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Cutting Your Own Boards

cyutting lumberBuying Lumber from a local supplier is the norm for most woodworkers. But more and more woodworkers are cutting their own lumber. Where do they get the logs? ... mostly from urban trees that are cut down or blown down by wind storms. Getting logs is often easy. Getting them to a manageable size and in a place that you can cut them can be bit more tricky. Not every neighbor is willing to put up with the sound of someone next door milling hundreds of board feet of lumber ... but, for many, it is still an alternative.

Very often you can find trees that are diseased or that simply get too large for the area they are in and they need to be taken down. Rather than have the wood cut into firewood, it is possible to cut the tree in to manageable size logs and then into borads that you can use ... and if you are a wood turner, you can find some fantastic wood patterns in where limbs and roots attach that can make some stunning turning projects.

You will need some sort of a mill, but for a small investment a good chain saw and with somehting called an Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, you can go about cutting your own lumber. This video shows just how easy it really is ...

Copyright - Colin Knecht

Plywood Grading - Types of plywood

Plywood GradingWhen buying plywood from your local Home Depot, Rona, Lowes or other wood supplier, you might have noticed that all the plywood is "graded". The most common plywood grading scheme is from A to D, with A being the highest quality with zero blemishes and great sanding, and D being the worst with the greatest number of blemishes (allowed).

Grading also typically comes in pairs where each grade addresses a different side or “face” of the stock piece, ie one letter will address the quality issues of the front face and the second, the side opposite to the face. So for instance, an A-C plywood sheet would be highly finished on the front face with a relatively poorer finish on the back. Similarly, construction grade C-D (referred to as CDX) plywood, is great for structural use but not for projects requiring a high quality finish.

The Difference in Wood Sizes

 woodwork wood sizesOn a trip to your local home depot or woodworking supplier you might notice the different wood sizes on display, and be scratching your head wondering what it all means. There are a couple important things to remember when purchasing stock.

2x4 vs 1 ½”x3 ½”

The first is that 1 inch doesn’t always mean “1 inch”, so while the label might read 2x4 it actually translates to 1 ½” x 3 ½”, because of dryness and milling methods. Wood tends to shrink when it’s dried and lumber mills make adjustments accordingly. That said, the length of a piece is generally not affected so a piece “measuring” 8’ is usually very close to 96 inches.

Hardness Measurment of Wood

 The hardness or softness of woods is something most woodworkers need to know at some time or another. Thankfully the flooring industry (where hardness is crucial) has taken the time to test and rate most of the woods available around the world for their hardness.

As a woodworker, sometimes I am involved in building a particular project and would like to know the hardness of different woods I may be contemplating. For example, anyone who make musical instruments like guitars, banjos or Ukeleles, need to know the hardness of woods for the necks of these instruments as well as the finger boards.

In making guitars and banjos the necks can be made of many different materials ranging from mahoganies to hard maples but in most cases the finger boards are made of Rosewood. Knowing the hardness of these woods can help the woodworker select other woods that may also be suitable for the job. Or if you are looking for something that needs be hard wearing or soft wearing, it's sometimes necessary to know the hardness. If you are one of those woodworkers how likes to make their own wooden hinges and clasps for a project, harder woods are needed.

Carvers on the other hand are often looking for woods that are softer for carving. Knowing what woods are softer can help them determine what woods they might want to carve. Not every carver wants to carve the softest woods, sometimes picking a particular wood is a necesseity depending on what a client might want, so READ MORE to see the actual hardness scales of some selected woods. If you need more, please search for the Janka Hardness Scale.

Wood Strengths

The table below provides laboratory values for several properties of wood that are associated with wood strength. Note that due to inadequacies of samples, these values may not necessarily represent average characteristics .

Wood Recovery

 Once the tree has been cut, the question of what to do with it becomes important. Anyone who enjoys woodworking yearns for more and more wood, and the last thing they want to see is a tree that is cut up and used for cooking or heating. We all know that this is inevitable in some situations, but we still try to rescue some trees for longer uses such as in furniture, turned bowls, carved items, and a variety of other woodworked items.

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