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Thread: wood choice for baseboards and casing

  1. #1
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    May 2014
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    wood choice for baseboards and casing

    I just purchased a General International moulder,just like the Shop fox or williams and hussey. My plan is to make baseboards and casing for my house . It will be painted. I was thinking of using Alder/Poplar for this. Is there other suitable woods that I should be considering ? Mike.

  2. #2
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    I like maple. Takes the abuse from vacuum cleaners and power cords dragging around corners. Dave

  3. #3
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    I would choose maple as well. Popular or alder would be fine for crown that doesn't take the abuse that baseboards take

  4. #4
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    Maple (soft or hard, whichever is cheaper) is my preference, too.

    John

  5. #5
    Most of the painted base we put on is poplar or pine.

    The others are are right that maple would be more durable.

    Birch would also be durable but I personally do not like working with it.

  6. #6
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    Grassy Lake Alberta
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    Thanks for all the replies. I will check out my prices on maple. What about sources for moulding knives for my machine ?

  7. #7
    I'd say poplar or similar if you are going to paint it. If you want to stain, then red or white oak, whichever is cheaper. Hard maple is good with a clear finish, but you may need to watch out for burning due to the sugar content. It also can be prone to cupping in wide pieces, and is a bit on the unstable side. Birch has all the disadvantages of maple, but sometimes it can also kind of difficult to machine without tear out. Birch and maple can be prone to bloching with stain, especially birch, maple less so.

    My advice would be to go with whatever seems pretty to you that readily available in straight, clear stock and is not too expensive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Whidbey Island , Wa.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kees View Post
    Thanks for all the replies. I will check out my prices on maple. What about sources for moulding knives for my machine ?

    Ask for #2 or paint grade Maple. It will be tougher than Poplar , also tougher to machine, but it sounds like youíre buying brand new cutters so you should be OK , well depending on how many LF of base you need?? If you need 1000 LF you should order two sets of knifes or plan on sending them out to be sharpened 1/2 way thru the run.
    But that might be the case with the Alder or Poplar.

    Iíd choose Poplar if it where me, base board does take a beating depending on how well someone cares for their house.

    Base has been made of Pine , VG or mixed grain Fir that was painted , and Poplar for years in the PNW. Fir, up until say the 1980ís was the paint grade wood of choice in Washington state, or the entire PNW.

    So to me the paint grade or #2 I believe it sold as hard Maple is over kill and will cost 30 or 40% more to buy.
    I didnít notice where you are located , but IF you are in the PNW make sure the price they give you isnít for Western Maple or Big leaf Maple because itís NOT much harder than Poplar or Alder. The hard Maple is eastern Maple.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2005
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    Camas, Wa
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    Janka scale
    Popular = 540
    Alder= 590
    Big leaf maple(soft)=850
    Hard maple = 1450

    I think soft maple is good enough. It is almost as cheap as popular and way cheaper than alder.

  10. #10
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    Central WI
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    My supplier is Wisconsin glues up maple into boards up to 24" wide out of strips. I use those for drawers and any paint grade moldings. Less waste but you need a stout machine and a stout friend to handle the stuff. Dave

  11. #11
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    All of the beaded and double-beaded trim that went in for our major home addition in 2008 was milled from tulip poplar "on-site". I personally find it "hard" enough for the purpose, but maple is equally inexpensive, albeit harder to sand mill marks smooth.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Dawson Creek, BC
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    How many feet you talking? It is a big job if a full 2,000sqft+ house. The moulding is the easy part. Making the blanks is tiresome with the small equipment we typically own. I did half a house, and... Regardless of what material you opt for you might want to look into having someone like Lancashire (Edmonton) supply your wood 2 side planed with a straight line one edge. They run it through a 2 sided planer (25hp+) it for peanuts, but you would likely need to buy a lift. I did that not long ago when I needed a bunch of 5/4 stock. That will make it a very reasonable job.

    I would use maple if the budget permits.

  13. #13
    I agree with Jim. Most around here use poplar. I've never seen any really dinged up base, but I've never been in a
    fraternity.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Shipton View Post
    How many feet you talking? It is a big job if a full 2,000sqft+ house. The moulding is the easy part. Making the blanks is tiresome with the small equipment we typically own. I did half a house, and... Regardless of what material you opt for you might want to look into having someone like Lancashire (Edmonton) supply your wood 2 side planed with a straight line one edge. They run it through a 2 sided planer (25hp+) it for peanuts, but you would likely need to buy a lift. I did that not long ago when I needed a bunch of 5/4 stock. That will make it a very reasonable job.
    When I did my molding, baseboard, and trim for my last house, I had my supplier mill everything to 3/4 with a straight line rip. I think I even had the mopboards cut at 7" wide as well. It wasn't worth my time or the wear and tear on my machines (and me) to do all the planing, edge jointing, and most of the ripping myself. It might have cost an extra $100, but I saved a weekend's work. Plus the wife had grown tired of remodeling at that point, so time was of the essence.

    Actually whenever I need more than about 100 bd ft of something, I usually just have them plane it for me (and deliver, since it is only about $25 where I live). Again, it isn't worth my time and wear on my planer blades to do it myself.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    I use poplar for paint grade. If I was smarter I'd use s2sr1e or s4s. As its only $0.25 or $0.70/bdft more

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    Last edited by Jared Sankovich; 11-09-2018 at 3:32 PM.

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