Author Topic: Where to buy Spruce stock  (Read 579 times)

Offline Cessna4542c

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Where to buy Spruce stock
« on: March 03, 2017, 07:48:00 AM »
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I can't seem to place a topic in the subject line. Anyway. I am sure that this has been addressed but I was wondering where builders was getting the spruce to build the ribs and wing? Or, what was being used to subsitute for spruce. Spruce is somewhat limited around Wisconsin for the specialty wood shops.

Offline Tom XL-7

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Re: Where to buy spruce stock
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 08:12:37 AM »
Aircraft Spruce and Wicks are two suppliers. You should request their catalogs.  There is a lot of info in them. I am sure there are more. As for substitutes, they are just as hard to find unless you live in the pacific northwest.
Some people use Douglas fir. It is strong enough that dimensions can be reduced. Now you're engineering. I am getting ready to buy some but not for aviation. It is stronger than the other firs, spruces, pines. Selecting wood for aviation requires a lot of knowledge. Grain runout is very important as are compression fractures which can be hard to identify.
Hoop pine is popular in parts of the Southern Hemisphere.
As for Wisconsin, I know there is some stocked near Oshkosh and probably in some of the ports as boatbuilders use it.
By the time you buy it and process it, I wasn't sold on buying lumber.  I bought all my wood and ply from Aircraft Spruce.
Tom XL-7

Offline Cessna4542c

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Re: Where to buy spruce stock
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 09:58:02 AM »
As I am researching this, I found a lumber company that specializes in Spruce for aircraft and boats. Mc Cormick Lumber in Madison Wisconsin. Spruce is 16 and 20 foot lengths and comes in 4 quarters thickness. After I figure out what I need, it comes to 1/2 price. Of course, I have to pick it up (50 miles) and process it (I do have a saw and planner) so I think I will go that route. The caps are the most important, the ribs can be made of douglas fir which is local.

Offline Dave Stroud

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Re: Where to buy spruce stock
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 10:56:39 AM »
Before you commit to any local lumber substitutes, put your eyes very carefully on AC43-13 etc. It's available and free on the net. Look up the direct specs for grain direction, slope of the grain, number of minor faults in the wood etc. For instance, "acceptable" Douglas Fir can be substituted for spruce but it might be 20% stronger but 25% heavier.
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Offline scottiniowa

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Re: Where to buy spruce stock
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2017, 01:23:08 PM »
As I am researching this, I found a lumber company that specializes in Spruce for aircraft and boats. Mc Cormick Lumber in Madison Wisconsin. Spruce is 16 and 20 foot lengths and comes in 4 quarters thickness. After I figure out what I need, it comes to 1/2 price. Of course, I have to pick it up (50 miles) and process it (I do have a saw and planner) so I think I will go that route. The caps are the most important, the ribs can be made of douglas fir which is local.



Stroud gave you (Cessna4542c) some great advice on making sure the Spruce you found will meet the requirements.   But I would have a hard time knowing that if you run the 50 miles (not far) for the spar caps, you just as well get EVERYTHING  as the time you spend looking  at your "local" supply of fir, will cost you more than just getting it all from the first source.   Just my opinion.  

If your source of spruce 50 miles away checks out, your luckier than most and it would be a great deal for you.   By having a band saw instead of the larger kerf table saw, you will be able to create all your wood requirements.
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Offline Tom XL-7

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Re: Where to buy Spruce stock
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2017, 07:27:23 AM »
First off  
in a previous post, I made reference to southern yellow pine when I was thinking Douglass fir. But obviously not too clearly. I have corrected that post.
 I have had difficulty with Douglass fir wanting to act brittle. Snaps or splinters. I respect it for its strength, not for its ability to be worked, sanded and finished.
I wonder how it will behave in a 1/4 by 1/4 format.
 I made some test rib caps out of construction lumber just to play with my jig. More than half was sawdust or too thin waste. I used a table saw. Rough cut.
I bought mine finished for $105. All dimensions correct and smooth four sides.  Wouldn't consider any other way.  
  4/4 lumber is usually a rough sawn board to be finished to 3/4 stock. Is the local material rough or smooth? If rough it is nearly impossible to inspect fully.  I can't count rings and see run out through the fuzz and saw marks. 1/2 price won't be half price if you find issues after you start processing. Half price can and does become expensive tomato stakes. Processing a lot of material is one thing. You can always find uses for the short cuts that were left. Like cap strips for wing ribs.
  But it can be a disaster if you are doing a small order and only buy the few boards you need. 
 There are members from Wisconsin who have done this with local lumber. I am sure it can be done with savings if you count no labor.
 I was looking at a long long day, possibly an overnight and what if the stuff wasn't what I wanted. The trip alone would make up any "savings".
I found it easy to let the processing and grading up to people who go through thousands of board feet.
Tom XL-7

Offline ToddK

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Re: Where to buy Spruce stock
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2017, 05:59:22 AM »
I have a lot of experience with Doug Fur.  I get it locally for much less then sitka.  Clear incredibly tight grain.  Good stuff.  The trick is knowing how to work it and having the right tools.  I go through nearly 2000 liner feet of picture frames moulding  a year for work so I have the tooling.  What you need is:  A quality table saw with a good rip fence, a quality 60 tooth thin kef blade and a miter sled.  I have Jointech Smart Miter sled.  Excellent piece of equipment from a company that is no longer in business.  What you want is a Dubby sled from In Line Industries.  These sleds allow for perfect cuts at any angle, with near zero tear out with woods that are prone to tearing.  Having said that, Sitka cap strip from ACS is cheap to buy and to ship.   In terms of time and expense, there is a lot of value in buying anything that is smaller then 1/2 inch on the longest side, and shorter then 5 feet.