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Old 09-13-2012, 11:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Default Where to buy wood?

Hello everyone. I'm new to pen turning but in the process of getting all of the thins I need to get going. I'm in South East Florida. My question is...other than on line, where is my best source of exotic woods? I am capable of cutting it down to size so I can buy in bulk, but cannot seem to find a lumber yard here in south east florida that I can drive to. I like to see before I buy. Any suggestions? or should I just stick with online auctions for wood? thanks, John
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Welcome.
I can't really give you any advice about locations where you are for wood resellers. I know that we have one lumberyard in my area that occassionally sells some of the more exotic lumber. There is a WoodCraft in the area that I enjoy going to. They will get larger blocks that can be cut down to size.
I have purchased a number of chunks from ebay but I also look at wood suppliers that simply sell burls and such.
I have purchased some fine woods from Griffin exotic wood at Griffin Exotic Wood--High quality exotic woods
Unless you can find a store, you might be stuck with pictures and the internet.
Talk with local tree services. Some of my most spectacular blanks I have found in my wood pile that I cut up for firewood. Often they have to pay to get the wood hauled off. If you take some, it's less they have to pay for.
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sw Florida is a poor place for exotic wood choices. Almost everything has to be shipped in.
Other than cabbage Palm. You might try a cabinet supply business for cherry and maple or a flooring store for left over pieces of other woods. Most of the wood I use for blanks came from Ebay. I bought mostly board lumber rather than pen blanks because of the cost per board foot.
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcicatel@hotmail.com View Post
Hello everyone. I'm new to pen turning but in the process of getting all of the thins I need to get going. I'm in South East Florida. My question is...other than on line, where is my best source of exotic woods? I am capable of cutting it down to size so I can buy in bulk, but cannot seem to find a lumber yard here in south east florida that I can drive to. I like to see before I buy. Any suggestions? or should I just stick with online auctions for wood? thanks, John
If you are in South East Florida then you have easy access to at least one great turning club, maybe as many as 3 depending on how far you want to drive and where you are. Palm Beach Woodturners in Palm Beach county. Goldcoast woodturners in Broward and South Florida woodturners in Dade. All great clubs with large active friendly memberships.j

Get contact details here:
Local Chapters - The American Association of Woodturners

Now to your question. Join the club and get regular wood alerts from the clubs (along with lots of other benefits) letting you know when and where fantastic tropical hardwood trees are coming down. I can't imagine ever paying for exotic wood. The stuff grows on trees down here!

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Old 09-13-2012, 12:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Sw Florida is a poor place for exotic wood choices.
Mike - I find this really hard to believe, unless you have a very different definition of exotic. You mentioned maple and cherry, while that may be exotic to Florida, it's not what I would typically classify as "exotic". I'm thinking things more like Mahoganies, Rosewoods, Acacias, Norfolk Island Pine, tamarinds and dozens of others. You won't find them at home depot, but why pay for wood when you can just go pick up whatever you want for free?

Even for those who don't have the tools to process logs into turning blanks, joining a local turning club will almost always hook you up with a bunch of people willing to help (and often free access to equipment).

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Old 09-13-2012, 12:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I do belong to the local turning club. There are oak trees here but they are protected by the county, as is the sable Cabbage palm tree. Mallucca or the paper tree is abundant. so is slash pine. Wood craft closed a year or so ago. Most of the Norfolk pine is gone as it is declared an invasive species. Cypress might be a option but its pretty bland. I have 10 acres of cypress swamp and most of the trees other than the cypress/ and slash pines are scrub sized.
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Hi Mike - I don't get over to the west coast much anymore. I didn't realize it was so different than the east coast now. The government zealots are furiously working to exterminate the norfolk, rosewoods and some others over here as well. Then businesses and condo developments are taking out large trees to try and deal with insurance liability issues. This has wiped out a lot of beautiful old growth mahoganies and acacias as well (sad, even though we end up with tons of wood as a results. Still a lot of trees over here though. I got a couple wood alerts just this week.

I just planted 4 mahoganies on my property last year. Hopefully a future generation of woodturners will have access to some great turning wood after a hurricane. Hopefully distant future.

I really like cypress even though it doesn't have spectacular grain or color. It's a good wood for embellishing (a blank canvas) with burning, dyes or such. I also love turning hollow forms when it's wet. It's super easy to get ultra thin walls which make piercing embellishments a breeze.

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Old 09-13-2012, 01:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Not sure if they are still there but Constantines had a store in Ft. Lauderdale. Google it.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Constantine's had their going out of business sale a couple of months ago. The local woodcraft closed it's doors last year.

Ed
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Blue and black spruce, alder and birch, that's it.....all the trees I have to work with in my area. My wood blanks sell better than the antler, bone and ivory I offer, at least so far. Look around, construction sites especially demolition of old homes, root balls of common trees can be spectacular and any time there is storm damage you can find burl wood laying around folks dont want messin up there yard. Check with your local forest service and ask about invasive trees........I have herd of some areas payin folks to remove trees that have fine wood but don't belong in the area. Others where harvesting was limited to invasive species.

Honestly huntin up the wood is more fun than turning it sometimes.
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