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I was curious about the market for hardwoods. I have a place I can get kiln dried hardwood in various sizes at about 2 foot lengths. I thought about sawing and milling it to sell for shipbuilding but I would have to invest in a saw. I’m not sure if there’s even a market for something like this so I thought I’d ask for some of your opinions. I’ll attach a couple of pics of the wood I have currently. Would the Byrnes saw be the right saw for this type of work? I have an almost unlimited supply of this wood, just thought it might be a way to offset some of the cost of my hobbies. Thoughts?

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You would need a bandsaw to rip those pieces into sheets.   Then  thickness sander to make those sheets accurate......the Byrnes saw could then be used to mill strips from your finished sheets for sale.

 

In addition you would absolutely need good dust control and possibly a jointer to help make life easier for you.

 

I cant see those wood pieces to tell what they are.  They dont look like the more sought after types that ship builders want.  They look like the more common Cherry, Poplar and or maple which can already be bought in sheet form pretty regularly.

 

Chuck

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They are just common hardwoods, cherry, maple, oak and a few other hardwoods. I use it for firewood, just thought it might be useful for ship building but if it’s not something that is useful then I’ll just keep burning it I guess. I could get it ripped and sanded but I would need something like the Byrnes saw to make useful lumber for ship building with it. 
 

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I paid $150 for a 10in used Delta table saw- ready to run.  It will accept a wide variety of blades including hollow ground ones that produce a smooth finish..  A thin rip guide sold by Rockler Woodworking is available for less than $50.  A jointer or portable planer might be needed depending on the condition of the wood that you receive.

 

Although their commercial value may be low, both maple and cherry are recognized as being suitable for ship modeling. Oak with its open grain is not. Since you have an unlimited supply, waste associated with the use of a full sized table saw should not be a concern.

 

A used full sized table saw equipped with the right blades and a thin rip guide should go a long way towards allowing you to mill this lumber for your own modeling needs.  

 

Selling lumber on a commercial basis is a whole different matter.   You have to consider all of the factors involved with starting any business.  Demand for these common wood species is only one of them.

 

Roger

 

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The open pore species are not species that work at all well for the scales that we use.  That is Oak, Ash, Hickory, Walnut, Willow.

The species that are useful, Black Cherry, Hard Maple, Yellow Poplar are not difficult to obtain.

I am guessing that your source is a furniture or flooring operation and these are the defect sections.

Were you a fellow model ship builder, you would be golden for your own supply.

Now, if any of that is Apple and reasonable shipping is in play, we can talk.  I can handle your stock as is.

Even if you have the tools that Chuck describes and you were to open a Web business offering custom sized strip and sheet wood,  unless you offer the species with cachet. it would be a struggle.

Even if you could obtain true Boxwood, or its tropical substitute Castello, your net return would have be lucky to cover minimum wage, much less a reasonable compensation for skilled labor.

 

If you supply your geographical location, there may be a near by scratch builder willing to pick over your stock and pay - say ~$3 bdf - less the defects.

 

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I've been exploring this as a side-business for some time.   Especially given how frustrating it can be to track down any exotic materials at all (in the US) without having to have a full mill at home.  The existing model ship supplier I know of has mixed reviews and I think we all lament the loss of Hobby Mill and then Crown Timberyard.   I've been slowly acquiring the necessary equipment (bandsaw, jointer, etc.) and have come to a few rather unfortunate conclusions.   Namely, to make it work even as a small side thing you need something that the other suppliers cant provide, namely exotic hardwoods (which will never be a money maker) and be reasonably reliable about it (also extremely hard if you ever want to do your own modeling).  As @Chuck mentions there are other suppliers who can get sheets of cherry, walnut and maple to you almost the next day AND at rates supported by larger mill operations.  A

 

Its a shame, but I have resigned myself to the fact that sourcing wood other than the big three will now always be as slow and meticulous a process as the rest of the build...   

 

 

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Thanks for all the reply’s. I wasn’t looking to start a business, just a little side project to help out the ship modelers on here and maybe make a little profit to put towards the hobby. The only thing I would need to get would be the Byrnes saw. But like you guys said it’s not really the right wood for modeling. I almost feel bad burning such nice wood but I guess that’s about all it’s good for.

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On 1/11/2021 at 12:00 PM, Justin P. said:

Namely, to make it work even as a small side thing you need something that the other suppliers cant provide, namely exotic hardwoods (which will never be a money maker)

To make a living selling milled dimensioned modeling wood, yes, but that's only because the consumers are hung up on three or four now-exotic (over-harvested) species that were once plentiful and commonly used. To become a self-sufficient modeler, all you really need is a good (i.e. a Byrnes) micro-table saw and perhaps a (Byrnes) thickness sander. Heavier machinery which saves much labor in reducing larger stock to modeling-sized billets can usually be begged or borrowed when that task occasionally arises. There are many great species for modeling that routinely end up in the chipper because they don't exist in size or quantity sufficient to make milling it on a commercial scale worthwhile. That certainly doesn't mean that commonly available woods like apple, persimmon, satin walnut, chestnut, holly and such aren't probably readily available for the scrounging at the municipal brush dump or by plying a friendly arborist with a bottle of Jack so he'll save you some of the good stuff when he comes across it. 

Edited by Bob Cleek
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1 hour ago, Axo938 said:

just a little side project to help out the ship modelers on here and maybe make a little profit to put towards the hobby.

Yes...  when I said "side business" this is more or less what I meant, too.     The Byrnes is well worth it, by far the best tool I own.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Axo938 said:

But like you guys said it’s not really the right wood for modeling.

Well, Hard Maple and Black Cherry are among the species that are right for scratch building wooden sailing ship models.  Maple can be a bit interesting in what figure is on display.  It is low contrast and is generally only obvious up close.  It can be controlled by paying attention to the orientation of the stock to the resaw blade.  I see it as adding character, so it does not bother me. 

But it not one of Bob's "three or four now-exotic (over-harvested) species".  It does not seem to rate as a species to be bragged about or score points in some informal contest here.  It does however preform quite well when used for most any component of a scratch built POF ship model.   By all means burn the Oak. Go ahead and burn any soft Maple species - even though the BTU of it is fairly low.  Please burn any Sycamore - even though it probably stinks.  Sassafras and soft Elm are not so good.   But consider storing under cover any Cherry and Maple that is clear enough to be useful.

Edited by Jaager
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2 hours ago, Jaager said:

Black Cherry

Out of curiosity are you thinking of "Black Cherry" as something different than the standard Cherry that is commonly sold?   I see these terms used interchangeably and I'm always curious what folks are thinking when they choose one descriptor over another...

 

My understanding is that Black Cherry and Cherry are the same thing.

Edited by Justin P.
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2 hours ago, Justin P. said:

are you thinking of "Black Cherry" as something different than the standard Cherry that is commonly sold

Black Cherry  is the common name for Prunus serotina.  I see that you are west coast US.  The growing range for the tree is, I think eastern US.  It grows tall, straight and can have a fairly thick trunk.

 It is sort of pinkish when cut - or darker.  Components (I think poly phenols) oxidize over time to a dark red.  It is prized as a furniture wood.  The fruit is not eaten often -small and mostly seed.  The bark was/is used to make wild cherry syrup - an old time vehicle for liquid medicines compounded in local pharmacies.  Birds do eat the fruit and spread the seeds.  It often grows as a volunteer in fence rows.  

The tree that grows commercial cherries is usually too small to make it worth harvest as timber.  I tree that I harvested - way back when, was similar to Black Cherry in texture and hardness, but it was yellow green and did not darken.  It would serve our uses as far as its physical properties, but not yield the distinctive color of Black Cherry.

 

So, to answer your question,  it is likely that any hardwood lumber listed as Cherry is indeed Black Cherry.  The seller that lists it as simply "Cherry" is missing a free selling point by omitting the "Black".  

 

As much as I like Black Cherry, to be fair,  Pear (Pyrus  communis) is a step above for our uses. The color is similar but I think less intense.  The grain is less obvious.  It does not have the very dark inclusions that are common in Black Cherry.  It is my impression that this Pear has fruit that is only of interest to wild critters.  It is primarily a European citizen that it is often a weed.  And here in the US it is used as root stock for commercial Pear varieties.  This keeps it short and likely smallish in diameter.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another detail to consider: the moisture content of fleshly-cut lumber is much higher then the wood you find for sale in a big box store or via online. That lumber is, for the most part, kiln-dried in order to stabilize it and prevent checking. If handled correctly, lumber can be air-dried but that takes a long time.
 

Other niches for such wood are furniture makers (but longer lumber), bowl turners (but wider) and wood carvers.

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