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Twist in tulipwood

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j.ferguson415

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Hi,

I bought some poplar to make a “quick” desk for my daughter. I sent the cutting list (PAR) to my local timber yard and picked it up yesterday. There were a number (20ish) of components in the region of 3/4’ x 2’ and maybe half have moved, mostly twisted but some bowed. I know these things happen but I thought poplar was relatively stable and I hadn’t expected so much movement.

I haven’t gone back to the timber yard yet, before I do it would be good to know what your expectations are from ordering machined timber (is this level of movement normal?) and experience of poplars stability.

Thanks

John
 

MikeG.

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John, it's always best to go and choose your own wood. A quick sight down each one and this sort of issue disappears at source.
 

Jacob

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I did it once years ago. Had a bit of a battle to get my money back. Never again.

If I wanted to repeat the exercise I'd take the wood to a woodworker who might have a better idea of what you want, spend some time telling him, expect to pay more.
 

deema

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PAR is just planed all around. It has no relationship to it being straight or true. You got exactly what you asked for I’m afraid. You have no recourse.
 

j.ferguson415

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“PAR is just planed all around. It has no relationship to it being straight or true. You got exactly what you asked for I’m afraid. You have no recourse.”

Thanks Deema, I had always assumed PAR would be straight and true as well, what should you ask for to get this?
 

j.ferguson415

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Thanks Jonathan S, so I could probably knock back the corners of the parts that are twisted and it should remain stable?
 

MikeG.

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j.ferguson415":387jte1o said:
Thanks Jonathan S, so I could probably knock back the corners of the parts that are twisted and it should remain stable?
Knock back? If you mean flatten them with a plane, then yes, assuming the timber is properly seasoned. This is SOP, but of course it means your timber dimensions will be altered.

My suspicion is that the timber was planed before it was properly dry. That may mean it still isn't properly dry, in which case it might continue to move a bit. Ideally (if you can't take it back) you should take it indoors for a few weeks before using it and see if it stabilises.
 

deema

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I’m not aware of any way to buy stuff straight and true! To get stuff for joinery you normally buy it rough sawn at least 6mm larger in width and depth than you need and plane it up yourself after letting it acclimatise for circa 3~6 months in your workshop! (Most joiners don’t do the acclimatisation bit to the extent really needed)
Anyway, twist is usually down to how the tree grew. A twisted plank will always exhibit twist even after flattened once the humidity changes. Use short lengths if it where this doesn’t matter.
Bowed stuff can be just down an imbalance of moisture between the two sides. In low humidity I clamp two pieces that are bowed together with the hollow in the centre. In high humidity I clamp them together the other way around, I sometimes also dampen the outside edge. Clamping the two flat and wait about a month.

Store the stuff out of direct sun light on sticks so air can circulate all around.

With the exception of timber yards that price up timber pieces individually, a timber yard that knows what it’s doing won’t let you select the timber out of the stack. Timber is bought to grades, let’s say unsorted 1st to 4th which is a good grade these days. If they let it be picked over they would soon be left with just 4ths. Which isn’t the same value timber as unsorted.
 

MikeG.

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deema":3hsc8hcv said:
........With the exception of timber yards that price up timber pieces individually, a timber yard that knows what it’s doing won’t let you select the timber out of the stack..........
Not my experience at all. The yards I use all will let anyone select from packs, so long as they have a little notice to get the packs down, and so long as you re-stack the packs afterwards.
 

AndyT

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While not disagreeing with anyone else's experience, I'll add a little corrective dose of optimism.

A few times, especially early on when I had less experience and more need to produce useful things quickly, I bought all my timber for a project ready planed all round and even as mouldings. One such project was this wardrobe, in ash, twenty something years ago.



I bought the wood from Robbins in Bristol. It wasn't cheap but it was all exactly sized, straight and usable. The pieces in those doors would only have been hand sanded, I think, not planed again by me. (The back is a simple ash-veneered mdf box, screwed together. )
 

j.ferguson415

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Thanks all for your advice. One thing I’ve learnt is that winding sticks really enhance the twist! When I got it on a flat surface I think the twist is something I can work with. I’m going to let the timber yard know about this and a few other issues with the order, let’s see what they say!

John
 

Doug71

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The problem is that the timber is just pushed through a 4 sided planer in long lengths, if it goes in bent it comes out bent.
 

peter-harrison

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After several bad experiences with tulipwood, I stopped using it for tall or wide doors. It is impossible to get a long piece straight- every time you take a pass on the planer, it moves a bit more. I use colour no defect beech instead and have never regretted the small extra expense.
 

Horsee1

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Doug71":1h0fu5u2 said:
The problem is that the timber is just pushed through a 4 sided planer in long lengths, if it goes in bent it comes out bent.
This^
Regardless of species this is my experience of buying par from various timber merchants. They just throw everything through a 4 sider with out sorting out a straight face/edge first. Such a lucky dip.
 

Geoff_S

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j.ferguson415":2a7ytxjq said:
“PAR is just planed all around. It has no relationship to it being straight or true. You got exactly what you asked for I’m afraid. You have no recourse.”

Thanks Deema, I had always assumed PAR would be straight and true as well, what should you ask for to get this?
I've just taken delivery of some Douglas Fir for a large door. I just made it clear that I wanted it PAR and straight and true. It took 3 attempts but they eventually got it right. At the end of the day they can always say no.
 

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