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  1. #1
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    Question Timber Sources and Types of Timber In Brisbane

    As some of you may have seen over in the Router forum, I'm new(ish) to all this doing-stuff-with-wood-stuff, despite my father having been a very fine carpenter and cabinet maker. Over the next few months as I acquire some toys, I want to move away from playing with radiata pine and doing some semi-decent work.

    I'm particularly interested to be making chests, boxes, cabinets, bookshelves, display cases and so forth, as well as props for my medieval passion.

    Fairly obviously at this stage it would be very silly for me to be experimenting with expensive high quality timber. But I have two related problems.

    First, I'm not sure what sorts of timbers I should be asking for. The local hardware places sell two kinds of timber: "Hardwood" and radiata pine. (True story: last year I bought some anonymous australian hardwood to knock up a reproduction camp bed. Because I liked the figure and colour in the wood, and wanted to be able to get more in the future, I asked the pasty-faced-youth "what sort of timber is this?". With a completely blank look he replied "Hard wood"). So, if I walk into somewhere that sells timber, what should I ask for?

    Second, related question. The local hardware / home builder supply places don't seem to be the right place to go to buy small quantities of decent timber. Can anyone suggest could stores to visit in Brisbane, particularly north of the river?
    "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate" - William of Occam.

    http://homepage.mac.com/rhook
    Robert Hook
    Brisbane, Qld, Australia

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  3. #2
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    rhook,
    There are a couple of places on the north side of Brisbane that have a wide selection of timbers. Lazarides in Hurricane St., Banyo, and Britton Timber in Kremzow Rd., Brendale.

    I have made a number of pieces out of jarrah and Tasmanian blackwood. Jarrah is slightly easier to work with - Tasmanian Blackwood tends to burn more easily when you are routing mortices in it. But both timbers look good and are very durable. New Guinea rosewood is a bit softer than either and rather coarse-grained but a bit cheaper. I would start off with one of those and see how you go.

    Rocker

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    Default Oi!!

    First of all, dont knock the pasty faced timber yard lackey. You gotta remember that most people in the brisbane region that buy timber are the tradesman or construction companies. They mostly use framing pine (mgp10, mgp12, or mpg15) Or arcitraves. the hardwood they keep is for fencing, and people generally dont ask for a specific species of timber they just ask for hardwood. The place i work, they got me dealing specifically with the treated pine, and they only allow me to order the best selling sizes. I have to specially order unusal sizes.

    The point i am sorta trying to make is that, bunnings, hudsons & mitre 10 rarely keep the good stuff in stock, they specially order it.

    oh and there is nothing wrong with radiata pine, if you do the right finish. Hardwood is a real bitch to work with as i imagine you are in the same problem as me. only using hand tools.

    And remember dont be too harsh to that pasty looking bloke in the timber yard as that could be me
    Simmo :P

  5. #4
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    rhook ....

    Sounds like you are in a similar position to me when I took up woodworking again about 5 years ago after a 30 year break during which I had 100% of my time tied up on other things like earning a living and raising kids. Initially I was using Cypress offcuts because I had heaps of them left over from building a fence but soon needed to graduate not only to other timbers but also to more toys.

    I have bought some timber from Lazarides, and they carry a wide range, but seem to specialise in more exotic timbers and are consequently a bit dearer. Now I buy my timber from Moxons - I live on the south side, they are in Yeronga and carry a wide range. I think they are probably the biggest vendor of furniture grade timber in Brisbane and I suggest you check them out (they also have a web site, I think). Their front desk they will almost certainly refer you to their "shed 2" (a short drive away) where you meet up with Bob. Wait around until he finishes what he is doing (it may take some time - things don't move at a fast pace down at Shed 2) but he is helpful and you won't feel out of place buying small quantities and the price is reasonable. They frequently have offcuts that he might sell you cheaper or give away but take your time selecting because they might not be perfect. Expect to pay about $3,000 per cubic metre for most common hardwoods (e.g. Sydney Blue Gum, Jarrah etc) - so a piece 150 mm wide x 25 mm think x 2 metre long might cost you $22.50. The price would be 25% less by buying a cubic metre of timber but a cubic metre is a helluva lot of timber. I bought 0.6 cu.m. of Silver Ash from them last year and managed to negotiate a bit lower price, but it is bit dearer than the average anyway.

    I only use hardwoods for furniture making (I use pine and artificial woods for making jigs and the like) because I use machine tools for all the grunt work.

    I have a 6" jointer and 15" thicknesser so rough sawn timber is fine for me. But if you don't have a jointer and thicknesser both Lazarides and Moxons will dress the timber for you (or there are some places that you can rent the use of jointer and thicknesser). I certainly wouldn't entertain doing this by hand.

    Alternatively, you should consider at the start using Tassie Oak. Tassie Oak (there are about 3 species that are sold under this name) is sold differently to most timber in that you can readily buy fixed thicknesses (25mm, 38mm, 50mm) and fixed widths (75mm, 100mm, 125mm, 150mm) AND it is mostly quarter-sawn, AND it is frequently sold semi-dressed ... needing only a minimal amount of planing with a hand plane.

    Hope this helps. Good luck

    Ian R.
    There is no lack of skill or talent that cannot be compensated for by some jig or machine.

  6. #5
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    Thumbs up thank you

    Thanks to all for their advice. I was aware of Lazarides, but not the others. I may even try my local hardware places and bunnings and say "tasmanian oak", in the hope that somebody knows what I'm talking about.

    On a slight tangent, is tasmanian oak significantly harder than radiata pine, or only slightly. Is it easy to work, or a bit of a pain?
    "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate" - William of Occam.

    http://homepage.mac.com/rhook
    Robert Hook
    Brisbane, Qld, Australia

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    It is significantly harder than pine and thus harder on cutting edges, however harder timbers are usually easier to work as they don't crush when you chop across the grain with a chisel.

    Mick

  8. #7
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    Hi Robert,

    One other source of timber that you should consider is the renovation and building section of the Trading Post :

    http://www.tradingpost.com.au/main.asp?State=QLD

    If you keep an eye on the ads, and a bit of cash aside for a rainy day, you will occasionally come across people selling timber for really cheap prices.

    If you invest in some machinery to dress your timber (say a bandsaw, a jointer & a thicknesser for example) you will be able to buy virtually any size timber and dimension it to your requirements.

    Even without machinery, you can still get some good dressed boards if you keep an eye on the ads, and call early on the day of listing.


    Cheers,


    Justin.

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    Default Timber

    Hey

    I found out that the timber that they refer to as "hardwood" comes from a species called "swamp gum" and is pretty crap compared to other hardwood species. Like i said earlier most harwares primary aim is to serve the building industry (that is where profits are to be made) But yeah they can order in any species for you, you just gotta know what you want.

    Simmo :P

  10. #9
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    Robert,

    Tassie Oak is quite good to work. I just finished making a pair of bedside tables, and I'm quite pleased at the good finish. Bunnings or just about any timber supplier will obtain it for you, but I wouldn't recommend this approach. Because of the way it is marketed and because there are several species that are sold under this name you get quite a lot of variation not only in colour but also in grain consistency. For buying in small lots you want to be able to select out your own pieces for consistency.

    Following from Justins comment: Another good source of timber, though unpredictable, is from furniture places (either directly, or after they close down). These places invariably use artificial boards, but frequently trimmed with solid wood edgings, so they tend to accumulate lots of solid wood offcuts.

    Ian R.


    P.S. One problem with Tassie Oak to be aware of .... when you glue it up make sure you protect the timber from the steel of your clamps otherwise you'll get this black discolouration staining the oak that is hard to sand out. Tassie Oak seems to be one of the worst for this.
    There is no lack of skill or talent that cannot be compensated for by some jig or machine.

  11. #10
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    Wink Timber in Brisbane.

    I used to buy Tasmanian Oak at Doyles at Mitchelton. But recently I've found Bunnings at Stafford to be cheaper and better quality. Made a lot of funiture with Tassie Oak with some success - lightly staining with teak stain and then about four to five coats of Danish Oil - looks great. Havn't had any complaints from SWMBO or the daughters!
    J. Stevens

  12. #11
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    It's southside, but we have bought timber from John Gill at Rocklea previously. He dressed it for us and we were able to biscuit join together no probs. The timber you are likely get from Bunnies is likely to be yellow balau, merbau, flooded gum, brush box, tassie oak (or victorian ash) and red gum. Well, that's been my experience anyway, it's a bit of pot luck sometimes. I find the bigger warehouses sell more varieties, but the blokes in the yard generally have no idea as to species and don't reorder for you based on this - it's whatever is in the pack they need to unload at the time. I've gotten a few hardwood posts from there before - not bad.

    It's worth the trip with a trailer or ute down to Stan at Mullumbimby woodworks. You could drive a bit further too and see Warren at Hurfords timber at Tuncester. Both are sources of good timber at good prices. Plenty of varieties to choose from - slab or DAR.

    Don't waste any more time with radiata pine! I wonder why I wasted my time and energy with it, it is easier I think to work with and use hardwood timbers when you are learning. I look at what I have made with it (potato and onion box) and am thinking of replacing it with a hardwood timber creation instead! Soft woods like pine tend to knock and dent easier.

    Search these bulletin boards too, sometimes there are offcuts waiting to be loaded into your car! Tooninoz has a few floating around I believe.

    Good luck!

    Cheers
    Dan

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    Hi Rhook,
    There is heaps more to woodwork when you move away from pine! I agree with Dan about heading into Northern NSW, some great timber to found down there.
    Around here my recommendations are: Hoop and Kauri pine are great stuff to learn on, buy them secondhand if need be and don't compare then with Pinus, like radiata and elliotti; Silky oak, which can be found locally; Spotted gum for when you need a frame, from Bunnies maybe... I love the stuff but have been told its not too stable; and when you need good sized slabs at a reasonable cost go for Camphor laurel, again you might come across it in the Courier classified on Saturdays. The more cut down the better! If you're only beginning and using hands planes only, maybe avoid these last two! They are better with machines and sanding.

    Good luck,
    Andy Mac
    Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

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    Ok Rhook, i think many of us have been in the same situation....

    Dave Drescher at Sth East QLD woodworming supplies at Yatala ( behind the pie shop) has some nice stock....

    Woodworld (www.woodworld.com.au) at labrador has a great range of commercial stock including lots of ash, tasie Oak, Qld Maple, Rosewood and NG ebony....

    Always check with Stan at Mullumbimby woodworks or visit the slab factory at mullumbimby...

    Check the Toowoomba recycled timber place in Water st...very nice slabs and some newer bits....lots of cedar, ash, ironbark, redgum etc...

    Also Lionel Tomes at the corner of Mort and Thackery streets in Toowoomba...great stock of Silky oak, camphor, bunya etc..all dried and stacked....all very low cost....like 10 - 15 bucks a plank....

    the Slab Hut at capalaba has some good stuff.....


    have fun...

  15. #14
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    Default Timber in Bris

    Quote Originally Posted by rhook

    The local hardware / home builder supply places don't seem to be the right place to go to buy small quantities of decent timber. Can anyone suggest could stores to visit in Brisbane, particularly north of the river?
    You asked, so here's my shameless bit of self-promotion.
    Eco Urban Timber
    15 Brecknock St
    Archerfield
    We're open 3pm to 8 pm most days and from 9 on weekends. If you give me a call on
    0400 455 605 I'll make sure you get well looked after.
    We've got a stack of slabs of all kinds from red gum to mango and a stack of other species, silky oak boards and squares up the wazoo and some nice kauri and norfolk pine boards and squares, as well as crapiata. We've also got some VERY well-spalted pine that I believe is hoop, but I may be wrong.

    For anyone who's interested, we'll be having a clearance sale starting this weekend (19th and 20th) and going till we get sick of it or the stuff runs out and we have to do some more milling. Most slabs will be going for around $1500/cube and the boards around the same, with a few variations.
    Cheers,
    Craig

  16. #15
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    d&i kirby on the sunshine coast for all dry cabenet spiecies please send private mesage for details thanks dvo

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