lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

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lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby cangolfbuilder » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:45 pm

I am looking for options for where to buy rough cut lumber for making furniture (tables,chairs, China Hutch) and built-in furniture ( kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanity,

walkin closet). I have read about wood street in Bangkok but have never been there. I would like to buy straight from a saw mill if that is an option. In Canada many

mills have their own kiln so the wood is dried and ready for the jointer at the cheapest prices. I have a few questions:

1: Where have you bought your lumber?

2: What species were available, both local and imported?

3: What dimensions can you buy? Can you buy 1 and 2 inch thick boards in all widths( 4",6",8",10",12" etc)? Can you buy 4"x 4" 's and 6" x 6" posts? What are the lengths?

4: Finally what are the typical prices for this lumber?

Thanks for any help.
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby Klondyke » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:41 pm

Beside the said road in Bangkok with shops for mainly a smaller quantity, there are also importers for a larger sale.
And/or you can import a full container by yourself directly from US/Can/EU exporters as I am buying sometimes (mainly from US East Coast).

Image

There are many kinds of timber, each in various grading, each in different dimensions, all that results in different prices. And it varies in buying seasons.

If you are interested in more details you can PM me, perhaps I could help you.
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby canopy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:11 am

Klondyke I see you prefer buying from abroad. Can you expand on the advantages?

To the OP:

1. where: ask around to find the lumber yards and mills in your area
2. species: many tropical types available. note it is your responsibility to get papers for protected species like teak.
3. dimensions: you can get anything. limits vary mill to mill. going beyond 6 meters long or over 8x8" faces starts getting real exclusive.
4. price: ridiculously high. That's why wood is so seldom used these days for building, etc.
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby Klondyke » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:07 am

Situation in Land of Golden Teak (and other valuable timber) with buying wood: In short, zero.

This is not a surprising discovery for anybody who looks around for a wood. Although, there are few shops in some areas, either with a legal construction wood (mainly import from Malaysia, Indonesia), or half/full illegal shops with teak and other protected species.

And although the shop with illegal teak can be alive without problems, when you will buy it and transport it and/or somebody sent a police/forestry to your place, you will be severely punished and/or jailed. That of course does not mean that also some village people can organize a protected wood by themselves without any much problems, we are in Thailand.

So, practically, for a common use the only easy wood is acacia (mai chamchaa) that is increasingly used by factories for kitchenware and some small furniture, formerly only for huge carvings, a species with wonderful texture, fast growing, a substitute for the expensive (and rather dull) teak.

Then of course the main commercial wood is a rubberwood from the South, a huge quantity replenished every year once the rubber has been exploited from those trees. This wood is surprisingly very similar to European beechwood, therefore discovered many years ago for kitchenware from Asia. However, the trees are not of a large dimensions, so the use is just by 100 - 120 cm length and of a width 2 , 3 , 4", needed to be jointed for larger pieces. And that only after immediate treating by chemicals and drying after the felling otherwise attacked by insects. Somewhere back few years ago I placed few more info in a thread with pictures about this.

So, these two main species - acacia and rubberwood - are the only wood for commercial use of woodworking companies in Thailand. That's why it comes the situation with wood import. As obviously anybody else, I too was very surprised to learn many years ago that Thailand is on a front rank of wood import from US (Canada) exporters who not only cover the huge domestic demand are servicing mainly Asia.

To a workable price a very special feature of shipping has contributed: There are daily thousands of full containers arriving to US two coasts, those however have to be returned back to Asia for filling in. So, what USA can sell back to Asia? Just the raw material growing on huge areas, not much value added by a US workforce. So, the containers back to Asia are offered by the sea forwarders just for a kiss, that's why the wood exporters offer the wood with prices up to the Asian ports, also to Bangkok.
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby schuimpge » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:11 am

Good info Klondyke, thanks..

On the shipping, yes correct. Worked at the Asia Seafreight import side 20 years back in Rotterdam Port..
Another problem is added to that as well. The imbalance between 20' and 40' containers.
From Asia, to Europe & US/Canada, most of the trade is 40' Containers. Low value, big, light, voluminous products packed in large boxes. (Handicrafts, clothes, furniture, etc).
The other way around, most export produce from Europe/US/Canada is high value, low volume, and often heavy equipment. Think of Germany for example, where most exports used to be machinery. Majority of those shipments require 20' containers.
So there's huge amounts of 40' containers stuck in Europe/US/Canada and those are going back almost for free.

On the wood itself, it totally depends on the volume you need. If it's for a hobby/house-reno or one-off job, then there's plenty of wood available if you look around a bit. But for production-runs, I won't argue with Klondyke as he will sure know his trade running a wood-business himself.
For me, I just walk in at one of the mills around Pathum and ask at the office. They'll just take my note of what I need, then walk around with me so I can select the pieces I like and they'll cut it to rough size for me.
1000 - 2000 Baht gives me some good volume/qty of hardwood stock, mostly from 4x8" beams.

If your requirements are for smaller pieces, then I'd try and get your hands on the off-cuts. Typical at my in-law's (they live on-site at a mill in Petchaburi) those pieces are sized anything between 500-1000mm length and 1"-2" thick. Nice stuff to use for smaller projects.

Cheers,
Luc
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby cangolfbuilder » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:12 am

Thanks for all the great information. In all the research that I have done I see Daeng ( iron wood) wood and Padauk ( Nara wood ) come up. Is this material not readily available?
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby canopy » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:36 am

Mai Daeng is perhaps the most common wood you can find. It is very dense and strong. I am not sure I would want to use it for making cabinets. First of all is the color which is a very dark purple i don't find attractive. It's as hard as stone, so hard it can be brittle so grain direction needs carefully considered. Drill bits can smoke trying to penetrate it. Hammer handles can break trying to pry out nails. Also extremely heavy. It's great for making rafters where it is commonly used.
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby Klondyke » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:05 am

canopy wrote:Mai Daeng is perhaps the most common wood you can find.


"most common wood" and "can find"? The reality is just the opposite. It is nowadays very rare to find, expensive and restricted, even more than teak, there many people jailed because of teak and redwood. Even more risky for a falang...

Yes, it is good for a floor, but difficult to drill, mill, so why to use for furniture and risk all the problems beside the cost? A chair is incredibly heavy to move, doors and drawer will expand and stuck in the rainy season same as the teak does once the surface is not very well sealed and the gaps are not sufficiently thought of.

Yes, the wood texture is beautiful, but ...?
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby canopy » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:31 am

Klondyke are you perhaps talking about rosewood? The OP was asking about red wood, i.e. mai daeng (ไม้แดง). Mai daeng is cheaper than teak, not protected, and can even be found in building stores. My comments stand.

As far as door building, a properly constructed door will automatically factor in seasonal expansion taking into account the qualities of the species of wood being used. No gaps or sticking will ever occur, something lost on Thai's for the most part.
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby Klondyke » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:22 pm

Canopy, as per my knowledge mai daeng is restricted. Might be that somewhere in your area somebody calls as mai daeng something quite different than the Forestry do. With names in Thailand you are never sure.

Besides there are kinds of a reddish timber (that's why for somebody mai daeng) available in construction wood shops (in fact, almost all Asian wood species are reddish). However, as I know, they are commercially named mai benjapan for a whole group of some 5 species, import from Indonesia, this can be used also for furniture.

But might be that there are some other sources not known to me as it is not in my interest. Beside imported wood the Thai woodworking companies usually work with local acacia - monkeypod (mai chamchaa) and rubberwood (mai yang paraa), also teak but not so often.

However, individual village woodcrafters (organized under Sahakon or OTOP) can work (sometimes illegally) with other kinds of wood, some of them restricted, we are in Thailand.

Acacia (monkeypod)
Image

Rubberwood
Image

Teak
Image

White Oak (US)
Image

Ash (US)
Image
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby canopy » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:23 am

Klondyke wrote:With names in Thailand you are never sure.


mai daeng means mai daeng. This is not some regional slang. I can speak Thai and am in close contact with forestry people for a decade. The protected species you are talking about have completely different names. You are confused. I suggest you look around for mai daeng in the lumber yards and clear up this knowledge gap. mai daeng is a popular and legal wood in Thailand.
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby Klondyke » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:33 am

Canopy, I do not want to argue with you. My knowledge re restricted species is via my wife who deals with the Forestry issuing and renewing every year a licence to us (including also teak). However, you might have different knowledge, we are in Thailand.

As a matter of fact, I am not confused. I just do not care about the said species since they are not important for a commercial use, nor they are demanded by a commercial market (OK, almost).

And as everything in Thailand, once they are uncertain matters concerned with falangs, it might be sometimes dangerous, we are in Thailand...
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Re: lumber(timber) for furniture making. Location and prices

Postby canopy » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:06 pm

Pardon me Klondyke, but you came barging in with some pretty strong dissenting language about mai daeng that surely raised more than a few eyebrows from people here who have seen, used, and know a thing or two about this wood. For buying wood in general your comments ring of truth, but your dissent specifically against mai daeng was hog wash. I am simply trying to set the record straight for the purposes of future readers.
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