View Full Version : Wodd and Timber Knowledge

03-20-2006, 01:39 PM

I have become increasing interested in wood working in a variety of ways. I've been turning wood lately on a lathe and it has been a lot of fun.

Does anyone out there have any recommendations for books to try and learn how to judge timber and trees for woodworking purposes?? I'd like to be able to look at a tree and determine if it will be worthwhile to harvest and use for my evil purposes.

It would be nice if the book focused on timber and species of the greater NW, but any starting point would be better than where I already am.

Ed T
03-20-2006, 01:43 PM

My Dad did lots of lathe turnings. One of his favorites was mountain juniper. I have some nice cured pieces that I would be glad to give you if you ever get to Helena.

Ed T

03-20-2006, 06:24 PM

Quite a few years back, I owned a cabinet shop and developed an interest in working local woods. Of all the west coast BC woods, my favorite was Pacific Yew. It's grows slowly, usually at a fairly high elevation, and thus has a very dense grain pattern. It's not easy to find logs with good clear sections, but when you do, you have a superb wood.

Hard to work, and very picky about grain direction with cutting tools, but a stunningly beautiful wood if finished with a natural finish or clear laquer. It's often left by loggers because it has no commercial value, and because it sinks when put in log booms. We used to mill it on site with an Alaskan Mill. Lots of work packing out those 200 pound boards :-)


03-20-2006, 06:49 PM

Try these guys out at the FS:

USDA Forest Service
Missoula Technology and Development Center
Building 1, Fort Missoula
Missoula, MT. 59804

They have a bunch of manuals on many things logging and trees and most are free.


03-20-2006, 07:10 PM
Will Malloff- Chainsaw Lumbermaking
John Alexander-Make a Chair from a Tree
Hoadley-The Wood Book

My favorite of my three-

03-21-2006, 03:09 AM
I've had an interst in woodworking since I was a teenager. The most enjoyable wuld be wildlife woodcarving. I mainly use basswood, so not much help in wood knowledge but its another avenue you might consider. I'm in the process of finishing an elk bust and a trout. It gives a great sense of satisfaction when you have a finished piece. I've also dabbled in intarsia. Made a piece that is 3' wide 2' tall of a bugling elk. Everyone that sees it thinks its awesome. I might be able to post some pics if you would be interested.

03-21-2006, 06:27 AM
Looks like we've got some craftsmen lurking on the board! Not too surpirsing though.

Thanks for the feedback! I will pursue the books listed above, and hopefully start to do some real learning.


Is that your lathe?? Looks pretty sweet! Turning has been a ton of fun. Learning how to sharpen the tools has been my biggest challenge up to this point. I picked up a Wolverine Jig system and it has worked nicely.

I've been messing with birch and larch mostly, but would like to get out and take advantage of this species rich area and start turning some new types of wood.

Do you all recommend any wood working or turning websites to gain knowledge?? It would be nice if there was a turning equivalent to the Kifaru board out there.

03-21-2006, 09:59 AM
Shawn- I don't do the craft thing but do collect wood for my father to carve. I have had good results with Alder, Redwood, Cedar, Walnut, Oak and Maple. One thing to remember cut pieces 2 times as long as needed, seal the ends (wax works best but will break off if handled roughly) and dry at least a year, 2 is better. This prevents the cracking damage you see in firewood etc.. My father likes Redwood best but since he hand carves and is getting old I can see why he stays away from hardwoods now, shouldn't be a problem for you. Have fun.

07-04-2006, 06:57 PM
This is my latest finished project.




07-05-2006, 04:09 PM
Nice work. Looks great. How big is it?

07-05-2006, 08:53 PM
Its Approximately 12" tall from bottom of the base to tips of the antlers. 12" wide side view. And 12" wide front view.

07-05-2006, 09:08 PM
Very nice work, Hoogster.