|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.
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.
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.
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.
24 November 2014
24 November 2014