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Planing hardwoods

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Which of the more common types of hardwood (that are reasonably priced) would you say can be planed rather easily?

I have only ever worked with Pine and American white Oak. I find Pine easy to work with, but I don't really like how it looks, and I find Oak very difficult to work with, but I love how it looks.

I'm sure it's down to technique and sharpness (something I am working on), but I am wondering if there is something between the two (Pine and Oak) that I might find more manageble?
 

MikeG.

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It's hard to find anything easier to work with than walnut. I've not worked with cherry, but have heard it is fairly easy, too.
 

Yojevol

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Ash is nice to work with if you can find some with good straight grain. Light coloured like pine, ring porous grain like oak.
Brian
 

sunnybob

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Cherry is very smooth, as is Maple.
But cherry darkens a LOT! Beware if you are after a light cherry finish.
I am often amazed how people say maple is a hard wood. What I get here is not that hard, and the shavings tend to be almost fluffy.
Walnut gives a very nice finish but is a bit brittle and tends to crumble on edges and around knots.
Bubinga is very hard, but can be brought up to a fantastic shine and is very stable.
The same for Padauk.
Beech is the easiest wood to work that I have.
I seem to be working through the woods backwards, starting with all the extreme stuff, and eventually I suppose ending up with oak (although i think oak is a boring looking wood and will not bother untill I cant get any more bubinga.) 8) 8)
 

That would work

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Teak, coming from a yacht joinery background, its lovely. But unfortunately and rightly frowned upon now.
 

sammy.se

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That would work":l5qzfdso said:
Teak, coming from a yacht joinery background, its lovely. But unfortunately and rightly frowned upon now.
Why is it frowned upon now?

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 

sunnybob

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Rapidly decreasing stock worldwide.
I have one large plank of teak, I dont expect to be able to get any more which is why I didnt mention it. beautiful wood to work with, rich creamy brown colour.
 

That would work

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Back in the day, we used to buy teak as a "tree" (already converted into 2" boards)... imagine!
 

sunnybob

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I doubt if you have enough in your bank account to do that any more :shock: :shock:
Before fibreglass came along, every yacht in the world was made of teak. and even now teak interior is a rich mans option.
 

Trevanion

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If it was just the boat building industry using Teak stocks it would be very stable, you go out to the India/Myanmar border pretty much everything is built with teak including solid internal doors cheaper than you could buy hollow cores in this country.

Plus the fact they’re just burning down teak forests to clear land instead of cutting them down and using the timber.

I’ve been reading “Elephant Bill” which focuses on the teak trade back in the 1930s and 40s. Very interesting insight into how it used to be done and the connection between a man (Oozies in Burma) and his elephant. Did you know they dragged the trees to places that flooded in the monsoon season so that’d they would eventually float themselves to the sawmills locates down stream instead of painstakingly taking them through the jungle? Very interesting book so far.

Edit: Removed Pesky Americanism.
 

profchris

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I usually find oak easy to plane, so long as I take fairly fine shavings and resharpen regularly. Thick shavings are hard work though.

Avoid anything with interlocking grain, like most African mahoganoids (sapele, utile, etc), which are always a challenge to plane. But if you find an old mahogany wardrobe to recycle, that can be very easy.
 

Just4Fun

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Heading off on the teak tangent, how expensive is it? I have seen some finished teak planks, 25cm x 5cm, 3m long, advertised at 320 euro each. Is that a good buy?

Coming back to the original question, if you like oak I think the answer is to get better at working with it rather than finding an alternative. I only have a little experience with oak but have not found it to be particularly tricky to work so it is worth persevering.
 
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Cheers for the replies, I think I will take a drive down to Essex hardwood offcuts (I'm in Bury St Edmunds) and pick up some of the species mentioned.
 

sunnybob

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Trevanion":81o5j2nk said:
If it was just the boat building industry using Teak stocks it would be very stable, you go out to the India/Myanmar border pretty much everything is built with teak including solid internal doors cheaper than you could buy hollow cores in this country.

Plus the fact they’re just burning down teak forests to clear land instead of cutting them down and using the timber.

I’ve been reading “Elephant Bill” which focuses on the teak trade back in the 1930s and 40s. Very interesting insight into how it used to be done and the connection between a man (Oozies in Burma) and his elephant. Did you know they drug the trees to places that flooded in the monsoon season so that’d they would eventually float themselves to the sawmills locates down stream instead of painstakingly taking them through the jungle? Very interesting book so far.
MikeG!!! Americanism alert!!!!

Oh how I hate americanisms =D> =D> =D>
 

MikeG.

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sunnybob":3095ebo3 said:
Trevanion":3095ebo3 said:
......... Did you know they drug the trees.......
MikeG!!! Americanism alert!!!!

Oh how I hate americanisms =D> =D> =D>
Hmmm. Thinks........stocks or flogging?

We've been too lenient around here. Away with him to the flogging tree, and don't spare the cat o' nine tails.
 

custard

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If you're finding Oak difficult to plane then the solution is not to look for alternative timbers, the solution is to examine your planing technique.

Sure, there's the occasional Oak board with wayward grain or that's been badly dried that can cause minor difficulties, but the vast majority of Oak is straightforward to work with sharp hand tools, if you're consistently struggling then the problem is almost certainly with your technique rather than the timber.
 

Hornbeam

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I think you need to be more specific with what you mean by "difficult"
In general, as species get harder then the requirements for correct plane set up, a sharp blade and technique become more critical.
If your problem is more to do with varied grain/interlocked grain then some timbers are more likely to exhibit this, which may require slight variations in plane set up
For most european and north american timbers with straightish grain, provided you have a sharp well set up plane and are planing with the grain you should be OK
Ian
 

Pete Maddex

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Silver birch burr was the trickiest timber I have plained a chip breaker set a hair away from the edge sorted it, it's not tough timber it's very soft.
I am with custard oak shouldn't be a problem, unless it's oak worktop then toothing plane and card scraper.

Pete
 

Trevanion

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MikeG.":3uogyoy5 said:
sunnybob":3uogyoy5 said:
Trevanion":3uogyoy5 said:
......... Did you know they drug the trees.......
*/-*-/7
MikeG!!! Americanism alert!!!!

Oh how I hate americanisms =D> =D> =D>
Hmmm. Thinks........stocks or flogging?

We've been too lenient around here. Away with him to the flogging tree, and don't spare the cat o' nine tails.
Cmon guys... Surely for a first-time offence it should be a nice, polite warning with absolutely no flogging, nail pulling or back burning?

 

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