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Old 02-19-2010, 01:27 PM   #1
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Coice of wood for table

Hello woodworkers

I am building a side table(about 7' by 20") for dining room which already has a walnut table and chest which I built. I would say my skills are middle of the road. Everything I have done to date is either walnut or cherry.

Wood choices I have been considering are mahagony, Blood wood, sapelli, walnut and bubinga. (Excuse the spelling if it's wrong.) All but walnut are locally available in sizes that woul allow the top to be one piece.

I would like there to be interesting grain patterns, for the wood to be somewhat easy (or at least not near impossible) to work. I don't know these woods at all but have been informed that bloodwood is uniform in grain pattern, that bubinga has a grain pattern which may cause pulling out if hand planed. Mahagony i think of as easy to work but with uniform grain pattern and thus possibly not so interesting.

Because the available planks are so large I am also concerned that they will split on the ends if cut.

I will be very interested in others' comments.




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Old 02-19-2010, 01:29 PM   #2
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I would post this question to the woodworking forum. There is a link at the bottom of the page but here is the link if I copied it correctly.

Could you click on your username and update your basic location when you are thinking about it? It helps with comments to know where people are.


Last edited by user1007; 02-19-2010 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Added URL
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:36 PM   #3
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For a 20" table I would use multiply 1x8 pieces. One piece would have a tendency to cup and split.
For the 3 piece setup, you would alternate the growth rings for the top to minimize the cupping aspect. If you've been building furniture, you know about the moisture factor already.
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:42 PM   #4
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True mahogany is very hard. Much of what is claimed to be mahogany is not mahogany at all, for example Phillippine mahogany is an unrelated species. Bubinga is also quite hard. All of the woods you mentioned except for walnut are relatively rare, usually quite expensive, and come from (likely endangered) rain forest. If that concerns you at all, you might consider going back to cherry or walnut, both of which are US products, and not particularly rare, but in my opinion are just as attractive as any tropical hardwood. Myself, I build most of my furniture from cherry, and in the kitchen I used maple.

As for the previous comment, I agree, building a table top out of a 20 inch wide board is almost certainly going to lead to warping. If you had a wide board, you could of course cut it into thirds, adjust the growth rings, and glue it up. For true mahogany, I believe you will need a different type of glue than the typical woodworkers glue, best to check with a knowledgeable supplier if you go that route.
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