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Thread: Advice on selection of wood, or finding the woodworking equivalent of this website?

  1. #21
    richard newman is online now Stainless
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    Good advice above. The "swietenia mahogani" Stephen mentions is commonly known as Cuban Mahogany, and to an experienced woodworker looks and works quite differently from "swietenia macrophylla", commonly known as Honduras or "genuine" mahogany. But as Stephen says, there are wide variations within each species, and even the Forest Products Lab has to make an educated guess to distinguish between the two.

    Seems to me that the first task is to identify the original wood if you need/want to be historically accurate. Then you can start looking for a source or appropriate substitute. If you're just looking for something durable and stable, then its a lot easier, but you can't beat genuine mahogany for stability, durability, and ease of working.

    As an aside, I have a large quantity of old honduras mahogany that I will be reluctantly selling soon. It came from a 100 year old company that made the Colonial Williamsburg Furniture collection. They had their a large temp/humidity controlled warehouse and their own buyers in Honduras. The stuff I have is 4/4 & 5/4, 18-22" wide, 10-16' long, and of a quality that hasn't been available for 20-30 years. I've been trying to figure out the best way to sell it for the most $$. Probably to antique reproduction furniture makers, but not sure how to reach them.

  2. #22
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    bosleyjr is offline Diamond
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    Stephen, that's a beatiful window.

    No one has mentioned CITES, by the way. The treaty was put in place to save the dwindling supply of certain flora and fauna. Honduran mahogony, Brazilian rosewood, elephant ivory, and such. I think that stuff our forbears had in great quantity may be impossible to find, or illegal if you find it.

    One shudders when one hears stories about the old Martin Guitars practice of burning for heat those Honduran mahogany guitar necks within even the slightest flaw.

  3. #23
    richard newman is online now Stainless
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    I'm no lawyer, but it's my understanding that CITES only comes into play for materials that are crossing borders. There are 3 categories of protection. I think the trade in honduras mahog requires the correct certifications and papers, but the seriously threatened cuban mahogany cannot be imported at all. But it is legal to buy cuban from windfall trees in Florida.

    Only my understanding and opinion, not guaranteed to be accurate...

  4. #24
    Milacron's Avatar
    Milacron is online now Diamond
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    Should I create a separate woodworking forum here on PM ?

  5. #25
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    D Dubeau is offline Aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milacron View Post
    Should I create a separate woodworking forum here on PM ?
    Coming to the end of reading this thread I was going to suggest you create a "practicalwoodworker" forum. Quite a few of your posts, and others are of the woodworking variety, and this isn't the first time someone has been asking where the "practical machinist" forum is for woodworking.

    It's probably bad enough keeping the subject matter here away from offshore machinery, I don't envy the job of doing it on a woodworking forum of the same type.
    pieces en regalia likes this.

  6. #26
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    I don't think any of the woodworking forums come very close to PM. PM has more features and a broader range of members.

    Personally I like Sawmill Creek the best. It seems to be artisan rather than manufacturing based. Some incredibly good people on there.

    eng-tips.com has woodworking for engineers.

    Occasionally there is a good discussion on linkedin.

    Personally, I really like the science of tools and cutting. I would like to see more of that.

    Milacron, I just don't know. There seems to be so much luck to it. However you do work harder than many of the others and I really like the polite tone that you establish. If you decide to do it. let me know if I can help in any way.

    Tom

  7. #27
    richard newman is online now Stainless
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    I'm a woodworker, but I much prefer PM to any of the woodworking forums, I just can't seem it get hooked on any of them. But maybe that's because I'm trying to learn more about metal working.

    Maybe it would be good to have a wood forum here, be great to attract a crowd of similarly experienced woodworkers. Probably attract a similar bunch of jerks too ;-)

  8. #28
    Pattnmaker is offline Hot Rolled
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    It might be nice to have a separate forum like the Shop Management and Issues or CNC Machining forums not a separate website. I very rarely frequent any of the woodworking sites as they tend to be primarily aimed at the hobby market or the high volume kitchen cabinet market.

  9. #29
    tdmidget is online now Titanium
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    Stephen, that window is beautiful. Can you tell us more about it?

    Milacron, I think a woodworking forum here would complement the others. Obviously we have some outstanding talent in that field already.

  10. #30
    Milacron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdmidget View Post
    Stephen, that window is beautiful. Can you tell us more about it?
    Indeed, just hope it's not clear finish exposed to the elements. Usually only boaters are nutty enough to do that !

  11. #31
    stephen thomas is offline Diamond
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    I've thought PM could become a premier woodworking site.

    As others have said, there is nothing like PM available in the wood forums. Probably because the largest market for the past 30 - 40 years has been the self taught amateur with a vast lacunae in wide experience whose major influence (whether they watched the show or not, it formed public perception & shaped markets) was Norm Abrams. At the same time, the economic market for old style _technical_ woodworking has become ever smaller (few wooden ships, fewer wooden storefronts with classic technical details, fewer classic wooden millwork installations like say the NY public library, fewer wooden tanks built, etc. etc., although all mentioned do still have niche markets) so the technical culture of woodworking is not at the forefront and is even often questioned (why use mortise and tenon when a pocket screw is so much faster). This is the opposite of metal machining culture. Even if processes (slotters, say) become "obsolete", the product, technical details, and techniques tend to remain; just done differently (EDM, WEDM).

    The biggest issue I've had over the years is stupid, picayune, and heavy handed censorship by self important "moderators" on woodwhacking sites. That is what essentially destroyed Badger Pond, carried over to the successor site (been so long i forget),& is creating a problem on OWWM. FWW could have a decent site but it is very self referential and few of us are interested in pay per view. Especially if we are still (tenuous) subscribers to their print magazine.

    I think you could be the one to do it right, if you have the time and can continue to make the whole enterprise pay. It would be nice to have a similar forum to PM where lower skill sets were welcome, but not pandered to, & low knowlege base chatter did not need to be humored just because it might reduce posts for advertisers or hurt feelings.

    smt

  12. #32
    stephen thomas is offline Diamond
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    .....just hope it's not clear finish exposed to the elements. Usually only boaters are nutty enough to do that !
    Thanks for the nice comments, guys!

    The window was shop primed white on the outside before leaving here, and then painted another coat when installed. The maintenance guy was scheduled to add a final coat a few days later. I coated the inside ("primed") it with Penofin and left it optional with the congregation as to whether to paint it or keep it bright. Original was painted inside as well. But no great need to, if they do a yearly schedule of rub down (scuff sand and clean) and re-coat, and keep the Penofin thin, rubbing it all off and not trying to make it a "varnish". Beyond that, I have no further control.

    Operating sash (DH or swinging) present their own set of problems. Need to be painted. Need to continue to operate without jamming after several years of painting so they don't get destroyed by sticking and forcing over the ensuing years. Good argument for clad windows.

    smt

  13. #33
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    If your windows are HARD mahogany,they are possibly Cuban mahogany,which is a much different species from Honduras. The only source I am aware of at present is from storm damaged Cuban mahogany trees blown down several years ago during hurricane Andrew(?). It was selling years ago for $30.00 a bd. Ft.. The Furniture Conservation Dept. in Col. Williamsburg bought some. It was hard and heavy,but not dark like the limited amount of Cuban I have,bought in 1970.

    Staining would be o.k. for that problem. I can't recall the name of the supplier,but if you called 1-757-229-1000 and asked for the furniture conservation shop,you could ask one of them. Hopefully you won't get Albert,who speaks poor English.

    Mr. Newman,you might offer your mahogany to the Anthony Hay cabinet shop in Williamsburg,same number. Ask for Mack Headley,the Master cabinet maker. I think they could use an infusion of good mahogany.

  14. #34
    kehoemar is offline Plastic
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    I am now a machinist, but spent 30 years in fine carpentry. I suspect the rails and stiles you are working with are African mahogany. The normally accessible mahogany is Phillipine, which grows in a lot of places, not even similar in hardness or colour. Most exotic lumber is expensive, and there are quite a few common woods the will do the job if historic accuracy is not important. White oak as mentioned is a good choice, hard and stable. Teak is my normal choice for sliding parts- nice straight grain, holds it's staightness, has a natural oil that lubricates runners and is naturally rot resistant. I get my retirement kicks from cutting wood in the forest and turning it into product. My current job puts me in the forest with time on my hands, need to entertain myself. The one wood that is completely overlooked and is suitable for your task is Larch, otherwise known as tamarack. Grows in wet conditions, one of the best for natural preservatives, trees (here) grow to 16" dia., straight hard grain and stable. commonly used for firewood which is a shame. Very dense, does not float.. Depending on sizes required and you time availabiliy, several species of hardwoods (inc white oak) can be had for free, in the form of large pallets commonly found at steel and alum sheet supply yards. They will give them away most of the time, the rails are often 4x4 and 12-16' long. It is all third grade material, But I have found perfect 4' sections within the pallets. lots of luck, pulling the nails, I just cut around them. Roger

  15. #35
    macgyver is offline Hot Rolled
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    well, i didn't see where the OP had said if it needs to be historical or functional. I have worked with Ipe and I can vouch for it's hardness and durability. I can't add anything to the conversation as to what is best though. If i recall it is easiest to get S4S for decks at 3/4 thick, if you went that way, you would probably have to glue up and I don't think that it is any fun to glue up, may have to wipe with acetone, laquer thinner etc right before gluing and may still have to use a poly glue. I may be off base too and remembering a diff species.

    As for a PW section or sister site, i think that it would be a ton of work to keep the content on track, but i would appreciate it myself. I frequent one that stephen mentioned most everyday but do not post much due to some things that i have observed. anyway, i think that if it had the same feel and attitude as PM, it would be great. I am on here reading alot and from what i see, things tend to be pretty civil and most people can follow instructions/rules. I think too that the other members help self police the threads as much as the admin, maybe wrong, idk.

    I do like and prefer the way PM is setup and runs, i don't use some of the features, but i like that the threads get bumped to the top when replied to, i think adding pics is easy, i don't like to have to host a pic somewhere then refer to it to post it. i do not like woodweb's setup, so i rarely go over there.

    I like that on here a person can ask a question and it will usually be answered by someone that has done it before and got the t shirt, not by someone trying to sell a service or machine. I like that a person can post an OT thread and as long as it's not out of hand, they won't get blasted because others here have had similar experiences and it can help talking about it.

    I have made a living with a few different commercial grade cnc routers (5 axis too) for 11 years and think that there is a niche for guys like me who are working in all 3 mediums of metal, plastic and wood.

    So, I vote for a woodworking section, but i am not volunteering

    carry on

    jason

  16. #36
    mike 44 is offline Cast Iron
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    Default knots forum

    Quote Originally Posted by winger View Post
    I don't do a lot of woodworking any more so I quit following those forums. What happened to Knots? It was pretty good a few years back.
    Dave
    Dave, I used to frequent the Knots forum until they changed their format.The new format made it frustrating to read the posts. There were many complaints about the new format,I didn't bother to put my two cents worth in.I just left Knots and Fine Homebuilding.
    Once in a while I'll log into The Journal Of Light Construction.I still log into Woodnet forums about everyday.
    Even though I was a carpenter for 50 years I prefer the metal working forums.This and Homeshop Machinist I login to each day.
    mike

  17. #37
    adammil1 is offline Titanium
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    Well thanks for all the replies everyone, we just got power back here, so I haven't been able to keep up with this thread, but it is something I am very interested in. When it comes to the windows, I think I would like to make 1 right now just as a proof of concept. The last time we had a set for a car made I believe the price was well over $150 per window that we needed made, and it just seems really high to me. The actual wood I need, (I need to double check my measurements this weekend, as my drawing got corrupted AKA. went through the washing machine) I believe is as follows;
    -(Qnty=2) 0.75"x2"x34.75"
    -(Qnty=1) 0.75"x3.75"x24"
    -(Qnty=1) 0.75"x3.75"x24"

    So I believe we are talking about 1.75 board feet per window. When it comes to the choice of mahogany that is what was used, and while it likely could become the source of a greater debate down the road with the rest of the museum, my own personal view is that the stuff will be painted over when in service, so it doesn't need to be a beautiful wood, rather it should be hard, durable, and last in the weather for another 80yrs. At this point since the budget is so thin the cheaper the better. The initial need is for one of them to prove to all the nay sayers at the museum that this isn't as difficult as they keep on saying but down the road it should scale up to about 50per car, and we have 3 that could really use a set of new ones. I have all the tools so that isn't an issue, it is just in pricing out the material and it goes sky high real fast. At this point in time I really don't want to pay for beauty, only functionality.

    I like the suggestions so far of IPE, I checked out some online prices and that doesn't seem too bad. I think I saw it for 1X6 at around $3.46 per foot (Approximately $0.90/board foot right?) so that isn't that terrible, how do I find out if it is kiln dried and how much of an issue would non kiln dried be for this application? When it comes to the Santos mahogany I looked up the prices on that which is around $8/sqft (around $0.90/bf right?). On the other hand as a comparison the prices of the mahogany that was around $10/board foot. When it comes to the Santos mahogany the challenge there is I can't find anyone who sells just the wood. Yes I can buy hardwood flooring in 6" wide pieces but I can't get guaranteed lengths with hardwood. Anyone know of suppliers for IPE and Santos Mahogany preferably in either Connecticut or Massachusetts, where I could just buy a 6ft long board to start with?

    One other question is if the IPE and Santos are so darn cheap compared to real mahogany, how come these woods seem to be left to the flooring and haven't worked their way into use in the finer woodworking crowds? Where is the downside of them? Both of them look to be very nice looking woods, just like the real mahoganys so why the huge difference in prices? As I said in this application they will be covered in green paint so if there is an ugly species that can be had for a lower cost and meet the needs I am all ears.

  18. #38
    Modelman is online now Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by adammil1 View Post

    I like the suggestions so far of IPE, I checked out some online prices and that doesn't seem too bad. I think I saw it for 1X6 at around $3.46 per foot (Approximately $0.90/board foot right?) so that isn't that terrible, how do I find out if it is kiln dried and how much of an issue would non kiln dried be for this application? When it comes to the Santos mahogany I looked up the prices on that which is around $8/sqft (around $0.90/bf right?). On the other hand as a comparison the prices of the mahogany that was around $10/board foot. When it comes to the Santos mahogany the challenge there is I can't find anyone who sells just the wood. Yes I can buy hardwood flooring in 6" wide pieces but I can't get guaranteed lengths with hardwood. Anyone know of suppliers for IPE and Santos Mahogany preferably in either Connecticut or Massachusetts, where I could just buy a 6ft long board to start with?

    One other question is if the IPE and Santos are so darn cheap compared to real mahogany, how come these woods seem to be left to the flooring and haven't worked their way into use in the finer woodworking crowds? Where is the downside of them? Both of them look to be very nice looking woods, just like the real mahoganys so why the huge difference in prices? As I said in this application they will be covered in green paint so if there is an ugly species that can be had for a lower cost and meet the needs I am all ears.
    I think your figures are in error. A bd. ft. is 1" thick, 12" wide, and 12" long, in the rough, or any combination that gives the same volume. So, your 1x6 at $3.46 per ft. is $6.92 per bd.ft., the Santos Mahogany (whatever that is) at $8 per sq.ft. is also $8 per bd.ft. if it's a nominal 1" thick, all really in the same ball park.

    Hardwood lumber is traditionally sold as random lengths, so flooring is also. There is just no way around this. Well, there are home center type places that do sell hardwood pre-cut to size, but you are already paying the premium for the stock that was wasted to get exact lengths.

    Measure carefully... many old sash were 13/16" thick rather than 3/4", and that is going to preclude using S2S material unless you can get it planed to spec. Also, a lot of the finished material (like flooring) that you would expect to be 3/4" is scant these days, so again, check.

    I still think you would be better off considering epoxy repairs to the existing sash, you'll save a lot of work in the long run. Not only do you need to build the sash, you will also need to run new glass bead, and let in all the lift hardware at the bottom corners. Once you cut for those, you'll be surprised how little of your joinery remains.

    And, I wouldn't consider using anything for glue other than epoxy.... Well, maybe resorcinal resin glue, if you can still get it, but clear epoxy is easier. PVA "carpenter's glue" isn't waterproof over the long run, and the joints will open up.

    Dennis

  19. #39
    sfriedberg is offline Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by adammil1 View Post
    \One other question is if the IPE and Santos are so darn cheap compared to real mahogany, how come these woods seem to be left to the flooring and haven't worked their way into use in the finer woodworking crowds? Where is the downside of them?
    IpÍ is damned hard. In some ways, it's more like working with phenolic than wood. Not very friendly to hand work. And ordinary aliphatic glue (white/yellow glue) is useless with it, because it's so stuffed with its own resins.

  20. #40
    Sea Farmer is offline Titanium
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    If you want the frames made, call Shepley Wood Products in Hyannis, MA and ask to speak to Paul Richard, who runs the custom millwork shop there. You will get exactly what you want, made to perfection. Ad by perfection, I mean perfection.

    They will tell you exactly what the wood was, and whether it is still available, or not. If not, they will know what modern equivalents are available, and what the differences are between the modern products and the historical products.

    Paul is a model railroader, and his models are perfection. Shepley's is a superb business that treats its customers right (nope, I'm not associated, but I'm a happy customer).

    If you want them to make them you will be pleased with the product, and it will be expensive. Not outraageous or above a fair price, but you are seeking an unusual product that is custom made, and this is expensive.

    If you want to make the windows yourself and are merely seeking to tap knowledge, I don't know how they will respond. They are a business, after all. They have been generous with knowledge for me, but in fairness, I have been a general contractor and $50,0000/year customer to them. They are honest and straightforward and you should be that way with them.

    Or you can mess around on the internet and guess how reliable the information there is.

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