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Sourcing hardwood offcuts for joinery practise

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maznaz

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Hi there! I made the mistake of showing friends and family a pine box I knocked together with a table saw and router, and I now have two projects to complete in the next few months to provide nice boxes for special occasions. I'm adamant that these are to be hand made, so I need to learn to cut dovetails pretty quickly.

Does anybody have a recommendation of how I can get some offcuts for practising before I start to work through my project wood? I've found a few places that have "hobby packs" that seem to be what I'm after, but they seem to be as expensive as buying a board and breaking it down myself.

My problem is that I buy a piece of wood that I want to work with, then I like it too much and I won't risk wasting any of it practising. I need to be able to buy hardwood scraps that I won't immediately fall in love with.

Any suggestions? Oh, and of course the locations need to be able to deliver! Thanks.
 

AndyT

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Skips! There must be some around as building work picks up again.
Or old furniture people have put outside, hoping someone will take it away while charity shops are closed.
 

maznaz

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Thanks, I'll have a look. Do people mind other people rooting around in their skips or is it generally not minded? I've never seen anybody do it!
 

adrspach

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Most of my hard wood apart from pallets comes from scavenging wood which people throwing away such as old /broken furniture or off cuts. Last week got a piece of mahogany 400 wide and nearly 1000 long 1" thick.
From my experience if you just knock on the door , politely ask and don't leave mess people are ok with you going to their skips or piles of rubbish in front gardens. This is the important part as mostly I fish for it in my neighbourhood and some people already remember me and when they see me they let me know. Just yesterday I was redoing my saw sharpening vise with some leftover oak skirting boards and sewing machine risers for my daughter from oak spindles which were given to me by one of my neighbours.
 

AndyT

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^^^This!
You're giving them some valuable extra space in the skip. I've never had anyone object.
 

sunnybob

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If you cant find scrap wood and have to buy, Beech is a very nice wood to work with, one of the cheapest of the hardwoods, and can be finished well, but is plain enough for you not to get emotional over it.

Boxes dont "need" to be dovetailed, unless they are going to be large and have a lot of weight put in them. my "skills" are among the lowest on this site, but have a look at my boxes, NONE of which have dovetails (there are a couple that have box joints, done on the router table)
https://pbase.com/john_cooper/bob_coope ... k_projects
 

owen

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sunnybob":2cig2p5k said:
If you cant find scrap wood and have to buy, Beech is a very nice wood to work with, one of the cheapest of the hardwoods, and can be finished well, but is plain enough for you not to get emotional over it.

Boxes dont "need" to be dovetailed, unless they are going to be large and have a lot of weight put in them. my "skills" are among the lowest on this site, but have a look at my boxes, NONE of which have dovetails (there are a couple that have box joints, done on the router table)
https://pbase.com/john_cooper/bob_coope ... k_projects
Don't put yourself down,you've got skills! Your stuff all looks really good!
 

Lonsdale73

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maznaz":3urux1c2 said:
Thanks, I'll have a look. Do people mind other people rooting around in their skips or is it generally not minded? I've never seen anybody do it!
There is a youtuber called 'rag'n'bone brown' who was always salvaging discarded furniture for his projects. Don't know if he still does, seems to have gone a bit more 'upmarket' these days, more 'rags-to-riches brown'!

I learnt recently that the husband of a lady I've known for a number is a keen turner and I asked him where best to source timber locally. Best I got was he knew someone who supplied him with all the hardwood 'offcuts' he needed for free. He didn't volunteer who or where!
 

sunnybob

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owen":xq0194gy said:
sunnybob":xq0194gy said:
If you cant find scrap wood and have to buy, Beech is a very nice wood to work with, one of the cheapest of the hardwoods, and can be finished well, but is plain enough for you not to get emotional over it.

Boxes dont "need" to be dovetailed, unless they are going to be large and have a lot of weight put in them. my "skills" are among the lowest on this site, but have a look at my boxes, NONE of which have dovetails (there are a couple that have box joints, done on the router table)
https://pbase.com/john_cooper/bob_coope ... k_projects
Don't put yourself down,you've got skills! Your stuff all looks really good!
Thank you. I dont consider myself to be "skilled" as in dovetails, or any other joints, or quality furniture, but I do seem to have a talent for making shapes. 8)
 

MikeG.

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owen":3p2oakf8 said:
sunnybob":3p2oakf8 said:
If you cant find scrap wood and have to buy, Beech is a very nice wood to work with, one of the cheapest of the hardwoods, and can be finished well, but is plain enough for you not to get emotional over it.

Boxes dont "need" to be dovetailed, unless they are going to be large and have a lot of weight put in them. my "skills" are among the lowest on this site, but have a look at my boxes, NONE of which have dovetails (there are a couple that have box joints, done on the router table)
https://pbase.com/john_cooper/bob_coope ... k_projects
Don't put yourself down,you've got skills! Your stuff all looks really good!
Indeed. Bob has skills I don't have. I don't willingly tackle fancy boxes, for a start.
 

sunnybob

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Just come back from the woodyard, bought a 3 metre plank of beech and a 2.5 metre plank of walnut.

american black walnut has certainly gone up.
Its now at 3300 euro a cubic metre.
Superior steamed beech is dirt cheap at 700 euro a cubic metre.
The VAT on the walnut was more than the cost of the beech plank :shock: :shock:
 

Droogs

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talking of sources of hardwood, my Mrs has just come back from walking the dog and asked what tree is this? I just past about 20 of these blue trees, all in bloom.

So she shows me a picture on her phone, turns out to be 20 x 30 - 40ft tall Brazilian Rosewood :)

I can't wait for a moonless night and the lockdown to be over :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
 

sploo

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Droogs":34hgwreu said:
talking of sources of hardwood, my Mrs has just come back from walking the dog and asked what tree is this? I just past about 20 of these blue trees, all in bloom.

So she shows me a picture on her phone, turns out to be 20 x 30 - 40ft tall Brazilian Rosewood :)

I can't wait for a moonless night and the lockdown to be over :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
Effin heck Droogs. Do you want some help? Remember - a crime shared is a crime, errr. Um. Anyway...
 

maznaz

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Thanks everybody. I've been a bit busy with DIY but I'll be patrolling the affluent postcodes around here over the weekend looking for skips. Sunnybob, I take your point about not needing dovetails, and I really like the look of some of your boxes. For at least one of the ones I have in mind though I do want some visible joinery, and it's a toy chest that will be often pulled out by a handle from the front so I thought dovetails would be a good joint for that kind of directional force. Cheers all!
 

sunnybob

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Good luck with them. I tried in 1962, havent bothered since :roll: :roll: (hammer)
I am trying to find time to make a box with lock mitre joints. I have the cutter, just need 'er indoors to stop adding to the "honeydo" list. I havent made a box since december, so is going to have to happen soon.
 

Trainee neophyte

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sunnybob":38s3yvq1 said:
Just come back from the woodyard, bought a 3 metre plank of beech and a 2.5 metre plank of walnut.

american black walnut has certainly gone up.
Its now at 3300 euro a cubic metre.
Superior steamed beech is dirt cheap at 700 euro a cubic metre.
The VAT on the walnut was more than the cost of the beech plank :shock: :shock:
You're surrounded by hardwood trees: you need a chainsaw.
 

sploo

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Trainee neophyte":2vjsfg5h said:
sunnybob":2vjsfg5h said:
Just come back from the woodyard, bought a 3 metre plank of beech and a 2.5 metre plank of walnut.

american black walnut has certainly gone up.
Its now at 3300 euro a cubic metre.
Superior steamed beech is dirt cheap at 700 euro a cubic metre.
The VAT on the walnut was more than the cost of the beech plank :shock: :shock:
You're surrounded by hardwood trees: you need a chainsaw.
A very quiet one obviously, so you don't get caught :mrgreen:
 

Trainee neophyte

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sploo":f0b6z085 said:
Trainee neophyte":f0b6z085 said:
sunnybob":f0b6z085 said:
Just come back from the woodyard, bought a 3 metre plank of beech and a 2.5 metre plank of walnut.

american black walnut has certainly gone up.
Its now at 3300 euro a cubic metre.
Superior steamed beech is dirt cheap at 700 euro a cubic metre.
The VAT on the walnut was more than the cost of the beech plank :shock: :shock:
You're surrounded by hardwood trees: you need a chainsaw.
A very quiet one obviously, so you don't get caught :mrgreen:
Cordless and very quiet:
 

sploo

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Trainee neophyte":1et9r2u5 said:
sploo":1et9r2u5 said:
A very quiet one obviously, so you don't get caught :mrgreen:
Cordless and very quiet:
If TN nicks a tree in the woods, and no one's there to hear it, does it make it a theft? :wink:
 

sunnybob

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I'm surround by olive trees, gnarled, twisted, even the main trunks are less than a foot across. Aint nuffink 'ere fer da likes o' me. :roll: :roll:

I forgot, orange, lemon, pomegranite, palm, yucca. Still not a decent plank between them.
Have you ever cut a yucca tree down? I had one 30" across at the base x 20 foot high. My friends chainsaw bogged down. The bow saw bogged down. Its like soft coconut, pure white, so wet that the stuff splashes you. When I finally got it down to ground level I was cutting the base up into chunks using a club hammer and 4" bolster. Even that got bogged down! :shock: :roll:
Never again. (hammer)
 

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