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What kinds of wood do you use for your Intarsia?

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  • What kinds of wood do you use for your Intarsia?

    Just trying to get some good discussions going here! I'm glad to see people coming out from hiding to join in on the last post.

    I was wondering what people's preferences are for woods. Some use mainly cedar with different shading, some use all hardwoods and exotics. Are there certain types of woods that people prefer?

    Personally, I use whatever I need to get the color I want. Sometimes I regret it when that wood is extremely hard to cut (such as my all wenge black cat) but it usually pays off in the end.


  • #2
    I base a lot of my wood choices on the toxicity of wood...I'm really sensitive to those sorts of things...If I cut walnut without my dust mask, I know I'm going to get a sinus infection...

    So I try to steer clear of a lot of exotics...and cedar...another sinus issue!



    • #3
      Then I guess you'll have to send that truckload of exotics over to my house. What a shame...I'll worship each piece on your behalf Bob.
      Jeff Powell


      • #4
        I had a reaction to Bolovian Rosewood while making a piece. I got a little rash on my hand and ended up chasing it up my arm, down the other one...and so on. From then on, I've had sensitivities to many woods. It doesn't stop me tho - isn't that what steroid cream is for

        My dust collection does a pretty good job but when hand sanding - there's always some that gets loose. I now wear the latex gloves when handling the bolovian rosewood.

        One of my favorite woods for ease of cutting and sanding is poplar. It's easy to find at home improvement stores and the green is PERFECT for frogs.
        hanging frog #4 for web.JPG


        • #5
          I use a lot of poplar. It's easy to sand, and if you seal it properly, it's easy to stain. If you are new to finishing, I really reccomend Teri Masaschi's book "Foolproof Wood Finishing," I've learned a lot from it!!!

          My biggest problem is that I've really allergic to some woods. Jelutong, a wood used often in carving, comes from the Rubber Tree...I've got to wear those blue gloves whenever I handle it or I get hives...I also get hives if I mess around with most live evergreen trees. Once they're dried, I don't have a problem, but if they are freshly cut...I'm going to break out!

          I use padauk, wenge, and purpleheart without a reaction, and holly...but walnut gets me every time.



          • #6
            For the little bit of intarsia I've done I used the same kinds of woods I use for all of my scrolling. Aspen, Brazilian cherry, red oak, white oak, redheart, walnut, polplar, water oak, western red cedar, etc. etc.
            Scrollsaw Patterns Online
            Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


            • #7
              I had to share this picture with you. I know, you might think it belongs in the bragging section, but bare with me. I made JGR's pelican and took some time to select the woods I thought were best for the piece. That can be challenging - but it can really dramatically change the outcome from great to unique and your own. Not to mention, I find it a really enjoyable (most of the time) part of the process. I think that this picture illustrates (in my opinion) perfectly what you can do using natural wood colors. I selected Lacewood for the main color of the pelican, figured maple for the wing tips, yellowheart for the beak, juniper for feet. The blue pine for sky and clouds (different pieces), satinwood for the sun. I was all ready to use blue pine for the water as well but my husband looked at a piece of spalted wood I had and said "WATER!" Perfect for WATER. Now I never would have thought of that - but it is perfect! You don't have to have a ton of different wood types, but if you are able to acquire a decent selection- I think it can really add to the fun of intarsia as well as the finished piece.

              JGR Pelican780x780.jpg


              • #8
                Something else I just thought of...(slap me if I am rambling on too much )
                Using different woods can dramatically change the look of a finished piece. You can make the same pattern with different woods and it can look totally different. I've attached a couple of pictures of one of my cat designs just to illustrate this. The first one is Bubinga, maple and bolovian rosewood, the 2nd is streaked hemlock and walnut, the 3rd is wild looking myrtlewood.

                Let me know if I'm boring you with all of this!

                Cute Calico.JPG

                Fuzzball #2 sm.JPG



                • #9
                  Ever since i started doing intarsia i liked Walnut, Cherry, English Oak, Ash and red Iroko.
                  Two things i like about them is the smoothnes of the cutting but also the grain that will come out after sanding.
                  Many more types of wood to discover for me but for now i like these.
                  At the moment i am drying Eucalyptus, apple and Maple in slabs of 2cm (3/4") thick.

                  My website:
                  That stuff on the floor....did my head just lost it??


                  • #10
                    I have well over 200 species of wood in the shop for intarsias and anything else that comes to mind. I've got stacks of kiln dried, air dried, logs, beach wood, pallet wood, ice damage wood, you name it, I grab it all. When I die, it'll be hell for the family trying to sort it all out and get rid of everything. I save everything. I have drawers full of pieces of wood, some as small as wriggly gum sticks. I never leave home without my hand saw, extension saw handle and chain saw, with spare chains, oil and gas of course, because you never know.
                    Jeff Powell


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by workin for wood
                      I never leave home without my hand saw, extension saw handle and chain saw, with spare chains, oil and gas of course, because you never know.
                      Remind me never to ask you to accompany me to the ballet .

                      There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                      (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


                      • #12
                        good idea Gill, I may cut up the ballet box and through it in the back of the pickup truck.
                        Jeff Powell


                        • #13
                          Don't stop now Janette, i'm learning so much from this thread.
                          Hey Jeff, i've also got a saw in the back of the car,cos' you never know when you'll see something, my wife reckon's i'd knock on a widow's door and ask for her departed's wooden leg.....................mmmmm that's an idea.


                          • #14
                            Yup any thing you can beg borrow or buy.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Janette
                              Using different woods can dramatically change the look of a finished piece. You can make the same pattern with different woods and it can look totally different.
                              Thank you for posting the different cat pictures!! I know wood selection is important, and those pictures really demonstrate it!

                              Don't worry about talking too much on here either!!





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