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How To Buy Hardwoods

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custard

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thetyreman":54n62tix said:
hi custard, can this happen in pine as well and other woods? or is it just on oak?
You can get checking from poor kilning in any timber, but I've only ever heard about yellow stain with Oak. In the past few years I've heard of about a dozen cases, and they've all been Oak.
 

Mr T

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custard":2ayyly37 said:
It's disappointing that a lot of this seems to be accepted by customers, unless there's push back then yards will increase kilning speeds even more and the problem will just get worse. It's a fault, plain and simple, so if you receive any then return it.
Just out of interest Custard did you return the oak pictured. I find that surface checking along the medullary rays is more common than it used to be, this again is due to poor kilning. But I must admit I dont' send it back, not assertive enough!

Chris
 

El Barto

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What a great thread. Thanks Custard.

EDIT: In the original post you mention not using American Red Oak. Why is that?
 

MARK.B.

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Great post , very informative and well written . Curious about that Red oak as well Custard .
 

El Barto

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I have another question: you mentioned earlier that you think we'll see more sustainable woods being used in the future. That Sebastian Cox furniture uses Hazel, is there any reason not to use it? It grows in such abundance and also fairly straight, I've often wondered if it'd be suitable for spindles or chair legs. I could go up into the woods right now and come back with as many ready grown spindles as I could carry!
 

cowfoot

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The only problem with Hazel is its size, I would guess. It was traditionally used woven for baskets etc and that’s how Sebastian Cox is using it, really.
Edit - When it comes to homegrown timbers, I was absolutely blown away the first time I saw rippled Sycamore. A bloomin great weed has no business looking that fantastic!
 

El Barto

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cowfoot":2gdwej0o said:
The only problem with Hazel is its size, I would guess. It was traditionally used woven for baskets etc and that’s how Sebastian Cox is using it, really.
Edit - When it comes to homegrown timbers, I was absolutely blown away the first time I saw rippled Sycamore. A bloomin great weed has no business looking that fantastic!
I haven't used Sycamore before but it sounds like I should. I'd definitely be interested in the durability and strength of Hazel for projects where its size could be put to use.
 

doctor Bob

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What a great thread.
I buy about £4000-£5000 of hardwood per month. Gives me a bit of buying power.
Labour is my most expensive cost, so I don't send anyone to the yard, all done through verbal ordering with my rep.
I expect it all to be pretty good, if it isn't I have a moan and it's changed over fairly quickly, however it's swings and roundabouts if I can use poorer quality bits in hidden areas I will, but I'll still tell the rep that in future I expect better.

I've really struggled with thicker oak recently through poor drying, 3" and above, lots of shakes.
I always order the best quality timber when possible, the extra cost always seems worth it in the long run. I won't skimp on thickness as well, i'd rather take more off and get clean straight faces than mess around tickling a couple of mil of each side.
 

AES

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A superb post Custard, very well written and illustrated. A pleasure to read and so clear for people without any knowledge or training in the field (like me). And the add on comments are a great help too, thanks all.

When one stops to think about it, how many other professionals would take the time and effort to pass on their hard-earned knowledge and experience as you have? Posts like yours add great value to this Forum, well worth "stickyness".

Thank you for taking the time, AND the fact that you like few others here, are tempting me to have a go at something "proper".

AES
 

Tealeaf

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For some reason I did not have permission to Like this thread, but have some applause from me! =D>

Brilliant info and introduced me to a more or less reasonably local supplier, which I did not know existed but will now get a visit from me.

Thank you!
 

ruletheworld

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I found it is always cheaper to get hardwoods if you are buying leftovers just need to a bit more creative to make nice together, of course if you have time for that!
 

tushi

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Well Hardwoods are available at a variety of dealers but remember they will cost in the region of £60 per cubic foot and extra if you want it planing to size
So for rough cut timber thats £60 plus vat generally for a board 1 inch thick 12 inches wide and 12 foot long which sounds a lot of wood but isnt when planed up....
 

Nikolaj33

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Hi, I am also new to wood working. I stumbled across this thread which was quite good. I wonder if there has been a thread with recomened timber dealers as suggested in this thread?

I am looking for a timber yard in Watford, north-west London where I could get some beech, oak, etc. So far I haven't been so lucky to find anything other than construction timber. One local place did have some mahogany but that's about it. Any suggestions would be great.

Or are there any good online sellers, on eBay maybe that people can recommend?

Thanks.
 

memzey

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Try Chiltern Timber in Hemel Hempstead. They have a fairly wide selection of hardwoods and can offer planed or sawn in most. There is a firm nearer to you called Watford Timber but I’ve never used them so can’t comment.
 

AES

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Not being in UK I don't know about UK timber sellers. But there are a couple of helpful "pointers" permanently available on this Forum.

Starting out on the start page (the one with a list of all the various sections down the LH side), above all that there's a list of headings such as "Reviews", "Misc", and "Local", + a couple of others which I've forgotten. From each there's a drop down menu and from the "Local" tab there's lists of apparently well-known timber merchants sorted by UK region. (There are also other useful things to be found under the other headings including a timber price calculator, and a long list of links which are likely to be interesting to members here).

HTH
 

yetloh

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Only just spotted this great thread as I don't tend to visit as often these days, but I'll add my thoughts in case some may find them helpful.

English Woodlands

I have the great good fortune to live only five or six miles from their yard and it is always my first, and usually last, port of call. It has changed quite a bit in the last couple of years or so and there are pluses and minuses to this. On the plus side a new broom has made the place much more efficient, user friendly and well organised. The new man has I believe injected money and this plus increased efficiency has enabled them to make significant investment in the site both in terms of buildings and equipment. The stock is now much more comprehensively sorted with exceptionally wide or fine boards and those displaying ripple in separate racks. The downside is that the exceptional boards are priced accordingly, so the chances of sorting through the stock and finding one or two great boards at a standard price are very small. If you value your time and believe top quality is worth the price, then that’s fine but some of the exceptional stuff can be very expensive indeed because London is only 50 miles away and professionals working at the very top of the market there can pay these prices and still make money. Even so, they do their own drying and do it well and you can still get excellent timber at a sensible price.

Oak

I love quarter sawn oak, including the medullary rays in all their variety but, if you making something for domestic use and have a female partner, make sure she shares your enthusiasm for them because I have heard of women disliking them on the grounds that they remind them of stretch marks and don’t want them on their furniture!

Sycamore

It baffles me that sycamore is so little used, it is one of my favourite timbers. Yes, it does need careful drying to avoid the dreaded grey stain, but I have bought it from both English Woodlands and W. L. West and never had a duff board. I am sure there must be plenty of other woodyards around the country who are doing a good job with it. It’s a little softer than American hard maple (a fairly close relative) but just as attractive and can often be had with stunning ripple. The biggest bonus is that it doesn’t have to come from the other side of the world. What’s not to like?

Hornbeam

Hornbeam is very pale and a bit bland but is very hard and dense and would make a great bench worktop. I have bought it planked from the National Trust’s estate office at Hatfield Forest in Hertfordshire. It’s not kilned but that’s not a problem if you are patient and are able to air dry it. They also have oak, ash and field maple which has very similar character to American hard maple.

Cherry

I have used American cherry quite a bit and agree that it is very reliable but, for my taste, it's aged rather orange tone is is far less attractive than the paler English cherry. It can be found but isn't really a commercially grown timber.

Other sources

Thereis no doubt that there is some fine timber felled in fields and gardens. The difficulty is getting it out. Furniture maker, Brendan Devitt Spooner, has a tree surgeon and forrester son and harvests a wide variety timbers in this way which he has sawn and then air dries from which he makes some very fine furniture - I recently saw a gorgeous table of his made from holm oak. Shame he doesn't sell his timber, but his yard is a mouth watering prospect for timber lovers!

Jim
 
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