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Furniture Grade Pine

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Alan Lappin28/09/2009 13:34:38
13 forum posts
A relative has asked me to make a computer desk out of pine, the only job i have ever made from pine was a few years ago from pre manufactured boards from a local diy store it was a bit of a disaster as there were holes from knots missing and tear out from planing since then i have only used hard woods mainly oak.. So could someone tell me the type of pine to ask for ie Douglas fir, Red wood etc, i have heard of un sorted timber whatever that means.
Im sure somebody can help thanks.
Big Al28/09/2009 17:35:15
1604 forum posts
73 photos
Hi Alan, joinery grade softwood is generally known as redwood, and you wont usually find it in DIY shed's. Your best bet would be a builder's merchant's, such as buildbase, travis perkin's etc.. They usually stock it in length's up to 5.5 metre's, and it is never wrapped up, usually in rack's stood up against a wall.
Another option would be to locate a timber importer who stock's southern yellow pine. Use to locate a timber importer or builder's merchant near you.
Alan Lappin29/09/2009 21:22:49
13 forum posts
Thanks for coming back to me.
I was under the impression that redwoods come in different hardness some more suited for furniture than others.
I use a local wood merchant that sells softwood only for diy jobs and trial peaces for the dovetail gig etc.
What concerns me is if i ask for redwood they may sell me the best they have, but with my inexperience i wont know weather it is suited for furniture or not.
Hope you can help
Big Al01/10/2009 17:27:13
1604 forum posts
73 photos
Alan, whenever I go to buy timber, no matter where from, I always select my own timber. With regards to different hardness of softwood, generally I have found that there is only a noticeable difference between whitewood, which is found in DIY sheds, and joinery grade softwood, ie., redwood.
When selecting wood generally avoid splits, dead knots and check to see if it is straight, avoiding any really bad pieces that could be twisted and bowed.
If you have a concern about cost of timber, research costs before setting out to buy your timber. Most timber merchants will tell you how much their timber is, either phone them or email them. Builders merchants tend to be a bit cagey when you first approach them, as most of them deal with builders using accounts and they tend to give their regulars better discounts. But they should give you a price.
Usually if you buy your timber from a builders merchant they will price their timber by the running metre, although a timber merchant will price timber either by the cubic foot, or by the cubic metre, and always assume that they will add VAT onto whatever price they quote you. 
Sparky01/10/2009 17:51:06
7631 forum posts
22 photos
If ever you use B&Q for wood, you can always open the packs and sort out the best as all timber in packs can be bought singularly...........but, if your buying the same amount in a pack, make sure you tell the checkout as the singular wood is more expensive..........just check there is a bar code on one piece and note the price for the packs.
Cedric Wheeler01/10/2009 17:52:30
154 forum posts
31 photos
Hi Alan
I have used the pre-prepared pine boards with success in the past and made my own computer cabinet with this material (see the pics in my album). The advantage of this is that it is generally made from 50mm wide laminated strips and therefore is likely to be more stable than jf you use wider boards. Also if you are going to buy boards and laminate yourself then you have the problem of getting them sanded to get a good finish.
The main thing is to select them carefully when you buy them. They come in various widths and lengths and are usually finished to 20mm thick. My computer cabinet has no joints in it. It is all butt joints screwed together and then the holes plugged with wooden plugs.
I hope that this will help rather than confuse you even more!
Alan Lappin03/10/2009 22:07:24
13 forum posts
Thanks for your advice guys.
I've learned a lot in a few words.
I'll chose my timber this week and get it delivered asap.
Cedric very nice piece, the feet did you buy them or turn them yourself also the finish, great shine wax,varnish?
I'm going to make the boards myself and see how i go i'll buy the planks in at 150mm wide so i may have to cut them down turn one round and glue together. The design is based on shaker so the panels will have to be planed down to approx 14mm thick do you think i might have a twisting problem
Thanks again
Cedric Wheeler03/10/2009 22:45:59
154 forum posts
31 photos
Hi Alan
The feet for my cabinet were turned by me mainly because I wanted my cabinet to match a bought sideboard that it would be standing next to in my diningroom. The finish is sanding sealer, then a mixture of three different colours of Rustins varnish stain. I sprayed it on but it could have been applied by brush.
Best of luck making your own boards  Try and select them yourself if possible and get boards that are cut as near the centre of the tree as possible. This will give you a board nearest to quarter cut and hence the most stable. With 150mm wide boards you do risk getting cupping in your boards. i suggest that you rip them in half before joining  and then turn the alternative one which will give you a much more stable board. Once you have glued them up try and find a friendly joinery shop who can plane and sand them to finished size for you. 
Andy King07/10/2009 18:48:12
170 forum posts
8 photos
19 articles
Sorry for not replying to this before everyone, I've not been about for a while.
Anyway, to answer your question Alan, if it's redwood for joinery, then U/S timber or unsorted as you have said, is the best.
Oddly, it is actuially sorted though, usually a simple grading by eye to check for knots, splits etc at the bulk sawn stage (225x50 & 225 x 75mm for example)
Next down from that, and the stuff that moulded timber, architraves, dado's skirtings etc is 5ths.
That's also the stuff you see as flat boards at timber merchants as PAR or PSE stock.
Those two types are the only ones i'd consider as suitable for decent  furniture making from scratch.
Unsorted should be available from a decent timber yard, but you won't find it at the sheds (B&Q etc)
However, if you go to a B&Q warehouse, they usually have a good range of random length PSE in 5ths, and sort though it and you can get some decent timber.
Steer clear of the pre packed banded timber - the stuff sold in 1.8m 2.1m 2.4m etc, as that is normally white wood and no good for furniture work. Usually once the bands are cut the timber bends and twists all over the place!
Big Al is sort of right with the pricing of timber, although it is changing, depending on where you go.
Hardwoods are usually sold by the cubit foot, but some merchants are now reverting to running lengths, and altering the cost according to the thickness of the board.
General redwood/softwood has been sold by the running length based on width/thickness for years, but you do find that the timber yards that stock hardwoods and some other softwoods such as Douglas Fir will often price that by the cube as well.
Finding a stockist of U/S softwood is becoming more difficult (at least, it is around Bristol) as there aren't so many yards, and the mass produced furniture imports, cheap flat pack furniture  plus uPVC double glazing have seen off a lot of need for decent joinery pine.
If you look in Yellow Pages you should be able to find a local timber yard that stock it or should be able to get some or advise where you can go to get some.
hope this helps.

Alan Lappin08/10/2009 22:27:57
13 forum posts
Thanks Andy.
 With the help of everyone i sure i know what to look for as tomorrow I'm off to the wood yard to buy the timber, i rang them today and they told me they had scandinavian pine.
When its finished I'll try to get some photos on the site.
Thanks again everyone.
lowen nas17/08/2012 12:02:05
1 forum posts

Hi Alan,

You can use pre-prepared pine boards.


Lowennas Pine Furniture.

Sam18/08/2012 01:29:23
386 forum posts
110 photos

Hi Andy , I dont know where in the country you are but if you are South West , somerset , dorset border , it may be worth trying Snow's timber at glastonbury , they are a division of bradfords and stock a very large range of timber and I have been there for stock . They also have Branches in Andover , Dudley and Mansfield . Their site is very comprohensive **LINK**

Kind regards sam

Jack Flaming04/10/2012 08:54:30
3 forum posts

I think you should go for softwoods like pine, cedar, and redwood.

Ivor the engine04/10/2012 17:49:21
270 forum posts
46 photos

Hi! Alan, My advice any demolion sites you have or reclaim yards go and see there floor joist and floor boards may be nail holes but people pay alot for furniture made out of this,


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