Practise Wood for joinery ?

This may be a FAQ, but it's on topic. My dovetail jig just arrived in yesterdays mail. Obviously, I'll want to play and practise with it for a while before I make any real joints.
Can I get away with using the cheap pine boards available at my local MegaHomeStore ? Or should I stick with the poplar and oak hardwoods? Or should I just go away, cut some wood and find out for myself?
Thanks Jim H Pittsburgh PA Go Stillers!
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Jummywood is great for practicing dovetails ... made a bunch of "L" shaped bookends for my daughters bookshelves when I first got a Leigh. Knew there was something you could do with all those practice joints.
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Jim Helfer asks:

Unless you plan to continue with pine, don't start.
Yellow poplar, aspen, alder are inexpensive, easy to work hardwoods. Do NOT by wood for woodworking at a borg (your MegaHomeStore) unless you truly can't fid it elsewhere. You pay 2-3 prices.
Check http://advantagelumber.com/
Theya re currently listing poplar at $2.10 a bf, soft maple at $2.30. Shipping adds to that, but it's still less than 50% of what the big box stores charge.
Charlie Self
"The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf." Will Rogers
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The word "practice" is the operative word here. OP specifically stated " ... before making any real joints".
It is plain idiocy to order, pay shipping and spend hardwood dollars just to "practice" with the jig and how to work it.
Any scraps in the shop will do, including pine.
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He's better off with hardwoods from pallets or dump furniture than pine. Who cares if it's for a finish on it.
I *hate* pine, and it certainly doesn't work like any hardwood I've ever used.
Barry
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The OP wants something to put in his brand new dovetail jig to make some practice cuts and learn how it works.
Cheapest thing he can find, pine included (pallets, or dump wood, as you say), would serve his purpose well... certainly NOT special ordering "hardwood" off the Internet to make some practice cuts on, as was suggested, for chrissakes.
I save my "hate" for spammers these days. I don't go out of my way to use pine, but there is a world of various types of pine, including some which makes beautiful furniture, so anyone who denigrates "pine" as a blanket generic term is either not telling, or is not aware of, the whole story.
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I don't know. Maybe sometimes. Why not?

NOT by

fid
Shipping
charge.
Thanks for the link. I'm afraid I don't speak BF very well yet. <g>. At least at the Borg, I can touch the wood so I know I'm buying the right size.
Jim

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Jim Helfer responds:

Because it doesn't work anyting like hardwood, tends to gum up your tools, and just generally is NOT cheaper, especially when bought at HD, Lowe's et al.

A board foot is a simple thing. It is a square foot one inch thick. Surfaced, it is probably 3/4" or 13/16" thick (and is called 4/4 or four quarters thick). You need to combine board feet with your actual linear foot and width needs to determine yuor wood needs, and you need to learn how. Simply put, discover how many linear feet of a wood you need in a particular width and thickness. Mulitply length (in inches) by width (in inches) to get square inches. Divide by 144. Multiply again by thickness (1", 1-1/2", 2", etc.) to get board feet. It's not complex. It is pretty near essential to woodworking.
Charlie Self
"The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf." Will Rogers
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That doesn't stand up to reason or reality. Plenty of excellent furniture, chairs, desks, cabinets have been, and still are, made out of pine. Although you'd do much better at a lumber yard, what the Borg's call "white pine" is about as cheap as what they sell and will not "gum up" your tools.
I've used it often to make a prototype, or "practice" piece ... that's what you stated you were looking for.
There is NO reason not to use one of the various grades of pine for your intended purpose, don't believe a word otherwise.
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Jim Helfer wrote:

:-) don't go away, there are few enough OnTopic posts.
Personal opinion, I always grab either a pice of pine or popular or even plywood to pratice on, for anything. Now you will get tearout, it may not look pretty but you will figure out how to set it up and what to do when the joints are too loose or too tight. this is the educational part. then build a small box or tray (even for the shop) out of "better" material.
in my case, A lot of turners say that pine doesn't turn well but I use glued up 2x6 stock and have turned out some usefull pieces, is it easy, no. It doesn't work well so you have to have sharper tools and smother technique. So when I turn some "real" wood it actually gets easier.
Pratice on what you have or buy less expensive stock, cut it longer than your project requeies and make a couple of test runs.
BRuce
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wrote:

Poplar (or round here, ash) sounds good. Pine is unpleasant to work with, and not at all like the timber you'll be making the good stuff from. Just get on and make some stuff. Pretty soon you'll have plenty of offcuts to work with.
Here in the UK, "pine" is spruce anyway. Real pine isn't too bad to work with (if it's a good grade) but our "generic softwood" is foul stuff. -- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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I'd hit the trash piles at any building sites in your area. Look for homes that are nearing completion that the trim carpenters are or have been working. Poplar is a good material to practise your dovetails that you often find used in new home construction.
David

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Jim Helfer wrote:

The Lumber Liquidators http://www.lumberliquidators.com has a Woodworkers bargain pack, 300 board foot or lumber for $99 with "some exotics". This is the lumber that the crates and palates are made of that thier flooring came in. Not gradaed but certaily good enough for praticing and you might get some stuff good enough for small projects.
jw
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Practice with pine or even 1x dimensional lumber.
If you can make good joints in SPF, chances are good you'll be able make good joints in most any other wood.
--

FF

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Get your feet wet (and bits dusty) with pine or other cheap wood first. This will teach you how to set the bit depths, work the cut direction and technique to minimize tearout, and any other "tricks" to getting the boards properly aligned in the jig. Then you could move up to the fancy stuff (poplar cost about $4 bf around here) after you have the basics down and want to work on getting the "perfect" joint.
-Bruce
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Use the poplar
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