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Wood source

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Jim Byrne, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. Jim Byrne

    Jim Byrne

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Location (City & State):
    Kingman, AZ
    I am new to the hobby and live in the desert so wood from local trees is rare.
    So far I haven't found other woodturners in the area to ask for advice.
    The wood blanks that I have seen online are priced high for a beginner to learn on.
    Where is everyone getting wood from?

    Thanks
     
  2. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
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    Location (City & State):
    Rome, GA
    If there is a town or city close by, find out where they take storm damaged and uprooted trees. I'm fortunate to have a place like that 25 minutes from home where you are allowed to cut all you want. You'll probably have to drive away from the desert anyway so you may talk to a tree surgeon.
     
    Dave DeJong likes this.
  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Location (City & State):
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    If you can find decent size firewood that is one potential low cost option. If there is a lumber yard or home center near you then you could use lumber or fence posts as long as it isn't pressure treated.
     
  4. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Location (City & State):
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    I have purchased olive wood and teak wood from several sources in California that list there products on eBay.
    The olive wood is whole cut logs from olive trees on a farm. The teak wood drops are from a manufacturer that builds large umbrellas for hotels and resorts. Shipping will be a considerable expense for getting materials to your remote location, if you plan ahead you might be able to save money by making a wood run and visiting a city with access to various cheap wood sources. Wood furniture that is being disposed of can be a source of wood that can be salvaged and turned, you can find listing on Craigslist but in your situation you will need to travel.
     
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Jim,
    1. You show up in an AAW member search for Kingman along with 3 others (two look like a couple).
    email or a phone call an introduction. They may know of local sources.

    2. In much of the west and Great Plains turners rely on planted trees.
    A quick look on google earth shows some real trees in Kingman.
    See photo below.

    Storms, disease, construction, traffic accidents, vandalism.....
    When trees are removed home owners or governments often give the wood away.

    2EBC5210-6F59-4599-9238-5FE8439C0B41.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
    Mark Hepburn likes this.
  6. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Sep 12, 2017
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    Location (City & State):
    Marietta, Georgia
    Learn a little segmenting and laminating so you can turn marginal sized scraps into something worth mounting on the lathe and having fun with.
     
    Mike Adams and Mark Hepburn like this.
  7. Fadi Zeidan

    Fadi Zeidan

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    Jul 5, 2016
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    469
    Location (City & State):
    San Antonio, TX
  8. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Location (City & State):
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    As Gary mentioned above, you can purchase mixed lot boxes of good quality wood scraps on eBay and craft beautiful segmented blanks and turn them into works of art. Another good source is a cabinet shop they usually have large quantities of drops and scraps from building cabinets and they will usually give you a good deal on a barrel or tote of scraps.
     
  9. Karl Loeblein

    Karl Loeblein

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2018
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    129
    Location (City & State):
    Millington, TN
    Jim,

    As far as your Kingman AZ: Try contacting the tree trimming companies in your area, and check with the people selling firewood on Craigslist.

    As far as shipping decently priced wood between fellow woodworkers: Suggest checking out www.woodbarter.com. Someone might be willing to send some free wood for a newbie for the price of shipping ($20 for a USPS Large Flat Rate Box) alone. Don't forget to mention your lathe size and what items you like turning the most (bowls or pens). Just know the smaller turning scraps are easier to find for free or cheap.
     
  10. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Location (City & State):
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    I have heard of folks scoring nice wood from things left at curbside for thrash pickup. Met a fellow who got a shipping pallet that originated in Asia. The runners were solid mahogany! I got some nice fine grain maple from two cutting boards that my wife insisted on putting in the dishwasher. Great pen blanks! Good wood hunting.
    Edit- Look for custom furniture craters or cabinet shops. A place in Chattanooga makes guitars and was told they give away their scraps.
     
  11. Arkriver

    Arkriver

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
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    Location (City & State):
    Pueblo West, CO
    As you accumulate wood be sure to write the species and date you acquire it on the wood. Over time you will forget what it is. Hard to tell cottonwood from aspen as example. The date gives you an idea of the dryness.
     
  12. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Sep 27, 2017
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    Location (City & State):
    Windsor, Pennsylvania
    My turning club just cooped on Monday with some other groups and processed about 5,000 board feet of Red Elm into boards and turning wood. Red Elm isn't the best for turning, but it has the distinction of coming from the grounds of President Jame Buchanan's home. As a bonus, I got two huge pieces of Larch logs. one is 25 inches in diameter. The other is only about 22 inches in diameter. The larch came from a different local museum.grounds.
     
  13. Jesse Tutterrow

    Jesse Tutterrow

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    May 5, 2017
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    Location (City & State):
    Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
    I use 2x4s and rip them into 1.5x1.5 squares. Not the greatest wood but good for learning a new tool. Our club cuts circles out of 2x6 or 2x8s for bowl & platter blanks for teaching new turners bowl work. Sometimes you can find construction going on and get short pieces for free.

    try making friends with a tree trimmer. Some of them have to pay to dispose of the trees they cut down. If you can meet them where they are cutting down a tree you could get a bunch of free wood. Note this will be wet wood and need to be dried.
     
  14. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Location (City & State):
    Windsor, Pennsylvania
    I have never had any luck trying to turn 2 x 4's it always splits and leaves chunks go flying. Could be the species. Not sure what is sold for 2x4's here, but probably some trashy pine.
     
  15. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    You can cut pine into segments and align the grain to make interesting turned pieces. I have turned a lot of pine which works well as a stable wood for case formers I have made for the pyrotechnic industry over the years.
     
  16. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It might just be the quality of the generic "white wood" found at big box stores. Good pine turns nicely, but with heartwood you occasionally need to clean the rosin off the tool. Although everybody wants to start off making something useful like bowls, turning spindles provides an excellent foundation for all turning skills.
     
    Mark Hepburn likes this.
  17. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Location (City & State):
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    There are lots of places to scrounge wood as well. One local sawmill processes wood into components for pallets and the cut offs are free for who ever may want them. Tree services get some good wood. Municipal and park maintenance personnel usually have a disposal lot where brush, branches and logs are dumped. We have a few local furniture factories that offer cut offs for free. (When I was in college, my uncle worked at a place that threw out 6x6x3 Teak wood cut offs. I made a great many Teak wood candy dishes & bowls) Casket companies often process their own lumber. (Picked up lots of 5/4 Mahogany and cherry from one) Watching for lots being cleared for roads or developments.. Firewood and kindling bundles at the box stores are sometimes comprised of hardwood scraps suitable for small spindle work. One local company got in materials on skids. Every few months the skids are made from bass or even cherry.) A fellow member at a service club is an excavator by trade. He frequently needs to knock down trees to make way for houses on rural lots. He lets me know if there is anything good to salvage. Got a 24 inch piece of black cherry two months ago from one of his job sites. Watch craig's list for free wood.

    learn to spot and identify the woods you want. You should have the equipment to process the stuff into usable chunks. tarp in the car or SUV to protect the car from the dust, etc. Always ask politely and always say thank you even if turned down. Leave the scene better than you found it. Return a finished piece later as a thank you for those who helped you out with information about wood or those who provided wood. Once you develop a net work you will have more than you can use. .
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  18. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    I will echo Perry. Once people learn what you do with the wood they will be calling or even dropping wood at your door.
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  19. Jim Byrne

    Jim Byrne

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2019
    Messages:
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    Location (City & State):
    Kingman, AZ
    Thanks guys for the suggestions and advise. I am just starting out in the hobby and have a long ways to go (learning how to produce good items).
     
  20. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Non of us were born knowing how to turn or even that we wanted to.

    Once you start learning you find out how much more there is to learn.

    Spending some time with other turners is a great way to expedite the learning process.
     
  21. John Roberts

    John Roberts

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    Location (City & State):
    Henrico, VA
    Jim,
    Being relatively new as well I feel your pain on this. I'm not in the desert, but have found Craigslist and even more so Facebook Marketplace EXTREMELY useful. I haven't heard this verbatim, but I think people feel more comfortable giving their addresses out to someone with a face, as opposed to a complete stranger on Craigslist. I have alerts on both FB Marketplace and Craigslist to let me know when someone posts anything that contains 'wood' and is free. I have found from searching time to time that some folks have something a little rarer (for here at least) like Apple, Cherry, etc. and will charge something like $50 per load, but more often than not, they just want someone to come get it for free rather than paying someone to do so. Works out great for both of us, I get free wood, and they get some of it taken away. You'd be surprised how many people come out of the wood works (pardon my pun) when someone has a tree come down in a storm or felled by a pro, and just want to get rid of the wood. I know it's frustrating because you need supply NOW, but just be patient and things will start to show up, and you'll start to make connections.

    I made a contact recently on Facebook Marketplace with someone who advertised some Sycamore, ended up owning a tree service, long story short they basically dropped a pile of Sycamore in my driveway for free, but also said that they would love to call me when they find something in particular (black walnut, cherry, maple) because they'd rather someone use it than just dump it.

    IMG_3764.jpg

    Ironically, all of my efforts to contact tree services haven't yielded much, but in your situation it couldn't hurt to try. Always keep your eyes peeled when driving around. If you see a tree down in someone's yard, I guarantee they'll appreciate you offering to cut it up and take some away for them. I continue to find it awe inspiring how useless some people a little younger than my generation are, but that's another subject :).

    Word to the wise, if you don't own a chainsaw, buy one, and don't be too cheap about it. Once you start bringing free wood in, you'll need to start processing blanks.

    Also, if you haven't heeded the advice about getting in touch with your local AAW chapter, do it. I'm FINALLY looking forward to my first chapter meeting this month (I haven't been able to attend previously because of family scheduling), and I may not be invited back because I'll be asking so many questions.

    Keep having fun!

    -John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2019
  22. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Many woodturning clubs raise money for the club by auctioning club member items on a monthly basis, many times the members donate wood blanks and logs which is a good opportunity to add to your wood inventory. Many times a club member will know where free trees and logs are for the asking.
     
  23. Ed Meyer

    Ed Meyer

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    Location (City & State):
    North Bend, Oregon
    I have found driving around on the Oregon coast in a pickup there is a lot of wood available after a storm. Where you live there is not a lot of growing trees, but you can go for a drive to some place in your state where there is growing trees and you will find them. Blow downs are usually good, but with a good chain saw you will get some.
     
  24. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Location (City & State):
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    I find it strange sometimes, that I offer, for free, a tree or log on a sight like this and get no takers. Got a black walnut I'll be cutting down sometime this month (dead 18 inches in diameter chest high) Will be cutting a bird cherry that is even larger sometime this year. Even when I offer to cut it up into chunks or even to load the log on their trailer. I offered chunks from a 19 inch diameter mulberry a few months ago and had one person show up and take 3 or 4 chunks. I ended up giving much of it away for firewood.

    I have a 12 x 12 stall in the barn stacked with the wood I am storing for future use. If I already have "enough" of that species, I offer it for free to others. When I get tired of it laying around, it is donated for firewood through a charity. that supplies it to poor families who heat with wood. . .
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  25. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    Location (City & State):
    Bashaw, Alberta
    Wish I could take you up on that but sadly it just to far to drive across canada and then into the states.
     
  26. Ed Meyer

    Ed Meyer

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    Location (City & State):
    North Bend, Oregon
    If I was in Pennsylvania I would even help cut it down. But here on the Oregon coast we have very little B.Walnut, but tons of Myrtle wood.. It does seem that even if you live in the dessert there is always wood to turn.
    Ed Meyer
     
  27. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    If you were maybe 800 miles closer , in a heartbeat.
     

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