What is your favorite wood to turn and why?

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Humongous

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Was experimenting with a one piece trimline and did this one out of Sassafras. While turning this question popped into my head. What is your favorite wood to turn and why?




My two would be Sassafras as it has that root beer type aroma, and Zebrawood because it smells kind of like chocolate. Both smell based for me.
 
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So far, Cocobola and Olivewood. Both are pretty easy to come by and both have incredible figure and are easy to turn. I like Koa, but it is not easy for me to get locally.

Of course, now that I see Swagopenturner's post about Mesquite, I may have to reach out to inquire about trying some of that, too. So many choices!
 

leehljp

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Wow, can't believe the others who like desert ironwood also!

Desert Ironwood, followed by ebony (persimmon), then olive wood for the smell.

For color: Bloodwood and Holly.

Can't just name one!
 

penicillin

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Was experimenting with a one piece trimline and did this one out of Sassafras. While turning this question popped into my head. What is your favorite wood to turn and why?

[image of pen]

My two would be Sassafras as it has that root beer type aroma, and Zebrawood because it smells kind of like chocolate. Both smell based for me.
I believe that the question was meant to ask about the turning process and which woods you enjoy turning.

My favorite would be olive wood. It smells delightful when turned, like olive oil. It is very easy to turn. The grain is very appealing. It has historic and religious interest (especially if it comes from the Holy Land). It makes great pens. Who could complain about that?

One of my friends says that Zebrawood smells like the back end of the zebra. I wouldn't go that far, but I don't find it particularly pleasant. I never tried sassafras.
 

SteveG

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I will offer two woods based on fragrance: Olive wood and Camphor wood (burl). Enjoyable to turn with the added bonus of fragrance, and beautiful end result. I am unable to pick just one, obviously.:rolleyes:

There are three others, all sharing my top spot: these are also easy to turn, and yield outstanding visuals on the finished item: VERY Curly Koa (when I lived in Hawaii, one of the main retailers of this beautiful wood had special nomenclature for the grade of curly Koa I am referring to...they called it WHIZ-BANG!), Multi-color Buckeye Burl (stabilized and dyed with gold), and deep red Amboyna burl.

If I had to pick one, I would become stressed out! :eek::eek: I want to enjoy turning, so I will leave it at five favorites. :biggrin::biggrin:
 

GaryMGg

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McIntosh, Florida, USA.
Amboyna Burl.
Smells like roses; turns beautifully.

Second is a tie between Olivewood & Bloodwood; both smell great and turn cleanly.

Fourth is Heart Pine.
Doesn’t every woodworker love the smell of real pine?
 

BSea

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Picking my favorite wood is like picking my favorite ice cream, but here goes.

African Blackwood. Turns like a dream, and polishes like glass.

Lignum Vitae. Turns like a dream, and polishes like glass.

Amboyna Burl. Almost nothing as pretty, and smells great too.

Desert Ironwood. Would be my absolute favorite, but it smells like dirt when turning.

Black Ash Burl. I just love the way it looks finished.
 

pshrynk

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I really like the way maple burl looks when done.

I have some 100 year old ash flooring that makes a really tight grained turn. Not a lot of interesting texture, but for overall uniformity, it has some interest.
 

Dehn0045

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The main thing that attracted me to penturning was having a reason to collect and use a variety of woods. I haven't taken the time to get a complete inventory of the different species that I have now, but I'd say its well over 100. Sometimes I just sit and sort through blanks with no real purpose -- I know, I'm strange. Anyway, I've tried to come up with an answer to this and every time I try to narrow it down I just get lost and give up. But then I thought, "what woods are my least favorite?". For that question I have an answer - I turned a Makore pen once that was so plain and boring I almost didn't want to give it away. Unfortunately the coworker that I gave the pen to really likes it, so I have to see that crappy looking wood about once a week. I'm also not a fan of straight grain oak (yes this includes the whiskey barrel pens) -- I think that I split (by hand) too much white oak for firewood, it brings back painful memories (like actual physical pain). The last one that makes my list of dislikes is Jatoba, I think it looks ok for larger flatwork, but the pen that I made from it looked like a turd - dull, plain, and brown.

I'm not too surprised by the lists of likes generated by others. In addition, I'd put texas ebony, oxhorn bucida (bulletwood), bocote, cork burl, imbuia (smells wonderful), cocobolo (I'm not allergic yet). But man, the more I think, the longer my list gets.
 

Xel

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Longmont, Colorado
Turning is very much a sensory indulgence for me, so I gravitate towards woods with "interesting" smells (even the, erm, pungent ones like desert ironwood).

So if I had to narrow it down, my favorite wood would be palo santo by far. It makes my shop smell like a temple, and I haven't yet found the number of CA coats that covers that scent up.
 

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Dalecamino

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Honduran Rosewood Burl, because it is absolutely stunning to view. Followed by Olivewood, for it color and grain pattern. Followed by Desert Ironwood, and all Aussie woods. For the same reasons. :wink:
 

BKelley

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I guess I would have to say African Blackwood is my favorite. It turns great, nice and crisp. It polishes out beautiful, almost to the point it needs no finish on it. Olivewood is next because of the figured grain and then Honduran Rosewood Burl for the beauty and hardness After these three comes any wood with a War between the States or historical significance.

Ben
 

Texas Taco

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I really like the look of anything turned out of mesquite but I can't turn it due to being highly allergic to mesquite. 😟

My favorite to turn is actually several different species. African Blackwood, Bocote, Cocobolo, Black and White Ebony, and Zebrawood are all ranked number two on my list due to color(s) and grain patterns. I also like the way they turn and finish.

Bodark, Bodarc, Bois 'D Arc, Horse Apple, "that °√¥¢π{✓¥@& thorn tree", or Osage Orange, which ever you call it, is my favorite wood to turn for pens and game calls. I like the way it turns, finishes and ages after turning. An added benefit is the more I turn using Bodark, the fewer Bodark trees are around.
 
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Curly

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Like the mom that says she loves all her children, I like them all. Some are a little more challenging to work with. Some smell nice and others don't. Some are a little fussy to sand smooth and get a good finish on. They are what makes the "sport" fun.
 
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