Wood - A Haul for the Months Ahead



My Pile of Timber


I had been saving up for some months to buy a pile of wood for this winter. A couple of days ago I finally made it to the lumber yards 70 km across the city to haul some timber back.

I was disappointed to see that very little imported timber was available; just left overs of Oak, Ash and a couple of planks of Wenge.  Last year there was much more around but this time most of it was gone and nothing new had been imported.

The supervisor at the lumber yard said they import “exotic” wood like Oak and Ash only on specific orders. Furniture factories and big time contractors fitting new apartment buildings order these kinds of wood and people like us get to pick up what is left behind, which is often the worst of the lot.

Imported Meranti and Teak form the bulk of timber sales in north India these days. Meranti is used primarily in making door and window frames, while Teak is used to make doors and windows. Meranti is not suitable for furniture and is best avoided by the hobbyist woodworker.

Supplies of Burma Teak have stopped and existing stocks are still being sold at prohibitive prices - starting at ` 5,000 a cubic foot. CP Teak is also in short supply and commands prices upwards of ` 3,000.

Not surprisingly, African teak which costs anything between ` 1,400 and ` 2,000 sells the most. I was told that of African Teaks, timber from Ghana is inferior to that from Ivory Coast and Nigeria. 

I picked up quite a few cut pieces of Nigerian Teak for about ` 1,600 a cubic foot. This Teak has less figure than our home-grown CP Teak and is slightly yellowish. It will have to be finished with a light stain to bring it to the right hue. 

Buying cut pieces is substantially cheaper than buying large pieces and re-sawing them. The downside of cut pieces is that it is impossible to say what kind of grain a particular piece will have or whether it will be full of knots and swirls. But it is worth it even if some of the pieces require extra work.

Ash

I also picked up a few planks of Ash and Red Oak, which were selling at ` 1,250 a cubic foot. I would have bought a lot more but most of the pieces available had split, were twisted or bowed. I carefully selected a few pieces and had them re-sawn at the lumber yard.

Wenge

I picked up a not very good plank of Wenge offered at a discount. The price was ` 2,200 per cubic foot but they did not measure the parts that had split. This suited me because I plan to slice of small pieces from the split part and use the pieces for box decorations. Wenge, I found, is an incredibly heavy wood, way heavier than Teak, Oak or Ash.

Rosewood

My best buy were two pieces of a beautiful red wood, which the lumber yard supervisor claimed was some kind of rosewood but he was not very sure. I haven’t seen this species before but it has beautiful figure and terrific colour. This cost about ` 1,750 a cubic foot.

I checked the wood with a moisture metre and found they were adequately dry and could safely be used immediately. I plan to let some of the teak dry for a few weeks but plan to tackle the rest as soon as possible.

Indranil Banerjie
24 November 2014

Comments

  1. Well indranil dada, your buying is too expensive. In this case I am very l am very luck I deal wood in Kgs. not in qft. This Sunday I get more than 300 Kgs. of fresh sheesham scraps. I found what exactly I were looking for. I made hundreds of tiles out of them for my kitchen projects. I have completed many projects but cant document them. I will post some pics after some weeks. I cant deal with this type of fresh lumber. I love scraps and when I found any usable scrap I cant stop my self buying them, whether I need or may be I dont need them.
    Happy winter woodworking.
    ---- Kishore

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  2. Envy all of you in the north with access to such wood...

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  3. Hello, I'm new to Bangalore but an experience woodworker. I love working with wood and creating something new. I've been able to track down the basic hand tools I need, but I'm having trouble finding wood planks. Does anyone have any good places/lumberyards in bangalore?

    thanks
    -Brad

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    Replies
    1. Brad, your best bet would be to join the DIY forum at http://www.diyable.net/forum/ and post your query there. That forum has a lot of people from Bangalore and they are sure to help. best wishes.

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  4. Eager to see what would come out of this, and of course the process. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Solomon. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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  5. Dear Mr. Indranil, I really appreciate your blog. I also feel that India lacks woodworking culture. But you are making valuable efforts. Could you please tell me some timber shops in Delhi? I live near Connaught Place. I don't need anything in bulk. Just 3-4 CFT. of soft wood. Maybe pine or ash.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mayank. I suggest you go to Kirti Nagar timber market. You can buy as little as you want and can get it cut to the size you want. best of luck.

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