eucalyptus (hardwood) or Accoya. Everything else was simply rubbish or too difficult to work with. Sapele dust is a killer! And if you have more than one door to mortise then wave the day goodbye.

If I was making a couple windows for my house I would personally use woodex softwood and maintain it properly.
But If Doing it for a living you use accoya.
Is Woodex softwood very expensive ???
 
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