• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Wood Suggestions sought

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Chris Knight

Established Member
Joined
14 Jan 2004
Messages
6,641
Reaction score
3
Location
SE London - NW Kent
I mentioned elsewhere that I want to make one of these tool cabinets.


Andy Rae used mahogany for his and I might yet do that but I am also considering other woods. So far I have on my radar screen English Oak, Padauk, Imbuya, Goncalo Alves, Black Walnut and possibly Bubinga. I might have used English Walnut but looking at my remaining stock, I decided the wastage would be just too high with the cutting list for the cabinet.

I am after stuff with some character (NOT "character oak" I hasten to add) but genuine if subdued interest (Andy Rae's cabinet had a flitch of flame figured mahogany available for the front doors). I shall probably inlay the front doors with contrasting wood by stringing or some such, maybe even carve something. If I can't find enough interesting wood, I shall use veneers but would prefer to go the solid route.

Of the woods mentioned I have never used Padauk, Imbuya or Bubinga in earnest.

I should be grateful for any suggestions as to what I, or more correctly you, might use - you will have gathered I am after a darkish wood - I will leave the sycamores for the internal drawers. Given the likely high cost of this wood (depending on wastage upto 10 cu ft could be needed) I would like to make an informed choice.
 

Alf

Established Member
Joined
22 Oct 2003
Messages
12,079
Reaction score
0
Location
Up the proverbial creek
If you're going to make it with hand tools, not just to home them, them my first instinct would be mahogany or walnut I think. Project enough without challenging woods to deal with I reckon. But then I'm a coward. :D

Cheers, Alf
 

Aragorn

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2004
Messages
1,331
Reaction score
0
Location
East Sussex
Chris - that's going to be a lovely cabinet when done!
I don't know about an "informed choice", but it would look stunning in Black Walnut IMO, and this would make a lovely contrast to any pale woods you use on the insides.
I think the mahogany in the photo looks lovely for this piece, but I'm guessing you would need to sort through a lot of the stuff to get boards with the right grain and colour, whereas I've found every piece of Black Walnut to be beautiful and fuill of character.
Can't comment on the other exotic woods as I haven't used them.

EDIT - Ahhh, look at that. My post crossed with Alf, and we've both suggested the same thing. Brings a tear to the eye :wink:
 

Woodythepecker

Established Member
Joined
30 Jul 2004
Messages
686
Reaction score
0
Chirs, if do decide to use mahogany what about "Mahogany Crotch" www.exotichardwoods.com/index2.htm (press on one of the strips of wood on the right hand side). Cocobola is another nice one.

Good luck with it and let us see the finished product. Boy is that one nice project

Regards

Woody
 

Aragorn

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2004
Messages
1,331
Reaction score
0
Location
East Sussex
Mahogany Crotch - unfortunate name, but what a grain! Like it's on fire!
 

Manny

Established Member
Joined
31 Mar 2004
Messages
152
Reaction score
0
Location
London
Hi Chris

I've used Paduak before although it was a long time ago. From what I remember it wasn't a difficult wood but a bit of a shock by being a bright red at first and gradually turning to a medium to deep redish brown over a period of time.

John
 

Philly

Established Member
Joined
24 Nov 2003
Messages
6,874
Reaction score
0
Location
Dorset, England.
Chris
I have used the African exotics a wee bit-they are pippers for tear-out but a lovely figure none-the-less. A 60 degree plane will do you though.
I love mahogany myself-if you can find some Brazilian instead of the African mahoganys this will be the answer-the grain is amazing,like its on fire. And easy to work! :shock:
Only my opinions, but Andy's looks great.
Cheers (and good luck!)
Philly :D
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I would go for Walnut (may be a little expensive :shock: ) or mahognay.

looks like a nice challenging project there Chris :wink:
 

Waka

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
8 Mar 2004
Messages
4,489
Reaction score
7
Location
Weymouth
Chris

What a lovely tool cabinet, hope you enjoy making it. Not to sure about wood choice but mosy certainly dark on the outsiode with a nice light wood on the inside, would a nice birdseye maple set the inside off?

Best of luck
 

Midnight

Established Member
Joined
11 Oct 2003
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
0
Location
Scotland
I am after stuff with some character
A man after my own heart :wink:

I'm unashamedly cheating with mine; the main box is baltic birch cos I needed its strength to weight ratio. That said, I'm toying with the idea of making the doors from solid (although a good bit deeper than the ones in your pic). I've no experience with the exotics, but I know for sure that some elm will have a fair chance of giving the charactor you're looking for; the "right" board just might make that panel plane work up a sweat too (grain from every point of the compass, hard as glass and dark as a witches' heart..).
Failing that... Sapeli's got some real nice figure to it, though I found it a bit on the fragile side when machining it... Works well though, kinda like deep red copper with ripples of bronze through it...

Personally I'm aiming for something on the lighter side; QS scots oak with sycamore panels... I need to see how these bookmatched boards in the shop are gonna work out...

Any thoughts re what you're putting into the doors..??
 

trevtheturner

Established Member
Joined
26 Feb 2003
Messages
1,144
Reaction score
0
Location
Herefordshire, UK.
Chris,

I would beware of padauk. Although it finishes well, when I have used it (for turning) any dust from it is unpleasant and messy - a white turner's smock given a good shake outside before going in the washing machine came out bright red/pink! :shock: Fortunately, only a workshop apron went in the wash with it, and that came out the same colour!

Bubinga I like, a lovely deep reddish/brown colour and it produces a beautiful finish. Used by a well-known manufacturer for plane totes - might match some of yours! :wink: Comes either straight grained or interlocked. Straight-grained works easily. Interlocked and irregular grained material tends to tear or pick up - cutting angle of 15 degrees is necessary for planing. If you are unlucky, gum pockets can be troublesome.

Goncalo alves tends to have large dark and light streaks. Although very attractive, this large figuring might prove impractical and difficult to match up on cut pieces and may not 'look right' on your cabinet. I wouldn't describe it as being of subdued interest. Hard, heavy and dense, it has irregular, interlocked grain with alternating layers of hard and soft material. Planing requirements same as for bubinga.

If you favour something really dark you might find that wenge is worth considering. Dark brown and getting on towards ebony-like in colour, it tends to have a subdued grain, finishes well and could, I imagine, look spectacular with contrasting lighter coloured stringing/inlays. Hard and dense, it has a moderate blunting effect on cutting edges and the presence of resin cells can sometimes interfere with glueing and finishing.

As I have only used them for turning (so far) I cannot comment on their workability, from my own experience, for making a cabinet, so obviously hesitate to recommend one above the others.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Midnight

Established Member
Joined
11 Oct 2003
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
0
Location
Scotland
I remember reading in Jon Arno's book that Wenge is a bit of a pipper to machine; interlocking grain...

some nice suggestions there Trev.. :wink:
 

Chris Knight

Established Member
Joined
14 Jan 2004
Messages
6,641
Reaction score
3
Location
SE London - NW Kent
Thank you everybody for the suggestions - plenty of food for thought there!

I made a quick trip to Timberline yesterday to scope out their stock of possible contenders. Unfortunately, they did not have the right thicknesses in anything except Padauk and as has been said, it is very, very red. I think that in my small workshop, it could be rather overpowering until a couple of years have toned it down. Trev's comments on the dust echo what the guy at Timberline said and if my experience of working with ebony is anything to go by, then I reckon one could get rather fed up with a highly coloured dust everywhere. I know SWMBO would not be impressed!

I have ruled out Wenge on the grounds that I don't like working it. I have used a small amount and I hated it. Looks fine when finished in a table or something.

I am off to Wests on Wednesday (have to make appointments there now and that was the earliest they could fit me in) where I can see oak and black walnut, then likely up to Norwich later in the week to see mahogany at North Heigham Sawmills.

I shall keep you posted on progress.

(Mike,sounds as though you are making the same thing? I am planning to make my doors about the same thickness, I judge them to be about 2 1/2 inches. I shall use them for chisels and rulers, straight edges etc I expect)
 

Aragorn

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2004
Messages
1,331
Reaction score
0
Location
East Sussex
Forgot the most important thing - what colour mug will you be modelling on the little cup shelf?? :D
 

jasonB

Established Member
Joined
26 Nov 2004
Messages
5,044
Reaction score
1
Location
Surrey
Just a thought on the oak option. I also paint model figures and oak is not recommended for making display cabinets as the tannins can affect the lead content of metal figures, not sure if this would have any affect on the iron / steel of the tools :?:

Jason
 

beech1948

Established Member
Joined
16 Aug 2004
Messages
2,146
Reaction score
62
Location
Crowthorne, Berkshire
Great idea to build one of these. I've been thinking about it ever since I read the Toolbox book. I guess my 2d worth is that dark wood is a bit dated esthetically..even in a workshop..so what about something English..ish. Elam would be wonderful with all that wild grain appearance and golden colour with maybe something lighter in the panels all highlighted with dark stringing and carving. It would certainly be different and in the tradition of UK craftmanship.

Good luck what ever you decide.
 

Midnight

Established Member
Joined
11 Oct 2003
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
0
Location
Scotland
(Mike,sounds as though you are making the same thing? I am planning to make my doors about the same thickness, I judge them to be about 2 1/2 inches. I shall use them for chisels and rulers, straight edges etc I expect)
Maybe not the same, but certainly along similar lines; I don't have the shop space to have a floor standing unit so what I'm building will end up along the same lines as your upper portion. As usual, I'm working things out as I progress, hence the door question. I'll need to do a couple of trial lay-outs with the tools intended for the doors before deciding how deep they need to be; the tricky bit is adapting the design to allow for future expansion.

I also paint model figures and oak is not recommended for making display cabinets as the tannins can affect the lead content of metal figures, not sure if this would have any affect on the iron / steel of the tools
A valid point Jason; what I'd intended was to use the oak purely as structural media, switching to a more iron friendly material for the tool cleats. It could all change yet; as I said, there's not so much as an envelope sketch to work to.... we'll see...
 

Scott

Established Member
Joined
18 Oct 2004
Messages
846
Reaction score
0
Chris

I'd back Aragorn's suggestion of Black Walnut. I am admittedly a fan but it deffo does finish well and the subtle black streaks give it interest without being "in yer face".

I have a tool chest in progress for measuring & marking tools in Black Walnut. I finished the lid (just because I've no patience and the rest of it is taking forever!) and it's looking great. Would go really well with with a lighter lining.

Cheers
Scott
 
Top