Choosing the right wood for turning can be hard and overwhelming because of the wide variety of choices available. However, it is important to choose the right quality wood according to the product that you are working towards. If you are someone new or confused about the choice of wood, don’t worry, we have got you! Join us on this 5 step guide towards choosing the perfect wood for turning.
Based on what you are creating, make sure to choose a wood that is apt and easy to work with.
a) Harder woods are difficult to work with and might even damage the tools that you use to turn wood. But the good thing about hardwoods is that a little slip won’t damage the wood and the final product will be of good quality. If you are someone with experience, then working with hardwoods won’t be a problem. Keep in mind that all woods that are categorized as hardwood, are not necessarily hard or dense.
Here are a few hardwood options for you!
Hard Maple Turning Blanks: They have an average dry weight of 44.0 lbs/ft3. They are fairly easy to work with both hands and machines:
American Black Walnut Turning Blank:
b) Softer woods are easier to turn, especially if you are a beginner. Because of their softness, they take less time and skill than hardwood. However, even a little slip or mistake can change the result expected for the final product and you cannot turn them down to a smaller diameter, because they are weaker than hardwood.
Here are a few softwood options for you!
Basswood Blocks: They have an average dry weight of 26 lbs/ft3. One of the most suitable species for carving because it is light and soft :
Another important thing to keep in mind while choosing wood is its durability. The factors that determine durability are density, hardness, rot resistance, and insect resistance.
As mentioned earlier the harder the wood, the better the quality. The wood will not get easily damaged due to accidental slips and the final product will be heavy and sturdy. The harder the wood, the more dense the wood is. Denser and harder woods are perfect to use if the final product is for functional use, and not just a showpiece. Look out for woods that are rot and insect resistant. This will help you to get a perfect final product.
Here are a few recommendations for highly durable woods!
a) Spanish Red Cedar Turning Blank: They are rot-resistant and are also resistant to insects. The wood also has excellent weathering characteristics :
b) Red heart Wood: These are not as resistant as Red Cedar, but can be used as a more affordable option :
If you are a beginner, it would be better to choose turning blanks that have a reasonable price. The price of the wood increases based on the availability, quality, and grains. Unless you want something specific, it will be a good idea to buy affordable turning blanks.
A few affordable options:
a) Hard Maple Turning Blank: This is an excellent choice of hardwood to work with and is affordable :
b) White Ash Turning Blank: Ashwood is one of the least expensive utility hardwoods available domestically :
Light-colored woods show the stains or any small cuts that were accidentally caused while turning them. If you are a beginner, the best option is to choose a dark-colored wood that does not show cuts or marks. You can select the colors based on what you want your final product to look like!
a) White Ash turning blank: The heartwood has a light to medium brown color and the Sapwood has a beige or light color :
b) Basswood Carving Wood Turning Blanks: Has a pale white to light brown color :
a) East Indian Rosewood Turning Blank: Golden brown to deep purplish brown, with dark brown streaks :
b) Black Palm Turning Blank: Lighter tan or light brown color :
5)The Grain patterns
Each piece of wood is different from the other due to its intricate patterns. Keep different options in hand and choose something with a unique and beautiful pattern. This will benefit the end product and will make it an eye catching piece!
Some blanks with beautiful grain patterns:
a) Zebra woodturning blank: Has coarse texture and open pores with wavy or interlocked grains:
b) Leopard Wood Turning Blank: Fairly coarse texture with straight grains :