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The hardest thing about hardwoods

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Peegoo, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do a lot of stuff with small pieces of hardwood (guitar bridges, bridge plates, head plates, inlays, etc.), and I have a whole bunch of it in small pieces. Storing it is not easy; I've tried stocking it by type, color, size, you name it, and no method seems very efficient...except now that I think about it, perhaps the fireplace is a good option.

    But this stuff is not cheap, and tossing it out (even small pieces) is throwing money away. Over time, little pieces end up in boxes and containers, and I occasionally have to gather it all and make some sense of it; today was one of those days because I didn't feel like making sawdust but I wanted to hang out in the shop.

    I have maybe 40-50 different types of wood in this little collection from acacia to zebrano and everything in between, and I currently store it in small plastic bins that stack. Is there a better way? How do you keep this stuff in a small shop?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I am more curious to know how you keep track of what everything is. Do you label it, or do you just have an intimate knowledge of woods? I suppose maybe it's the smell.
     
  3. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    noooo...had a mishap the other day with a saw cutting a lump of hardwood ...converting a 6 string neck to a 12....on hiatus at mo due to a nasty gouge to the bone in right thumb....not used to sawing with left hand...my own fault...morning coffee hadnt woke me up enough to work properly
    thanks a zill for the hard timber reminder....
    mind you...i love digging through things that are hardwood...dismantled a discarded art deco wardrobe in the alley...just for a corner wedge to use to make a bridge for a rigid neck teachest bass
     
  4. Henley

    Henley Tele-Holic

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    Maybe use a rack system like the post office uses to hold sorted mail. Make it for nothing and sorting/accessibility should be a breeze.
     
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  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been working with domestics and imports/exotics for a long time. You get to a point where the side grain, end grain, weight, color and smell identify it. For me, the most difficult to differentiate are the woods in the mahogany and the rosewood families.
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I put little pieces in baggies, write on the outside what it is and toss 'em in a box under my band saw. Binding and long pieces I put a piece of masking tape around and write with a magic marker. However I also only have four or five kinds of wood, not forty or fifty.
     
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  7. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    reminds me of how i graded different iron and steel when blacksmithing...and spark testing them...some steels have quite a high lead content..the colour and density or quantity of sparks tells you what you have got..even down to the sound that different grades make when a grinder hits them.and the damage done by abrasive wheel..funny how 2 different disciplines come to similar methods for things..
    like you i bagged and noted smaller bits then create a blend of different metal and forge them into a billet
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
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  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've heard stories of some of the old timers tossing pieces of Braz in the wood stove to heat their shops. And I used to do that way back when I built racing boats - we had a wood stove in the shop and I'd throw scraps of spruce and mahogany in to keep warm and get rid of the scraps.
     
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  9. Wulf

    Wulf Tele-Afflicted

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    metal holds heat nicely and saves on chopping wood...if you leave slag untill you got plenty...in the forge it goes...its still full of carbon that under right conditions and heat leaches into the surface of your work wood is better than straight charcoal for what i do i mix it with coke and then set the bellows to give a good airflow...wood becomes your charcoal before it reduces to ash..adding to your works carbon content...i made an ulfbehrt replica sword from an old leafspring like that...heat treated it ...quenched in blood from a slaughterhouse...again ...carbon...then clean it and temper it...once right shade of blue its perferct
    looks i got though...untill my mate told them what i wanted it for and why
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
  10. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use the plastic bin method as well although I don't have as many pieces laying around as you do.
     
  11. lowatter

    lowatter Tele-Meister

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    Nice selection to draw upon. Nice neat shop too!
     
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  12. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    Cut into veneers and make rosettes
     
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  13. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cutting boards . But you already knew that .
     
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  14. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    I had a lot of wood... although not nearly the variety you have. Kept every cut-off I ever accumulated, along with all the overbuys when I purchased stock.

    While it was nice to have the stock right there... eventually I gave in and began just burning it in the wood stove. It was nice to not have all the clutter.
     
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  15. Intubator

    Intubator Tele-Holic

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    I suppose I'd organize them by species, that would be my first thought about what to reach for.
     
  16. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I dont have that many but quite a few from boatbuilding days..... and some bigger pieces too. Some I dont even know what they are. Teak, cocobolo, rosewood, south american mystery wood that is super heavy, but not quite as heavy as ironbark etc.
     
  17. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll give that a shot; keep the bags in the containers. Should make it easier to find the piece I need for the job.
     
  18. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm an inveterate pack rat myself :).

    Both of my folks grew up during the Great Depression, when even the most minor things had value and many people developed the habit of saving or hanging on to things that still had some life left in them or could be re-purposed.

    I picked up that trait or habit by osmosis when I was growing up.

    I've got a good stash of beautiful hardwoods, both domestic and foreign. Some of it I milled myself from trees people wanted removed or from storm damaged trees. My storage scheme for small or odd-sized pieces suitable for knife handles, pistol grips, bridge plates, headstock overlays, and the like is similar to Freeman's, except I keep mine in boxes separated by region of the world instead of bags. I've got a pretty good idea of what's there, but sometimes I'll get a burst of inspiration when I lay eyes on a piece I'd forgotten about.

    I keep larger pieces suitable for guitar bodies or necks stickered up on a dedicated shelving system.

    For my "real pretty wood" that's already cut to thickness for acoustics and laminate tops for electrics, I label all of that stuff and store it in purpose built presses I built out of uni-strut and threaded rod so I can keep it clamped tight and flat without worrying about it warping and going to hell ;).

    It's pretty amazing how a stash can grow when you're a sucker for a pretty piece of wood :).
     
  19. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    As you might remember, I just built a classical guitar totally out of wood that I had on hand. It was really fun sorting thru all the baggies trying to find enough pieces of this and that and something else. I had to laugh because the trim pieces were left overs of Brazilian rosewood from the one Braz guitar that I built a long time ago. Here is this guitar that didn't cost me anything but I can't take it across the border

    And yes, like Old Wrench, I'm a shameless wood slut and I can't help buying beautiful wood and stashing it away. My wood storage is a corner of the basement room where we store a few bottles of nice wine - wood and wine like the same conditions. Sometimes when I'm selecting a bottle for dinner I'll take a look at the stash....

    ps - I'm 75 and I've decided I better start building with the wood (and drinking the wine). When I die I plan to leave one bottle to each of my kids and maybe a few guitars.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
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  20. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    A lot of small pieces I collect make great small cutting boards great for gifts. when i retired ai helped a friend in his cabinet shop I learned a lot about throwing stuff in the dumpster.........you can only bring so much home
     
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