Sunday, October 17, 2010

Material Frustration

So this is the 100th post huh? Too bad it deals in frustration heh.
The doors hung, edges treated, and finish applied the cabinet is basically done. It's strange just how plain it looks without those pulls. I feel the addition of the pulls will make a world of difference (hopefully for the better ha).
The Maple has finished a littler more yellow than anticipated. Only used 4 thin coats of extra blonde shellac and one coat wax. The material I had aside for the stand is Golden Narra, a golden yellow color of course. I got started mocking up a stand and then took Narra samples to the cabinet only to have mu stomach turn. It was too close and tooooo much yellow going on >:/ .
I think if the match was closer to the Maple yet of differing "qualities" say Oak of sorts, Hickory, and so on it could work. However seeing as how this is supposed to be more of a "show piece" I'm wanting a higher contrast.
The other side of this disappointment, other than the money needed for new material, time taken to find/get new wood, and just wanting to wrap this project up, is that the Narra I have is 2 7/8" thick! I was going to utilize the + 8/4 in my leg shapes. Now I have to re-design the stand!

As I have said many a time before, there is no where good to go here for a selection of lumber. Also it is disappointing that we really don't have any domestics that are in the honey brown color range (like Teak).

I went to the whole of two local commercial lumber yards and found nothing for my cabinet (no surprise). I though perhaps Jatoba could work but there was only 5/4 to be had at one place. So look like I need to order something.
Called up my guy at Cormark (Jason who is awesome by the way) and briefly chatted with him about ideas and what he had in. I think Teak would be quite fitting but man, at $30 PER b/f? I'm thinking I need to get 20 b/f here to get what I need... $600 for a stand I wasn't prepared to pay for? If this was a commissioned piece it would be a different story.
There are other options like Iroko or some sort of Meranti, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with those as I have never worked with them and haven't seen anyone else who has. I really don't know how those woods age. I called Cormark because I knew they have some Kwila which is what I think I will go for unless he has some Brown Doussie or something, whish I doubt they do.
So while I wait for stand wood I will do some sketching of a new stand and thought I would at least start on the saw horses I've been wanting which is what the Ash pictured above is for.

However, while at one place I did find this guy. I saw it and immediately thought "that's perfect for the desk I want to do!" Except for the LARGE check of course. I figure I would need to rip this piece a couple times to work with it anyway and the check is decently contained across maybe 3 grain lines, and the fact that it would be a veneered top makes it a little easier to work around.
There wasn't enough material to get the rest of the desk from though and it's only 4/4 so it will really only serve as a possible top >:(. One reason why I don't like these kind of shops, they use material indiscriminately. How can you do that with such a beautiful tree!?! The grain, the color! AH!
I figure at $35 for a beautiful top, I would regret not taking it.
So now here's a challenge... find other walnut with similar enough color to make the rest.

I heartily dislike going to these kinds of places. At least around here. At 27 I'm one of the young guys coming in and get treated like an uneducated child. They are the ones who look confused at me when I say I'm looking for straight grained rift sawn 8/4 material. Most don't actually know what Rift is. What am I building? It doesn't frickin matter, I know what I want and need. Oh, you want leg stalk? Well that plank there is quartered... I said RIFT. Do you know know that furniture is 3 dimensional? You get two side with straight grain quartered but what about the other two? Garbage. Oh, well this plank has some rift then that one over there... Those are different colors! We tend to look for "interesting" wood. Oh so what you do is cut part of the trunk to get the crotch and the another part of the trunk to get the butt of the tree. So you're trying to make "Nakashima" slabs out of any tree you get and wasting the prime real estate without even thinking about it. Boy getting that rift sounds like a lot of waste. Yeah? well what I'm building may be better for the tree, it will be beautiful and have a much longer and happier life than your failed "Nakashima" table (don't use his name in vain ha) or your mismatched gaudy gun rack.
Every time I leave I wish to never return.


Nick Brygidyr said...


Matt Petersen said...

Nick –
I share your frustration when it comes to dealing with the average wood dealer. I’m in my forties and they treat me like an idiot as well. But I have to think there has to be at least one decent source in the greater Minneapolis metro area. There’s a number of other very talented furniture makers that exhibit at the Xylos Gallery ( Have you tried networking with any of these folks? They may know of some sources you have yet to discover. Perhaps you could pool your resources and purchase some boules. Then it just becomes a celebrity death match to determine who walks away with the choicest planks!;-)
Keep pluggin’,
Matt Petersen

Nicholas Nelson said...

Well, I know I'm not the only one ;).
I do know Xylos and a classmate/friend shows there too, Craig Johnson. We share the same feelings on the topic.
There really aren't any "commercial" dealers that I know of in this state or any state the border MN that has any real kind of selection.
Around here it's about finding, perhaps stumbling upon the local small sawyers. They are the ones that are more likely to have the cuts we need. Also having much lower over head they tend to "pass the savings on". Sometimes it's also about dropping a line at the right time, such as my little Cherry log find. Treat these fine people right and they my drop you a line when something comes their way :).

Brandon said...

Take a look at my friend's site: I am a sawyer, and I would be happy to cut any of the logs I have on my property to your specifications at my cost ($50/log). Walnut, Honey Locust, Bur Oak, Maples. If it grows around here, I can get it.

Brandon (712) 363-2189

Brandon said...

I am in Northwest Iowa.