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Novice guide : What wood?

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Bodone

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Hello all,

Background below, but basically is there a guide as to what wood should be used for what projects?

I’m probably your classic midlife Novice. Apprentice mechanical engineer, through the ranks up to senior engineer in auto and aero. Not industries currently known for their use of wood, historically maybe.

Home projects wise, I’m comfortable with most diy (despise plumbing) and have bodged/built sheds and kids play areas/benches etc from timber. The ‘boss’ has given over some of her veg garden so will look to put in mini workshop later this year, hopefully 16x8 pre built shed type thing.

I know very little of woodwork, just basics supported by general engineering stuff, measure three times, keep it clean, safety first, buy good, buy once, plagiarism is good and ask, ask, ask etc.

Projects will probably follow the classic route, horses, workbench, picture frames, storage, cupboard, kids beds, odds and sods between. Nothing to finesse at this stage, maybe in a couple of years.

My training/OCD is needing to follow instructions and most guides I see just say ‘buy Wood’, I need a guide or advice as to what wood. I’m also big on learning through mistakes, so I generally do one ‘prototype’ and make my mistakes/trials on that one before going for the finished article.

Anyway, apologies for rambling, looking forward to any guidance offered. Oh and if anyone can recommend a guide supplier around J1 m18, Rotherham/Doncaster way, that would be appreciated.

Thanks all.
 

MikeG.

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Bodone":1afvkhf6 said:
.......The ‘boss’ has given over some of her veg garden so will look to put in mini workshop later this year, hopefully 16x8 pre built shed type thing........
Even if you go down the pre-built route, please put it on a plinth, and put the cladding on battens to separate it from the frame. Have a look at the threads in my signature.

As to "what wood"........pine. Pine, pine, pine, until your skills are good enough to be risking much more expensive hardwoods. All of the projects you mention are fine in pine. PAR from a decent timber merchant or builders merchant.
 

sunnybob

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welcome. I was like that 5 years ago.
I've learnt a lot, from here and other forums.
And remember one thing that separates wood from metal.
Wood MOVES :shock: :shock:
Wet measurement is different to dry measurement. hot is different to cold. A LOT different :roll: Wood will bend after its cut, and even after its assembled sometimes. So you need to relax. its a hobby, no one dies if its not 1/1000" perfect. (hammer) =D> =D> =D> =D>

If youre going to make something out of lots of pieces, measure and cut all the pieces on the same day, or they wont line up later.

If you do screw up, at least you have the smaller pieces to make something else out of, and if they are too small, then you have firewood kindling.
8)
 

thomashenry

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Poplar I think is the easiest wood to work with. Not sure how it compares price wise to pine.
 

Doug71

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If you go for softwood make sure it's pine/redwood that you get and not spruce/whitewood, they can look similar, some people don't know the difference, I'm sure any decent timber merchant will sort you out.
 

Bodone

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Pine and poplar, a good start, thank you.

Yes, started lots of projects and then had to 'resize' ambitions due to eagerness.

Have been stalking the shed/workshop builds threads, very informative. I've always used the hardcore and then plastic lock grids with membrane. I'd like to use concrete poured, but we've drainage pipes quite close so may raise level and use hardcore grids again.

I'll likely buy a pre-built shed/summer house and insulate/board it out. Size more than anything means it's not something i want to experiment on.
 

Deadeye

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Poplar is also called tulipwood. It's more expensive than pine but very easy to work and takes paint extremely well.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Avoid CLS unless you are absolutely sure the rounded corners will make no difference. Many people have tried basic joinery with it then found they've given themselves a whole load of work and a second rate job just to save five or ten quid.
Be aware also that planed and sawn stuff of nominally the same dimensions aren't actually the same size - you can't easily mix the two in the same job.
Buy your wood from a timber or builder's merchant, unless desperate don't touch the sheds.
 

MikeG.

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Bodone":3brjsi95 said:
......I'll likely buy a pre-built shed/summer house and insulate/board it out......
There are huge issues doing this. Almost all bought sheds have their cladding fixed directly to the outside of the frame, and this is absolutely to be avoided if you want a building to last more than 5 or 10 years in good order. The frame should be wrapped in a breather membrane, then battens fixed to the outside to create an airspace behind the cladding, and then the cladding fixed to that. It is impossible to retro-fit a pre-built shed to that standard.

If you want to avoid concrete then the plastic grid and gravel approach is a reasonable sub-base, but you absolutely must put a plinth on top before erecting the building. Look at the second thread (shed without concrete) in my signature.
 

Bodone

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MikeG.":11rtlyrl said:
Bodone":11rtlyrl said:
......I'll likely buy a pre-built shed/summer house and insulate/board it out......
There are huge issues doing this. Almost all bought sheds have their cladding fixed directly to the outside of the frame, and this is absolutely to be avoided if you want a building to last more than 5 or 10 years in good order. The frame should be wrapped in a breather membrane, then battens fixed to the outside to create an airspace behind the cladding, and then the cladding fixed to that. It is impossible to retro-fit a pre-built shed to that standard.

If you want to avoid concrete then the plastic grid and gravel approach is a reasonable sub-base, but you absolutely must put a plinth on top before erecting the building. Look at the second thread (shed without concrete) in my signature.
That's interesting. I was thinking of putting the membrane on the inside frame, then battens, insulation and inner wall, with exterior vents fitted to the original outside wood skin. Looks like a rethink required. I'll go through your thread in detail.

I was looking at concrete plinths, just need to look at load distribution in relation to drains.

Thanks again for the guidance.
 

MikeG.

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Bodone":39mm2fh3 said:
........I was looking at concrete plinths, just need to look at load distribution in relation to drains....
A timber framed building with sole plates is treated as a uniformly distributed load, so your drains should be fine so long as you don't obstruct access.
 

ED65

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Bodone":3m1lw14w said:
...measure three times...
I'm glad you said that as I was seriously going to suggest measuring more than the usual aphorism suggests is enough. I can't tell you the number of times a third "just to be on the safe side" check has helped me find a mistake I didn't catch the second time. Going slow tends to help with this IME, with the obvious opposite problem.

Bodone":3m1lw14w said:
...buy good, buy once...
Yes, but do not equate this with "buy cheap, buy twice". There are now plenty of inexpensive tools that are worth buying, and this is in relation to buying new. There's also the secondhand tool market, a superb resource in most parts of the UK that is well worth taking advantage of for certain types of tools. Car boots and various peer-to-peer options online allow for getting good bits of kit at great, sometimes bargain, prices with the opportunity to examine things before you part with your money (so you're not just going by photos, which even if plentiful and clear may hide issues).

Bodone":3m1lw14w said:
I’m also big on learning through mistakes, so I generally do one ‘prototype’ and make my mistakes/trials on that one before going for the finished article.
Great idea and you'll gain some v. useful additional experience building a prototype when feasible, but, don't expect that to guarantee a perfect outcome each time. Putting aside the ever-present risk of a CFIT wood can sometimes be a contrary, and even infuriating material to work with. Chips and flakes where (show surfaces) and when (you've already dimensioned the wood) you least want them, soft enough to be dented by even a small bash or a dropped tool, the potential for movement already mentioned, missed glue spots come finishing time, these and other issues must be borne in stride.

Sometimes you can adjust methodology to minimise or eliminate the chance of a mistake, but you will still need to fix things sometimes. It's common enough that learning to hide your mistakes is often said to be one of the chief skills to pick up!

Pine – which you should understand to mean pine or another similar softwood, not actual pine exclusively – has already been mentioned as the ideal wood to start with and this has been the default recommendation for generations, literally going back to the 19th c. But I would argue that if affordable hardwoods (especially softer/'milder' species, poplar being the default for many of our American cousins) are available to you locally you should make the transition sooner rather than later.

And there are things on your projects list that I would suggest right away trying something other than pine would be beneficial: the picture frames, the cabinets and some storage items. The first will immediately reward working in hardwood, the others a board material of some kind.
 

Pete Maddex

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The free wood that sticks out of skips or can be found in broken furniture etc is good, just keep an eye out, its amazing what you can find.

Pete
 

Jacob

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ED65":292xd0lt said:
...... But I would argue that if affordable hardwoods (especially softer/'milder' species, poplar being the default for many of our American cousins) are available to you locally you should make the transition sooner rather than later.
You could spend your whole life making nice stuff from pine alone, if you wanted to, including picture frames and furniture. Nothing wrong with it at all. Ignore the prejudice!
There's a half baked romanticism about oak ('hearts of oak' and similar bol*ox) and yes mahogany etc is pretty but there are lots of attractive varieties of softwood.
PS I've just been chopping up an old wardrobe - seems to be mostly poplar (greenish tinge) and horse chestnut (very plain softish hardwood). Both widely used for cheap furniture and not particularly attractive - hence heavily concealed with stains and varnish.
 
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