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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Default Woods for newby projects

I have been accumulating equipment for my woodshop over the last year or so either by taking advantage of used equipment available in my area, or taking advantage of sales on new eqpt. Now that I have accumulated and set up my shop I am ready to start some projects. The problem, however, is that I do not have a good source of wood. I would like to build some small bedside tables, book shelves, etc. For these items to fit with our present furniture, they will have to be stained a darker (mahogany) color. I expect to make mistakes as I learn from doing. That's why I hesitate to invest in expensive hardwood stock which might be more appropriate for the end product. So, the question is, can I accomplish what I'm trying to do with big box store stock such as poplar (avoiding the ugly green heart wood). The price is right and it's available in many widths and lengths. Or, what would you more experienced wood workers suggest???

I've lurked on here reading the great advice that you share for quite sometime. I appreciate all your comments and help and say THANKS in advance!!

Mike in TN
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 08:12 PM
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Hello Mike in Tennessee and welcome to the forums..

Poplar is the poor man's everything species or just about anyways... and it is a hardwood... so why not..
that green will fade away after a while and turn into earth tones... w/ some help from the sun...

A little more on those green streaks.
Try tanning them. On a bright, sunny day, set your finished project outside for a hours at a time. You’ll find that the pale, creamy color turns darker and the green streaks will darken to nice, earth tones in color.
When it gets to your happiness of color apply a clear finish.
I like to use boiled linseed oil and follow that with a wipe-on varnish. You’ll find that poplar will continue to darken as time goes on. I like the look.

If you’re more into hiding the color variations in poplar use gel stains. Poplar stained with a java gel stain makes poplar look more like walnut.
You can change poplar into cherry quite handsomely... Gel stains again... or dyes for just the right color tone...

You know, there’s one more thing to mention…of all the native hardwoods, poplar is the least expensive.

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”

Last edited by Stick486; 03-26-2020 at 10:11 PM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 09:03 PM
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That is about the only alternative (poplar) in hardwood unless you can get alder. Alder machines beautifully,not as hard as maple, but takes stains good and has a nice mellow tan color with clear finish. I like alder to work with. On the Big Box store subject, I have found beautiful fine grained pine in 12" wide boards in the shelving dept. Also they carry almost 2' wide glued up boards out of misc.shorts that are prefinished sometimes that are wonderful to work with and are all knot free luan/mahogany type hardwood. They can be cut into all kinds of shapes for wood projects.
Remember that all the plywood faces are thinner than mosquito wings and just as fragile. If there are any lumber yards around where you live they have some hardwoods, but they sell at the going rate. Sometimes you can score by picking up material from the Habitat store of cabinets and furniture that has been recycled.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Stoops View Post
Remember that all the plywood faces are thinner than mosquito wings and just as fragile.
Herb
except for Baltic Birch.. (BB)...
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This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 10:04 PM
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I always thought Adler was indigenous to the coastal regions of Alaska, BC, Washington, Oregon, and Northern California...
other woods to consider would be Birch and Aspen...
but just the same...

Types of Alder Trees:

Sitka Alder: It has thin leaves and grows to about 25 feet in height at its full maturity. They are sometimes used as shrubs for privacy or wind protection.
Red Alder: This is the largest species that can grow to nearly 80 feet at its peak. They can also be found in the Pacific Northwest.
Black Alder: Mostly found in Europe, this type of alder tree is known for its height.
White Alder: While most alders prefer to be close to a water source such as streams, rivers and marshy wetlands, this type of alder can withstand drier climates.
Green Alder: Small and slow growing with a crown of bright, bushy green leaves, this alder can adapt to soil and weather conditions and is often used as a shrub for landscaping.

https://www.thespruce.com/alder-tree...shrubs-3269701

Alder Tree Uses:

This hardy tree is often used when an area is under reforestation. It stabilizes soil in rainy, wet areas. The wide, leafy canopy makes the alder tree a perfect shade tree for home gardeners.
The cones are bitter tasting but have a high protein content. The bark can be boiled into a tea to be used as an anti-inflammatory. The salicin in the bark has been used to treat skin irritations such as those from poison oak or insect bites.
The hardwood of the alder has been used for a wide variety of purposes, from the pilings of the foundation of the floating city of Venice to furniture, cabinets and trim. The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has built guitar bodies out of alder wood since the 1950s.
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This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 11:04 PM
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I scrounge free wood for small projects and practice. You can usually find old tables for free on the garage sale websites, or people clearing out their garages of plywood offcuts. Great options for secondary woods in bigger projects as well
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 01:10 AM
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old furniture, especially wardrobes, can supply you with lots of wood to practice on. And taking them apart slowly gives you a first class lesson in how to make them.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 05:03 AM
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I use pallet wood for some projects.

I really like it for sample/display only pieces, practice pieces and shop only projects.

Just have to be careful which pallets you use as some are better left in the trash.

Here are guides I use when deciding if a pallet is worth taking.

I also have a pallet tool to break them down. I used to use a hammer and nail puller which took about a 1/2 or more to tear down a normal sized pallet. With the pallet tool, it takes me about 5 -10 mins to rip one down.
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Last edited by newbie2wood; 03-27-2020 at 05:06 AM.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie2wood View Post
I use pallet wood for some projects.

I really like it for sample/display only pieces, practice pieces and shop only projects.

Just have to be careful which pallets you use as some are better left in the trash.

Here are guides I use when deciding if a pallet is worth taking.

I also have a pallet tool to break them down. I used to use a hammer and nail puller which took about a 1/2 or more to tear down a normal sized pallet. With the pallet tool, it takes me about 5 -10 mins to rip one down.
some things to consider about pallets....

.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Reasons Why Pallet Creations are So Out.pdf (62.0 KB, 64 views)

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-27-2020, 06:48 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Mike! We do like photos so show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.

Is there a sawmill close to you, even a small one-man operation? Matter of fact, the small one-man operation may be the best choice for getting 'close' to free wood. Our local sawmill has Walnut, Oak, etc. in cutoffs and pieces that may have splits or other 'defects' that won't allow him to sell at full price. But those pieces are great for smaller projects or can be glued up for larger projects.

How about a cabinet shop? I get Maple, Oak, Hickory, and Cherry scraps free from a local cabinet shop and they're glad to get rid of them, otherwise these scraps fill up their trash container.

David
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