Material finds, let us hear them

If I want any unusual materials I tend to order online. But for speciality woods this means I don’t get to feel the material, check where knots are etc.

Was in my local B&Q here in the UK (Home Depot in the US?) getting some MDF. Then I passed down through the flooring section (yawn).

Ooo, oak, bamboo and a few others as laminated flooring planks. Yes, it’s real wood. Better still they sell small sections as samples. Grabbed myself a gorgeous piece of bamboo to test carve in.

May be useful to someone, especially for small signs and plaques.

So let’s hear about your excellent material finds.



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Those samples are free here in US. Any time I go store, I grab bag full of them. I made tons of small hanging signs, refrigerator stick signs.

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Oh! I will have to check that out.
I have been wanting to find a source for some bamboo. (I had been contemplating using cutting boards.)

Most of the online retailers of flooring here in the UK offer 2-4 free samples for their flooring. So I’m going to give that a try :wink:

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You have option to choose different colors and thickness. I grab as much as I can and tell them huge project going on, stand by. It’s not a lie. :wink:

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Tried with online retailers and received samples from three supplies this morning. Probably wouldn’t use them for anything “production” but useful for tooling and speeds/feeds trials before buying some actual stock. So it might actually work out for them in the long run :smile:



I stopped by my local Lowe’s and picked up a few samples for 25 cents each. Perfect coaster sizes :wink:
Most of the flooring they had was a laminate, but I got some solid bamboo and hardwoods. (I also picked up some cork. It is a laminate but I got it for a different project)

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25 cents !!!, I like H Depot.
I’m carving nice words and picture on them, they don’t hold the paint on surface, painting carved areas. I made guide to hold two rows and 6 columns together, attaching guide to work surface, carving , then turning over attaching same guide and sending true Dewalt Planer for thickness. Put nice cut magnet on it for Refrigerators or make hole for wall hanging. It’s fun.

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I ordered a box of thin scraps from ebay (wood.seller)

Here is what I got today

For $22.50 it is not a great deal. All the pieces are about 1/4 inch thick which is fine. Although there are about 20 pieces that are paper thin that I have no idea what to do with. Most are about 8 inches wide and between 8 and 12 inches long. Most are two side smooth, but about a quarter of them are pretty rough. about 10 pieces are very warped and a few appear to be water damaged.

The majority of pieces appear to be cedar, which I have never tried to mill before, but I suspect it will not do very well.

It looks like there are 17 pieces that I can use, so about $1.30 per piece (8x10). I will not purchase again.

Random thought: Glue them together into a custom made block of plywood. Then carve something with a lot of 3D detail for some funky grain patterns?
Or use them for inlay work.

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I had not thought of that, good idea!


FYI: I stopped by a different Home Depot near my house (I live near 3)
And their flooring samples were FREE! :smile:

So I got a selection. Even some thin plastic tiles, just to see what they will carve like.

When you try to cut the hardwood floor samples be sure you have it really clamped down well. I was cutting out some block letters from oak samples for my grandson. I had clamped it tightly (I thought) on top and bottom, but it broke free after about 10 minutes of cutting. I had to squeeze the second one between two side clamps along with the top and bottom clamps to make it stay put.

I just finish 12 signs on Hardwood Floor samples today. Using Carpet tape. It holds awesome, you have to use screw driver to get it out.

A bit strange, but…

I needed some cheap, 3/4" thick plastic. PVC trim/boards from Home Depot to the rescue! :smiley: A 12’ piece of 3-1/2" x 3/4" was $25.

So I checked out my local Ganahl lumber.
Being a lumber yard they had a much better selection and prices than Home Depot or Lowel’s.
About half the price on basic red oak. And more sizes and thicknesses.
As well as maple, cherry, mahogany, walnut and teak. Good lord Teak is expensive ~$25 a foot!
(So much for my plan of making Tikis out of actual Teak! Maybe as a one off some day.)

My local store didn’t have zebra wood or purple wood but a different store did. So if I ever want some I can get it.
They also had premade veneer inserts

I asked at the board cutting desk if they sold remnants (those bits of board left over too short to sell, for them that is less than 8"). Unfortunately they do not.
But then I stumbled across this:

It is a box filled with random board remnants. Exactly what I wanted!

I dug through the stack and found one that was FULL of oak. About 40 lbs worth

This is going to keep me in carving wood for a long time :slight_smile:

Check the dumpsters outside or behind your local hardwood flooring companies… I have a huge stack of sticks from a single dive several years ago, including a couple of exotic hardwood pieces 1" x 12" x 30". Of course what you find depends on the clientele, but this particular company installed hardwood floors in high-end waterfront properties.

Several of the HDU foam manufacturers will send you a box of free samples if you visit their web site and click the “Request Samples” Sign Board and Precision Board sent me a nice collection of different density samples in 6 x 6 x 2 blocks

Thanks for the hint. I did several of them. Only one company listed on google have no sample option › Materials › Machinable Foam. :joy:

Just getting started with my X-carve. Got some laminate but am having difficulty carving, breaking bits. What settings do you use? How fast do you have the spindle turning?