Is Tropical Wood Quality Slipping?
From Dr. Gene Wengert, Technical Advisor, Sawing and Drying Forum:
It sounds to me like you are not getting good wood from your supplier, and you should change to a better source. Also, the grading rules have not changed either, so if your quality has deteriorated, it must be that the grading is also deteriorating. Specifically, Honduras mahogany today (of the same grade) is as good as 40 years ago. Some is plantation grown and that does give a slightly different appearance for the rings pattern, but few would notice that. Sapele has not changed at all. Both of them are much denser than Philippine mahogany, so if you are getting similar products and processing, you must not be getting the correct species.
From contributor C:
You might want to take a look at an article in Woodshop Magazine from this month. It has an article on exactly this subject. The quality of large-leaf mahogany is getting poorer, but supplies are plentiful and the price has stabilized below $10 bf. I might suggest using Sipo instead of Sapele. It has a redder hue and the same grain pattern. I just got a batch from TBM hardwood in PA that is outstanding. It is only 25 cents more a bf than Sapele. I concur with the other comments here, your supplier may be at fault.
I would suggest when you order your wood, make sure you write a spec for selection. Every mill I have ever dealt with will gladly honor this but most will not advertise the fact that they do. For instance, this was my last order:
Here is exactly what I need:
From contributor D:
Trying to figure out what the client wants from a mill standpoint, because of the loose use of names and often the grading rules, can be a nightmare. From a cabinetmakers standpoint, trying to figure out what the mills are selling can be equally as frustrating. So I agree, using a contract specifying your needs is a good idea. Also, using the scientific name with the common name and having NHLA and SPIB etc. rule books on hand can help you obtain what you need with less headache.
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