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has anyone experience with red grandis or sipo? how consistent is color ,grain, weight?
Our bread and butter is making custom interior doors. Since I have working here we have used pattern mahogany, okume, red maranti (luan), sipo and sapele.
The mahogany was the best all around but too expensive. The okume was brutal on the cutters, it dulled everything. The luan we had a drastic down slide in the quality. The ribbon sipo was good but too hard to find. We are now with sapele and are satisfied. It is easy to get, machines well, and we have not had an issue with movement.
Our shop has humidity control and we can keep the shop between 45% in winter and 55% summer, so we are around 9% EMC. Machined wood is either stored on edge or covered with 1/2" mdf.
I'll second the suggestion of Sapele. It's our go to wood for exterior projects and we're see more and more requests for in on interior work as well.
Another good choice is Utile. It is similar in color and workability to Sapele but hs a grain pattern a little closer to SA Mahogany.
the quartered darker sapele doesn't work for many of my customers.
Quartered Sapele tends to have heavy ribbon stripping. While being quarter sawn it is more stable it is an appearance that many do not like. We specify "plain sawn" when ordering Sapele for this reason unless we have a specific order for a ribbon Sapele project.
I would like to point out a couple things. One, utile and sipo are the same wood. Two, I have worked with sipo/utile and sapele (both quarter/ribbon sawn) and it is really hard to tel them apart in appearance.
I've had many problems with flat sawn Sapele moving on me. I won't trust it for doors. Quarter sawn is much more stable. It paints well too. For exterior doors I tend to use Spanish Cedar. I hate working with it because of the oils in the wood. Smell and taste terrible. Get on your hands and your face and you need to wipe them down with alcohol to get rid of the oils.
But it makes a very stable door that is very rot resistant. A bit soft.
Speaking of door wood....
For several years I've been sitting on some 8/4 x ~16" palo chino/Mexican ebony/Pithecellobium mexicanum planks that I had envisioned for a front door while living in Tucson. Has anyone out there worked with this wood? I've moved it to New Orleans and will ultimately put it into a to-be-built shop. Hope to use it for something other than a casket!
Well, I don't have much idea about it. if anyone has the picture of it, please posted here. It will be of great help.
I find that two different species are listed as palo chino: Bursera simaruba and Havardia mexicanum [formerly Pithecellobium mexicanum]. I am familiar with the Bursera from having had garden specimens and observations in Baja California Sur. It's an interesting genus, but I cannot imagine using the wood...similar to cotton wood, but, in my obervation, less usable. It shows up for sale at several sites. The second is what I have. The attached photos are of PC bowls, one unfinished, the other spar varnished. The link is to an informative short article. The planks I have are heavy and the wood, based on a few passes with a hand plane, is fairly hard, similar to mesquite. Unplaned it has a brickish red look.