burning maple and where to get good deals on wood

First off I'm pretty new to woodworking but getting into it quickly. My question is two-parted so I'll just split it up.
Periodically I see posts/hear about people getting large slabs of burl maple or cherry or something for very low costs. Just where are they getting things like this. Are there wood swap meets (I live in Tulsa, OK) or flea markets for wood? I'm really interested in getting something around 4"x6"x6" or similiar. Local cabinetmakers only tend to have scrap in the 3/4" or less range. Woodcrafters wants about $30 for a chunk that size.
Also - I'm getting ready to do a project making a small jewelry box out of solid maple (burled, quilted, spalted or something interesting) by routing out the compartments inside. Saw the project in Art of the Router. I've practiced on MDF (laminated), just to get the idea and process down and it came out well, but am worried I'll burn the maple plunging out all the innards of the compartments. I used a cheap (carbide but cheap) bit to do the sides and bull nose the bottom inside edge of it with no problem but are these going to burn the maple up? They definitely dont cut as easily as the CMT bit I have (fancy little classical ogee). Should I just buck up and buy a CMT (they have a 1 1/4" long bull nose that would work great)? My router is a PC 690 (or 691 or 3 or something, plunge and fixed base), would a variable speed controller help me out here or is just letting it go full bore ok?
sorry for all the questions, but I really appreciate the help
Jeff
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Jeff Anderson wrote:

Sorry about on-topic questions? Why?
That's what this place is here for, though lately you might thing this was rec.its.another.election.year.sigh.sigh.sigh
I can't answer you. Burl? Sounds expensive. Wood swap meets? Never heard of such a thing. We only have one hardwood supplier hereabouts, and they don't stock much and charge too much for it. Router bits? I hate routers. I only have one of the screamin' banshees, and I practically never use it.
Good questions though. Someone should be along eventually, I hope.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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On Sun, 31 Oct 2004 10:57:48 -0500, Silvan

Well said.
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Dear Jeff:
I own 17 routers and the school has over 50. I love routers and love the work that they can do. A router is just a way to accomplish your task. In woodworking as in life there is no secrets....you normally get what you pay for and there is no free lunch. Try and buy the best you can afford. Using good quality tools is a blessing. Every now and then you might get lucky and get a good deal on wood, but not everyday. Try and establish yourself at your local wood dealer and get to know them. Practise good lumber yard ettique when shopping. This way your wood dealer will take good care of you too.
Usually the cost of wood is very low in comparision to your time. I have seen work that was done with shody material and took the worker 40 hours to make, if they had spent just a little more money on material, the project would have been nice. Good luck and happy woodworking.
Mike from American Sycamore Woodworkers' Retreat
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This is so true.
I'm working on making some boxes for gifts. American Woodworker has plans for a simple box and lid that with a couple of fixtures can be turned out easily. To set up the fixtures and get ready for a run of 6 or 8 of then I figured I use some pine boards from the Borg. Resawed a board, planed and set aside for an hour. Came back and found a nice "S" curve in the wood. Not even good enough for test pieces. Meantime, I took a piece of elm leftover from another project and in the same time have perfect pieces.
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Jeff Anderson wrote:

You're contemplating a first class project here. Do not scrimp on the tools needed nor the wood you buy. Every now and then somebody here will post that a neighbor cut down some maple/walnut/oak... trees and gave them to the poster free. This is usually met with a chorus of "nice haul" or more commonly "you suck". A neighbor once gave me his redwood deck which was great, but I don't have others beating on my door to make me happy. Do some price comparing ($30 doesn't seem all that bad) and cost/benefit estimating and do the best you can. Try some yard sales, especially if tools are mentioned. Crane your neck to see if there is anything stacked in the back yard, in the garage, by the trash, etc. and try to cut a deal.
As far as cutters are concerned, go with quality. You don't want a piece ruined because the bit/blade/cutter... you saved $20 on, came apart.
In other words, spend the money and get on with the fun stuff. To paraphrase somebody's sig here, buy the best and cry once.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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Well, I was stationed in Enid, and trees were rare Tulsa a bit better. Get over toward Arkansas and cruise for small mills. Hillier the land, less likely it's making money farming, so that's where I'd search. Take a good pickup or trailer, and stock up.
My kid dragged a trailer north to visit, filled it with wood to tow back to Texas and paid for his entire vacation, so you might consider a vacation in the area where your desired species are common.
I've used bits to make boxes. Key is to have a big enough template base to move the router all the way to the edge without tipping, and use that bottoming bit to clean up the last 8th or 16th. Rest of the work can be done with collar and a spiral upcut, wasting away an eighth at a time.

maple
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wrote:

Jeff, for the wood take a look at eBay. I'm not sure there are any tremendous bargains on eBay but it is a great place to pick up that odd piece of wood that would be extremely time consuming to find by woodshop hopping.
Go to www.ebay.com, search under crafts > woodworking > lumber or crafts > woodworking > turning and you'll be amazed at what's available.
TWS http://tomstudwell.com/allprojects.htm
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I don't know what to tell you. In my limited experience, I've always been marginally happier when I bought the better tool. Most conspicuous example was the Forrest blade for the contractor's saw. I couldn't believe the improvement. There are a million bargains to be had and they are really great. Day in and day out, you get what you pay for.
I think you'll be able to get what you want out of the PC at full speed, making a jewelry box, if you watch your feed rate. I can't imagine you'll be using any really large diameter bits to hollow out your burl. Variable speed is worth the chips if you're using bits over about 3/4" dia. That and below, you can usually get pretty good results at the full rated RPM of most routers.
bob g.
Jeff Anderson wrote:

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forstner bit in a drill press to hog out the majority of the wood. use the router for the last bits and cleanup.
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Find a saw mill or lumber yard and haunt the scrap/burn pile. One saw mill here cuts only straight boards and will throw away any odd shaped/grained lumber. It is surprising what you can find dumpster diving at lumber yards.

maple
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Go here and search for "sawmills" Often mills that make pallets, etc. consider burls and wild grain to be defects and they go on the pile of slabs they sell at a discount for firewood.
http://www.oda.state.ok.us/search.htm

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