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Old 01-31-2017, 03:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
Herb G's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 1,411
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Default Mark that wood!

I have several larger pieces of exotic wood in my basement that were not marked. Luckily, I saved the emails where I bought these online.
I went by the dimensions in the emails to determine which woods they were.
Here's my little tip. If the wood is not marked when you buy it, mark it immediately. Trust me, it all looks the same after awhile.
Especially if it's in the same family species of wood.

Then, BEFORE you slice a hunk off it for a project, sand an area smooth, then mark it again, away from where you are cutting off what you need.
After you cut off what you need, mark it too.

Every time you mark it, you are learning the characteristics of that wood whether you realize it or not. Horizontal grain can look completely different from vertical grain. Quarter sawn grain is almost certainly different from ripped grain, and definitely different than cross cut grain, even on the same piece of wood.

I recently spent several days going up & down the stairs looking up old emails & writing down the sizes of wood, and then matching them up with the wood I have on hand.
I would have much rather spent that time doing something else besides wearing out my knees, believe me.

I hope this helps someone out there, and maybe motivate someone to save their knees.
Be happy in your work...Col. Saito

My lathes:

Floor Lathe
Bench top lathe

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Old 01-31-2017, 05:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Utah Valley
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Good advice. I know I've been doing it with MOST of my wood, but not all. I suppose I should start doing with the rest.
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Sanborn, MN
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It is for this reason that I keep an ultra fine point Sharpie marker on one of the shelves in my wood storage area. If it's a wood that is too dark for the black marker to show up on, I'll grab the silver Sharpie paint pen out of the pen cup on the workbench 10' away.

For the first year of turning, I didn't hardly label anything - I trusted myself to remember. After I had collected a few hundred pen blanks, I was starting to have a hard time remembering what some of the one-off or more exotic blanks I had were. Now everything gets labelled.
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Southern Maryland
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I keep a No. 1 & a No. 2 pencil on hand for different woods.
A few Sharpies are also in my pencil cup. I have some white enamel paint markers I keep for the really dark woods.

Believe me, I learned my lesson about marking wood. My knees are killing me.
Be happy in your work...Col. Saito

My lathes:

Floor Lathe
Bench top lathe

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Old 02-01-2017, 09:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Manassas Park, Virginia, USA.
Posts: 2,459
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As it was told to me, "Ve are too soon olt, unt too late schmart"!
Excellent advice.
One step further, if it is significant to you, put your source. I have a coco blank that is just too beautiful to cut... It will be a personal "forever" pen if I do, but their name is on the blank as well, lest I forget.

I put names on all my memorabilia hanging around too, so that I can remember and honor the contributors.

I'm getting sentimental (and forgetful) in my old age!

just a thought!
Manassas Park, Va.
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: West Henrietta, NY, USA.
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When I started I wasn't very careful labeling everything and quickly learned my lesson. Now I label all my wood, not just pen blanks. Logs, bowl blanks, spindles etc. When significant I also mark who or where I got it from. If I don't know what the wood is I mark it with where I got it. Sometimes that is just the name of the road where I found the log!
West Henrietta, NY
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Macomb Twp., Michigan, USA.
Posts: 526
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Paint pens work well on the waxed end of wood. Simple felt pens work well on the side of blanks. I found that pencil does not last and fades (?) after a time.

Work safe!
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Old 02-06-2017, 04:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Thirsk
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I got some wood crayons at a yard sale- very handy but must admit I use masking tape and a pen or pencil on pen blanks ( after forgetting what quite a lot I "acquired" were )

I've never had a pencil fade, mainly it's my memory and eyesight that's faded !

Regards Ian
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