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  1. #1
    nick mulder's Avatar
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    Suitable modern/available wood types for camera building

    Hello,

    I'm building a camera and am not slave to period wood types but at least want to get the best I can locally and easily - I mean 'modern' in the sustainable sense ...

    Do any of these woods types scream dimensional stability ?

    Ash
    Oak
    Douglas Fir
    Kauri (local stuff, I love it for furniture)
    Kwila
    Matai
    Macrocarpa
    Rimu
    Saligna
    Pupleheart
    Blackwood
    Cherry
    Sapele (what they pass Mahogany for here)
    Teak
    Walnut
    Maple
    Jatoba
    Jarrah


    The only quartersawn stuff I've found so far is Victorian Ash (Australian state of Victoria). Eyeballing the wood, it's dead straight off the shelf yet for comparison some of the cherry I looked at were as twisted as home baked breadsticks... But truth is I'd like a darker or warmer toned wood than the Ash.

    How do I learn to speak timber merchant language to get what I'm after ? - The cynic in me suspects I look like a real greenhorn when I walk in, so I fear they'll throw me stuff they can't sell otherwise
    Cleared the bowel problem, working on the consonants...

  2. #2

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    Sorry...are you in Australia? That's going to affect your decision quite a bit.

    My guess is that American Cherry would be great...stable, beautiful and locally sourced, if you were in the states.

  3. #3
    richard ide's Avatar
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    Teak, Jatoba, Purpleheart and Walnut come to mind. One you forgot is Lacewood. I am building a camera with it at present. The figure of quartersawn is incredible. Pick one which will have interesting patterns. Make really tight fitting joints and use epoxy. Finishing with several coats of Tung oil will give a waterproof covering so any change in dimension from humidity will be minimized.
    Richard

    Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?

  4. #4
    nick mulder's Avatar
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    I'm in New Zealand, the timbers mentioned above are what is available locally - a lot of them are imported obviously, even the Kauri, which is the local word for it ... (malaysian and Fijian Kauri for instance)

    Aside from the usual suspects (wikipedia, google) are there any good websites on wood - like a compendium of species variety, comparisons and similarities ?

    I don't want to go out of my way to find say American Cherry when maybe say Rimu which is a local wood is a perfectly good and similarly beautiful and structured wood...
    Cleared the bowel problem, working on the consonants...

  5. #5
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    This is a good resource for the physical properties of woods. I have the disk and haven't used the online site, but it's supposed to be the same. Check out under species list or data base. If you need any help with the scientific names or the terminology send me a pm.

    http://www.thewoodexplorer.com/
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

  6. #6
    richard ide's Avatar
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    Sorry, I erroneously assumed you were in Australia. I forget the name but there is a beautiful wood that is being dug out of bogs in New Zealand, several thousand years old. You might check out Fine Woodworking, as they have a website to complement the magazine. Look for a book on wood written by Bruce Hoadley which gives information on many species. I think the U.S. Forest service also has information on woods available. Of course, once you have a species name, the web should be able to provide details.
    Richard

    Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?

  7. #7
    nick mulder's Avatar
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    Richard, you're referring to swamp Kauri - the real stuff - unfortunately a lot of it gets cut into radial disks that make very ugly clocks

    from this:



    to this:



    It's amazing stuff but those clocks - what the flip !?!?! A fish ? It's like the guy on the radio the other day that says he likes to carve whale bone into dolphin pendants - I just don't get it...

    Here it is at that site:

    http://www.thewoodexplorer.com/maindata/we45.html (great website)

    They use the phonetic spelling however... (weird) - I have a cameras worth chunk of the Fijian variety that's been sitting in the garage for about 6 years and not moved a bit - it isn't quartersawn but the middle of the slab is thick enough to pull out the same strips of wood would which be the same cut if I had quartersawn in the first place... The further you go away from centre the more angled the grain will be...

    Aside from pulling up pages on each wood type and comparing side by side that site would be great if you could compare specifications, ah well, I'll only learn
    Cleared the bowel problem, working on the consonants...

  8. #8
    Rick A's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter the species of wood used for cameras, what does matter is the stability of the wood, and its resistance to seasonal movement(effects of humidity and temps), and the ability to stay true without warp or twist.. Second criteria would be ease of machining. Some woods just cannot be brought to size and joined easily, and making small parts dictates that to some degree. Another aspect would be how well the species accepts adhesives and the chosen finish, natural oils resistive of glues and chosen finishes.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  9. #9
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Whilst stability is important in that you don't want something to shrink so, for example, you cant slide the film holder in, it's not so important as it would be for a musical instrument. Just about everything which relates to the position of the film to the lens is adjustable on a view camera anyway.

    If this is your first camera, I would suggest making it out of something fairly easy to work with and easily obtainable such as mahogany or one of its 'lookalikes'.


    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.

  10. #10
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Honduran mahogany was the standard for pattern makers because it was so stable. Excellent choice, but not listed. Sapale is considered "medium stability" ,but it is beautiful.

    Here is one reference that may help, but it is targeted at flooring. Of the list, Maple, Walnut and Cherrry (if American variety) would be good choices.

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