>Which is easier for a newbie to work with? I wont get around to it for
>some time because my wife wants me to build her a bookshelf first, but
>I have a plan for a mantle clock I would like to make for my
>grandmother. It calls for cherry but I wondered abotu Walnut. Was not
>sure if one was better than another to work with wwith my cheap tools.
A couple of thoughts:
1) You go home with who ever took you to the dance. In this case, your
tools. Don't berate them.
Add to them, retire them, but don't berate them.
2)Pick whatever wood you like for a project.
For that project, it will be the "easiest" wood to work, because you
WANT to work with it.
IMHO, 90% of any project is ATTITUDE.
Off the box.
There isn't really a good answer to this. Both are fairly easy
to work, with either hand tools or machines. Cherry is rather
more prone to tearout and chipping, and is sometimes weak along
the grain, moreso than walnut (so be careful if you've got some
detail that involves a bit of short grain). Cherry will burn
very readily if you've got a dull router bit or are clumsy with
Walnut is mildly toxic, and some people are very sensistive to
the dust/shavings. You may find you want to wear a dust mask
anytime you're working with walnut, which isn't necessary with
cherry (unless you're power sanding, spraying finish, etc).
For a very easy to work wood, you might consider mahogany. It
would make a very nice looking clock, IMO.
I prefer walnut over cherry. I made a cabinet out of cherry and spent
a lot of time sanding out the burn marks. Where I live, walnut is
less expensive than cherry due to the demand. Don't pass up maple or
Cheap doesn't matter so much...but sharp does. Like many have said,
cherry has a strong tendency to burn, so when I saw it I frequently
leave an extra 1/16th on it to be taken off with jointer/sander/plane.
I've never had a problem burning it with a router, though. I have a
variable speed router, and I use it with a relatively faster feed rate
and lower RPM. Jointers and planers aren't an issue either.
Walnut is beautiful, but cherry is my favorite. Pound for pound the
best character of any wood I've yet used. YMMV.
One other thing with walnut: Around here (SE Michigan) almost all of
it has been steam-dried. (If that seems like a contradiction in terms,
you'll just have to trust me on this one.) Since walnut has been so
badly over-harvested, it's very difficult to find boards of a decent
width that don't have sapwood. (They're really cutting some young
trees now, and walnut trees by their nature have a lot of sapwood
However, in order to attempt to blend walnut's heartwood with its
sapwood, they introduce steam into the drying process. This darkens
the sapwood to some extent.
It doesn't work very well, and if you take much off the surface of the
board you will completely negate the effects of the "blending." The
bottom line is that you *think* you're getting a board of uniform
color, but once you cut through the surface you'll realize you haven't.
So be careful when you buy walnut, especially if you're not buying S2S.
Talk to your dealer and ask if the wood's been steam-dried. (If he
doesn't know what you're talking about, get another dealer.) My dealer
warned me about it the first time he saw me poking through the walnut
bin. He's asked his supplier to knock it off, but they won't.
Cherry, too, has a lot of sapwood, but you can see it a mile away.
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