sourcing pre-cut hardwoods for camera building in UK

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Leon, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I'm trying to find a timber dealer in the UK who can supply hardwoods (preferably cherry or mahogany) in relatively small amounts and small dimensions for camera building. The thinnest I've found is 25mm which is still a bit too thick for me, and I dont have any machine tools at my disposal to cut it myself (nor the required woodworking skills). I;ve approached a few suppliers who offer bespoke cutting services who say they would not be willing to do the work as the wood is likely to warp. Model building suppliers stocks all seem to be too thin.

    I'm waiting for replies from some musical instrument makers/ luthiers to see if they can sell me some offcuts .... but if anyone knows of a main suppliers or other advice that may help me, I'd be very grateful for the information.

    also, any good suppliers of sheet brass?
     
  2. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    Possible source of wood - your local auction room or house clearers. The wood in question may well be in the shape of broken chests of drawers, etc. - I an sure the cost would not be high! The comment from suppliers that they cannot cut wood because it would warp is BS - the reason is they can't be bothered (and/or don't have the right cutters for hardwood)! The whole point about seasoned hardwood is that it will NOT warp! I'm not sure, however, how far you will get making a camera if you can't cut joints (at least halving joints, far more preferably dovetail).
     
  3. Leon

    Leon Member

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    thanks for your tips .... I'm fine with small cuts, it's long straight cuts that I have problems with
     
  4. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Can't help with the wood: when I looked into this I had the same results as you.

    I concluded that sans having someone you know who already has such creatures in their workshop, one would need to buy the two main tools required for the job, namely a saw-table and a planer/thicknesser, at a total cost of about £300 for low-end new ones and a bit more for mid-range used ones (lacking any specialised knowledge, buying s/h is probably a bit of a risk). You could do the job with hand-tools but the level of skill required is clearly one that only comes with experience...

    Alternately, you could laminate the thinner sections from hobby shops - a print mounting press might come in handy there! :wink:

    If you can find someone who already has such beasts in their workshop (I didn't), that saves a lot of dosh of course and hopefully they will know how to use them.

    Good luck, Bob.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2008
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You could try the gallery for bits for your project.

    Sandeha Lynch has been photographing just what you need :D

    Ian
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Can't speak to the UK for sources but the internet can be your friend. Here in the US there are several suppliers who can provide ALMOST what you need.
    I'd suggest you take a look at the ads in the back of some woodworking magazines at your local bookseller.
    What you are needing to do is called "resawing" and is done with a bandsaw & a jig to keep the wood parallel to the blade. New small bandsaws($100?) aren't very expensive & you make the jig you need from a few pieces of hardwood.
    You could also check your local library for books on woodworking for accurate descriptions of the technique.
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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  8. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    leon, I know you are interested in sourcing parts from the UK. I ran into the same issue when I lived there. However, if you log onto www.rockler.com They can get you ANY wood that you want. I've sourced many pieces from them including Gabon Ebony in 1/4 and 1/8 of inch sizes, Walnut, and Rosewood in the same. If you can make sure the wood is straight, having them ship you some might be the best option??? It was just a thought. They have quite a few stores, and it really pays to actually look for the wood rather than rely on them sorting through it.

    If you want me to scout the local Rockler store, I could do that and if you wanted me to purchase it and ship it to you, we could arrange a payback somehow through paypal etc so I am square, I could send you some?
     
  9. Leon

    Leon Member

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    thanks for the info everyone - Steve ... thanks for the luthier links I'll get in touch with them on Monday, and good idea re the marine timber suppliers.

    Andrew, what a kind offer. I'll PM you straight away :smile:
     
  10. AlanC

    AlanC Member

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    Leon,

    Try www.model-dockyard.com

    They have a good variety of hardwoods in "camera building" sections, and are located on the south coast I think.

    Alan Clark
     
  11. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    I found a few in the USA that offer wonderful ready to sand custom cut/sized lumber. Look for the post on my tripod, maybe they would be willing to send it to you for a decent price. The stuff I used on the tripod was excellent quality and about as straight as you could ask without steaming and bending.

    Also one of our members here has a shop and builds cameras and kits, maybe he would be a good choice, look for Barry Young.

    Depending on the camera size shipping shouldn't be very much.
     
  12. AlanC

    AlanC Member

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    Leon,
    The model dockyard should be ok for standard sizes, but a better option would be for you to make friends with your nearest cabinet maker.
    There must be one in your area. Then you would have access to carefully selected seasoned hardwoods, and a cabinet maker will have the machinery and the skill to accurately cut whatever sizes you want, and will understand the need for quarter sawn stock for stability.
    I am a retired musical instrument maker and have built a few wooden cameras. If you need any advice pm me with your phone number and I will help in any way I can.

    Alan Clark
     
  13. RobC

    RobC Member

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    www.yell.co.uk should show a few cabinet makers in your locality. It's a much overlooked search engine but for local trades people its the best. I know one but not in your locality.
     
  14. Leon

    Leon Member

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    hello everyone - thanks for your suggestions. Luckily, I found a local timber supplier (about 3 miles from my door!) who supplied me all the sizes I needed in PAR American Cherry for half the price the luthiers were quoting. East Kent Timber if anyone from the south stumbles across this thread and is interested.