View Full Version : best hardwood for first 3d milling attempt and end grain vs side grain

31-12-2014, 10:41 AM
Hi guys,
I'm going to have a go at 3d milling in the new year, just wondering what is the "best" wood for beginning with - clean cuts and low price is more important than the aesthetic look of the wood. I thought beech might be a good choice but I'm unsure?
I was also wondering- how does end grain take to milling compared with side grain, is the difference notable? I ask because I was considering getting some 'bowl blanks' to try out.

Thanks in advance, and hope you have a happy new year,

31-12-2014, 02:46 PM
American Maple, Basswood (lime). You can get good stuff from John Boddy Timber Boroughbridge but go into the big sheds and buy sawn boards if you can rather than from the sanitised 'consumer' bit.

31-12-2014, 02:54 PM
I have used beech and it does cut nice and finish well.

The drier the better obviously, movement in the wood is the biggest problem, I can fly cut a bit of oak and within hours it's bent like a banana. I made a nice sign for a friend's house, it looked great at first but it quickly curled in on itself, I must have left it too long before oiling it and the moisture must have escaped too fast on one side. :(

31-12-2014, 02:59 PM
When buying wood you need to buy the nearest thickness board to your final requirements. Cutting thicker boards into thinner ones generally always results in warping because thick wood has a higher moisture content in the middle. Sometimes if you can cut it, lay it flat, and put a heavy weight on top, it will dry out flat over a period of time, but you'd need some packers under the bottom and under the weight to allow air to circulate all around the wood.

mike os
31-12-2014, 03:30 PM
take equal amounts off both faces :friendly_wink:

any fine grade wood should be fine, but for just "playing" with I would just use softwood

31-12-2014, 04:06 PM
take equal amounts off both faces :friendly_wink:

Might be okay in some cases but no good if you want to cut a board into two, say a 2 1/2" into two 1 1/4" also no good if book matching two halves.

Softwood is something I won't entertain, unless I'm knocking up a stud partition.

31-12-2014, 04:18 PM
The harder the wood, the cleaner it tends to cut.

mike os
31-12-2014, 05:16 PM
agree, but the op want to try 3d... so probably going to crash somewhere a few times.... I don't see the point in wasting good wood, using more power and accelerating tool wear to "practice", you can do that when you have got somewhere close to wher you want to be

fruitwoods, yew etc..are probably the best, anything with a tight grain structure will usually machine well and hold fine detail

01-01-2015, 11:54 AM
All thats been said plus Also good idea to bring the material into enviroment it's going to live and leave for while before cutting so it settles and adjusts to temps/moisture.

The longer and closer to the temp/moisture enviroment it's going to live before machining the more stable it will be.

01-01-2015, 01:30 PM
Thanks for all the replies, very helpful.

01-01-2015, 06:56 PM
Not sure if its available there but Jelutong is a wood that is often used for hand carving because its very fine grained for a relatively soft wood. Its not very expensive, cuts lovely on cnc roters and is easy on cutters. Its pretty bland looking though but maybe you can try it.

01-01-2015, 07:13 PM
I milled in all sorts of hardwood. Oak is a nice finish, and also walnut. but so far the best finish ive had has been from sapele. Once it got varnished it turned very dark and very glossy, the varnish brought out the natural glossy finish of the wood.

What size pieces are you looking for and where abouts in the country are you. If your close i might have a few bits i can give you.