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  1. #1
    darinwc's Avatar
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    What woods are PC?

    The rate at which I buy woods is extremely low, but I'd like to think I am not fueling the market for non-renewable resources.

    So what woods are OK to buy? I see alot of things marketed as 'rosewood' and other foreign exotic names but to me they look like mahogany and ebony.

  2. #2

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    You are highly unlikely to find real cuban mahogany. It's been gone forever or at least post WWII. I think the mahogany you'll find is either Hondurian or Luan. Neither is at risk.

    If you want PC wood how about North American cherry?

  3. #3
    Lachlan Young's Avatar
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    Rosewood is in heavy demand for musical instrument manufacturing - it has rather different tonal qualities compared with mahogany. It can get horrifically expensive, as can nice pieces of ebony. If the wood comes from areputable dealer then you should be able to find out its place of origin. Finally, don't forget about your native woods - some of which are very good indeed - cherry as mentioned above, but also alder, maple, white oak, ash/ swamp ash, and birch - although I don't know how suitable any of these woods are for camera building (they can be used to make superb guitars though...)

    Hope this helps,

    Lachlan

  4. #4
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    As someone who has built a few guitars, I would say that most woods suitable for guitar building would be suitable for cameras as they have to stay stable in varying heat and humidity.


    Steve
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  5. #5
    Ole
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    I've been toying with the idea of making a camera from juniper. Not only is it ubiquitous around here, but it's also just about everlasting - and it smells good when you're working it.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Bamboo is very PC for flooring. I saw a bamboo floor in a new National Park Service facility, and it looked pretty neat. Is it stable enough for cameras (probably in some laminated form)? It would certainly be very light weight, and it's an easily renewable resource.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7
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    There are (or at least have been) issues with cherry harvesting in the northeast. Large swaths of formerly bountiful cherry forests in Appalachia have been shut down (according to my two sawyers, anyway). Ain't gonna last forever - either the "Genuine" mahogany (which is sustainable, and not Cuban, FWIW) for it's ease in joinery, or cherry for its beauty would be my choices. Or some quartered walnut. Or Sapele. Or some bubinga.

    Too many choices.

  8. #8

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    Most wood is "PC" but some is much more that others.
    As far as tropical timbers go, there are a lot of new sustained yield programs happening, but the fact is, giving timber value through use is more important than removing it's value from boycotting.Then the wood will be cut down and burned to make way for farms. There is also tree salvage, liek a company that pulls up logs from the bottom of lake Superior. The Ho Chunk in Wisconsin, are doing a lot of sustained yield forestry as well. The northest us has a lot more forest land than it did in the 1940's.
    The issue is complex, but there are a lot of choices, and it's better to use most woods and give value to them, than not. Some species are in danger though, like Brazilian Rosewood, which has been way overcut for years, and cuban mahagony.

  9. #9
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    Mesquite! Not just for grilling...

    My opinion would be to use a domestic exotic like Mesquite. Actually it's my only opinion. For a camera you should be able to fine lenghts and widths to fit your needs. It's not a wood known to be available in large slabs but that stuff is as stable as they come. I think you'd be building a real American original with it.

    I've done a lot of woodworking and most of the other suggestions would be appropriate. Just wanted to throw my favorite "unknown" into the mix.

    Good luck,

    Alan.

  10. #10
    darinwc's Avatar
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    I have some really nice boards of spalded alder that came from a recent band-saw class i took. it is only a small amount but would make a nice 4x5 pinhole camera. On the lensboards I make for myself I use either plywood or cherry. But I started looking at exotic differnet woods on ebay and such.

    I remembered reading an article last year about a journalist who visited a wood processing plant in south america. The plant had armed guards at all the entrances. When he asked about some logs that looked like mahogany, which was protected in that area and illegal to harvest, he was told that it was not mahogany but some other type. (the name turned out to be made-up) Anyway all the weird names on ebay really freaked me out.

    I'm a woodworking newb, I guess i better educate myself. Where are some good places on the net to go?

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