The Scroll Saw Lady

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Picking Out Wood For Your Projects

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on August 24th, 2008

Before you can actually start any project you have to know a little bit about wood and its properties, so you can choose the write wood for what you are going to create.

The two basic categories of wood are hardwood and softwood. There is also manufactured wood like plywood.  What you use for any given project depends on various factors: strength, hardness, grain characteristics, cost, stability, weight, color, durability and availability.

Usually beginning woodworkers start out with softwood such as pine. It’s soft and easy to work, and you don’t need expensive tools to get good results. It is readily available at local lumberyards and home centers. It has it’s limitations in furniture making; it is a soft wood and will damage easily.
Softwoods

Softwood is from an evergreen or coniferous (cone-bearing) tree. Common varieties are pine, fir, spruce, hemlock, cedar and redwood. These woods are mostly used in the home construction industry. Cedar and redwood are excellent choices for outdoor projects, while pine is often used for “Early American Country Style” furniture.

Pine and most other softwoods will absorb and lose moisture more than hardwoods so are not as stable. Purchase the lumber at least two weeks before starting your project and keep it indoors.

You will find that softwoods are sold in standard thickness and widths, for example a 1 X 4 will be 3/4″ thick and 3 1/2″ wide similar to construction materials. The material will usually be priced per lineal foot and the price will increase accordingly for the wider boards.

There are specialty stores that sell wood for scroll sawers and we will look at several of those later.  Right now I would pick up some pine and just practice some cuts both with your scroll saw and on your table saw or any other hand saw that you might have picked up.  Always use your ear protection, protective eye wear and always follow manufactures safety recommendations.

Tomorrow we look at hardwoods.

4 Responses to “Picking Out Wood For Your Projects”

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  2. Softwood Says:

    What type of wood should I use Any type which is recommended for outdoor projects such as decks, playground equipment or water front projects. Softwood

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  4. The Scroll Saw Lady Says:

    Softwood, you certainly don’t want to use a softwood for outdoor projects, it will not hold up very long. You want to use a hardwood. Waterfront property? Is that ocean front property because then you have to deal with salt air also. If you are doing a large project like a deck, and you do use any softwood… go with a treated wood so it doesn’t deteriorate quickly.

    Does that help any?