Author Topic: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?  (Read 1009 times)

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Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 414
Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« on: April 20, 2017, 07:50 AM »
I was turning a small piece of lignum vitae a couple of weeks ago, and found that it really smells good.  I have a small piece at work that I occasionally scrape a bit just for the smell.

Other woods that I think smell really good when cut include Port Orford cedar and imbuiya (in small doses).

Aromatic cedars and junipers are also nice, but are quite commen.

I've never had the opportunity to cut sandalwood or camphor.

It seems that woods with distinctive odors are that way because of the oils in the wood, and that means that they tend to be allergens and irritants as well.  Also, several of the woods on the list are on at least one non-sustainable list, including lignum vitae, Port Orford cedar, and several species of sandalwood.

On the bad side, last year I cut down a Siberian Elm (which everyone around here wishes was non-sustainable) with just a hint of a musty pile of wet carpet from a room where cats had lived without enough training.  It's still drying, so I haven't been able to cut it dry yet.

What woods do you like to cut because they smell good?
Any that you think smell particularly bad?
Any unusual local woods that the rest of us would have trouble getting?
What woods maintain their scent over time in a way that enhances pieces that use them?  Aromatic cedar is an obvious example.

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Offline Lettusbee

  • Posts: 24
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 08:26 AM »
I don't care for the aroma of poplar.

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 83
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 09:19 AM »
White oak...it's used for bourbon aging barrels and the smell/taste is reflected in fine bourbons!

Offline WastedP

  • Posts: 320
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 09:27 AM »
The first time I smelled fresh cuts of Australian Cypress, it made me sad.  Sad because it smelled delicious and I couldn't eat it.  It's like cinnamon and cedar had a baby. 

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 69
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 11:41 AM »
Favorites: Amboyna burl, and Cedar
Un-favorites: MDF and the smell of burning maple from dull cutters (not that I would ever know this) [embarassed]

Offline dmccririe

  • Posts: 19
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 01:42 PM »
I love the smell of cherry. 

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 403
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 03:13 PM »
Cutting pine always produces great smells. Chainsaws do a wonderful job of spreading the smells around.

Offline johntheoak

  • Posts: 8
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 08:19 PM »
Favorite wood, Oak naturally! Worst smell Zebrawood, Greenheart has a very pungent smell too.

Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 68
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2017, 08:31 PM »
I like the smell of a lot of different woods Pine and cedar are very distinctive but I'm a Kentucky boy so oak for the bourbon barrels is my favorite. The worst to me is zebrawood when sanding, it smells like dung!!

Offline hopper

  • Posts: 99
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 06:49 AM »
I like the smell of black walnut.  Hate the small of real Teak (smells like rotting garbage)

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 07:25 AM »
Walnut is definitely my favored shop scent.

Bubinga on the other hand is toxic to me. First time I used it I was careless about wearing a respirator and gave myself a 7-day sinus infection. Just recently I cut a 3" strip of 3/8 stock on the bandsaw and hand sanded it to make a test of square plugs and felt the effects. It's now on my hazardous materials list.

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Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 07:38 AM »
If you don't like Signatures, just go to Look and Layout and tick No Signatures.

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”
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Offline T. Ernsberger

  • Posts: 760
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 08:29 AM »
I turn some acrylic before and for me its the worst smell.  I will not work with it anymore.  My favorite wood to work with is Cherry as far as smell.  Ipe was the wood that got me into Festool being I have an a allergy to it. 


Offline vidkid26

  • Posts: 78
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Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 01:06 PM »
Canarywood smells like the sweet aroma of everything nice about woodworking.
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Offline deepcreek

  • Posts: 573
    • TimberFire Studio
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 04:26 PM »
BEST - When I was in Phoenix for a wedding last Summer, I bought three slabs taken from the biggest Olive tree in Arizona (killed by a lightning strike).  I folded down the seats in a rented Ford Explorer and drove home to Houston enjoying the pleasant smell of fresh olives.

WORST - Shortly before the trip, I scorched some Gaboon Ebony trying to reduce the thickness by 1/32 with a drum sander.  (Suffice it to say bad things happen in the workshop when you're in a hurry.)  Burnt ebony doesn't just smell acrid, the smoke is also very toxic.  My lungs felt like they were on fire!  I seriously considered going to the emergency room.  Luckily, I had an Albuterol inhaler on hand from a previous illness and a couple of puffs seemed to help but my lungs ached for a couple of days.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 11:57 PM by deepcreek »
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