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  1. #1

    Wood choices

    David,

    What are the most requested wood choices for your boards?

    Have you seen them change over the years?

    I walk near a cabinet shop and always poke my head in and say hello, I have noticed over time that the "fashions" in wood come and go.
    Whitewashed oak was big a while ago ...

  2. #2
    Still Plays With Blocks
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    Great question Jim. I actually had to stop and think about this a little.

    Maple is the most often asked for, I guess because of the cost and durability. (Just went to the lumber supplier yesterday and bought 240 bd ft of hard maple. Filled the rack a little. I guess I should have gotten 500 or more.) Walnut is the next most popular even with the cost and waste. Walnut is graded differently than other woods and has more defects and knots which have to be discarded or worked around. I hate throwing out scraps and walnut pains me the greatest. But the results can be spectacular! Cherry is the next most requested. I really like working with cherry because of the smell and how easily it can be worked. Add to it the natural tendency to darken as it ages and it can be beautiful. The only bad point about cherry are the pitch pockets, those little black voids that tend to show up in the worst places. I work around them the best I can but most are unavoidable. Also with cherry there can be a lot of waste due to those pitch pockets and limbs which mar the work. I did offer mahogany and still get the rare request but until I get a supplier who can get the same species I was using, I will not be offering it. It is a beautiful wood with the deep burgundy color and black highlights.

    Only rarely do I get requests for anything else. I did make a cedar board for a grill once and it looked very nice. I get a few calls for ash and hickory but never any real interest. Once in a while I get a request for oak but so far no one has ever actually ordered an oak board. It is one of those woods that, IMHO, look like it would be a good wood to use but may be to porous to be able to clean properly. I suppose one of these days someone will order one.

    You are correct stating that wood fashions come and go. I made a bathroom cabinet in whitewashed oak about 20 years ago and it still looks good, just rather dated. The darker stains seem to stay in vogue but hide the real beauty of wood. When mahogany is sold in the stores it resembles nothing of what it really looks like. With all the fillers and stains, mahogany looks more like Formica. Such a shame to see the beauty hidden. And when I was selling mahogany, I was asked why it didn't resemble the mahogany furniture sen in the stores.

  3. #3
    Thanks David.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rotary's Avatar
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    David,

    Do you have any thoughts on mesquite as a material for cutting boards? I've never seen a mesquite board in person, but some of the photos on the net make them look pretty intriguing.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Still Plays With Blocks
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    I haven't seen much mesquite so I can't say much about it. The stock I saw was full of voids and was filled with a filler so I can't say how suitable it would be for a cutting board.

  6. #6
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    I may be wrong, butt I think that mesquite is rather abrasive. It pulls silica out of the soil, or some such.
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  7. #7
    Any thoughts on larch wood (or tamarack, as it's sometimes called)? I've seen a few end grain boards made of it. It has nice figuring, but it seems it would be much too soft to make a good board.

  8. #8
    Still Plays With Blocks
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    There is a maker in Canada who uses Larch exclusively. It looks good but I agree, it may be to soft to use.

  9. #9
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    David,
    Beautiful stuff (as we all know)!
    I have a question about materials, as well.
    My wife got me a beautiful custom board made of birch, mahogany and walnut, by a friend who is a board maker/carpenter. It is INCREDIBLE!
    I am wondering, however about another wood that he swears by for boards. He recommends a certain type of ash (black, I believe). Just curious what you think of it for a board.
    I already have my board, but I'm just curious because I need to know everything! Haha
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

  10. #10
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Sorry, now my brain is going. I've seen softer rosewood used too (1750ish on the Janka).
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks again!
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

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