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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have any suggestions here? I'm making an area with a sort of tropical-inspired feel (think Phillipines, Bali, etc.) and was thinking about using something other than run-of-the-mill lumber to do some of the moldings and/or window sills. Is this going to be just absolutely insane, price-wise?

Anyone have any ideas - where to buy, what kind, etc? Would like something a little unique, but I wouldn't want to hack up wood that had a lot of character in it. FYI, found one spot on the web with seemingly huge inventory, www.righteouswoods.net

Seeing as how I'm in Maryland, anything that has to come from the other side of the globe I guess is going to be a little pricey.
 

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Big ,
I think in theory that your idea has potential, I'm always in favor of being creative. considering cost ...Is this project for your self or for a customer?
sources you could check woodweb or do a google search for tropical hardwoods maryland.
 

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My knifemaking buddies liek righteouswoods for ordering small amounts of exotics - especially burl.

Take a look at a couple recent back-issues of woodworker magazine. They had a special on using certain stains to make cheap woods look just like pricy, exotic woods.

If you do go with hardwoods, one of my personal favorites is coccobola. Heavy stuff and toxic to sand (wear a mask and do it outside) but it is a heavily oil-laden wood and finishes like glass.

Tim
 

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Go see the local supplier that the deck building contractors in your area use. Deck lumber yards today are carrying more and more tropical hardwoods at excellent prices (think massive volume for decks). I'll bet they carry Ipe - Brazillian Walnut for somewhere between $1.30-$2.00 linear foot for 1x6. You might be supprised at what else they have right in stock at excellent prices. I'm betting you might also find Cambara, Tiger wood, Brazilian redwoo and Cumaru amongst lots of other stuff too.
 

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Big E, I have worked in some of the most exclusive homes in the country and have found that this doesn't even fly there. The price is just too insane.
I find that I can get away with some as trim for a kitchen in a $8M+ home but anything less than that, you're pretty much whistling Dixie.
You have to remember that when you sell exotics, they have to be spectacular and visable at eye level. Zebrawood cove moulding on a 14' cieling will just look like a mottled grey or a bad paint job. Ipe, why not just use Teak or stain Larch or Birch?
Using exotics around windows is a bad idea as UV's will eventually bleach the color from the wood. I see this all of the time on yachts, seemed like a good idea at the time and sold the boat but 2 yrs. later, eh?
I tried this with window valances in a variety of ways and eventually dropped the program, it didn't even pay for a $5 drunk manufacturing them.
 

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What's the advantage of using Teak over Ipe? Around here Ipe is $1.39 ln/ft and Teak is $6.00 ln/ft. Is that part of the reason why you find it not affordable even in 8 million dollar homes?

Personally I don't understand the whole UV and tropical hardwoods issue, UV fades all wood. Tropical hardwoods are traditional brightwork material because of their properties - long wear, hardness and rot resistance. Once you put varnish or stain on anything it starts breaking down the 1st day it hits the sun, be it teak, ipe, cedar, redwood, pine... pigments are bleached from all woods, but the difference is how the wood goes to silver. Tropical hardwoods go to silver without self-destructing with checking, splitting, warping ect...
 

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I understood the topic to be exotic wood mouldings. Teak and Ipe are just blah brown woods although some teaks can show a little character.
I thought that he was talking about Curly Waterfall Bubinga, Cochinchin, Makore, Cocobola, Koa, the good stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mucho thanks for the suggestions. This project is for my self, so the customer can be really demanding! I will do a bit more calling around, but the local places I've talked to so far carry mostly the more "standard" high-grade woods, birds-eye maple for example.

I think I've decided against trying to do the moldings, but I've got one large window sill (which doesn't see a ton of sun) and a couple of recessed display areas that won't see any sun that I think I'm going to give this a go on. All of it is right at eye-level, so it should stand out well and it's a big enough area that you'll notice it, but small enough that I won't be doing this instead of, say, installing a floor.

Not sure which wood I'm going to go with, but maybe something like a rosewood, ebony, cocobola, something like that.
 

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Big E said:
I will do a bit more calling around, but the local places I've talked to so far carry mostly the more "standard" high-grade woods, birds-eye maple for example.
That's because you are calling hardwood suppliers, they carry exotic hardwoods in small quantities at very expensive rates, mostly for furniture projects. Call deck lumber yards, they carry tropical hardwoods in large quantities at inexpensive rates.
 
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