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Choosing wood?

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Digizz

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I had a look around my local Timbmet (Importer and distributor of wood) yesterday - HUGE place full of all kinds of soft and hardwoods. The guys there were really helpful as they passed me from shed to shed to look at a number of timbers.

I was looking for a light timber such as Maple / Beech (their Maple wasn't too good in thicker stocks though).

The question I have for you guys is - how do you choose a timber for a particular look/finish if you've never used it before? Are there any pictures/samples online/in a catalogue etc that you can use to get a good idea of what a particular wood will look like and how it finishes using different products? Or is it all experience and trial and error?

It was pretty difficult to guage what each of the timbers might look like, especially as they were rough sawn and dusty/dirty.

Any thoughts?
 

PitBull

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Digizz,

You can't really go on photos on webites or in magazines or books as you don't generally know how finely they've been sanded, whether it's heartwood or not, and whether a light finish has been appliced or not.

Best solution is to go to a timber merchants, buy a small roughcut of as many woods as they've got, and then plane/sand them all down to the same dimensions and grit (sort of like a very hard set of carpet samples) - then you've got a permanent reference (although some will change colour over time.
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Digizz,

It can be worth keeping a small block plane with you and taking a couple of discrete shavings off a board to expose the colour and grain patterns.
Licking your finger and wetting the exposed area will then give a rough indication of finish.
Depends on your timber yard though, so either check it's OK, or do it discretely. Being refused entry to a club for having 'casual' shoes is one thing, but chucked out of a timber yard? Unheard of! :shock:

cheers,

Andy
 

Alf

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Art Veneers do a sample pack of wood types which someone gave me; not a bad reference for various woods. I've still got them somewhere... :?

Cheers, Alf
 
A

Anonymous

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Thanks Roy, great site

Digizz, I boughta cheap book that has excellent pictures of all hardwoods and softwoods one is likely to meet - it has info about the tree and the typical use of these woods + movement and exterior/interior use.

I will post name soon as I get to garage and see what it's called
 

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