We’ve never met a type of wood we didn’t like. The type of wood you choose for your project will depend on the results you want to achieve. A few quick cuts through a piece of plywood for a jig is a lot different, machining-wise, than a carefully roughed and finished piece of fine walnut or purpleheart intended as a gift.
The possibilities are limitless for what you can make with wood. We’ve made building blocks, inlays, enclosures, work-holding jigs, and lots of other things. Wood is exciting in that there are many kinds to choose from, each with its own unique properties, grains, color, and suitable purposes.
Plus, you can find wood scraps from most lumberyards that deal in hard and exotic woods. You can find the right fit for your project and learn a ton about wood. Scraps and samples are also great because they’re usually already cut to a size that will fit in the milling machine.
The hardness, direction of the grain, and optimal uses for a particular kind of wood should be considered when embarking on a new wood project. Asking for advice from brick-and-mortar exotic wood retailers is a great way to learn about wood; plus, they often have scrap bins with varieties of wood in smaller, inexpensive sizes that are great for experimenting.
Wood can work well with all sizes of end mills; however, the size and type of end mill you use will depend on the kind of wood you’re using and the results you’d like for your project. Proper feed and speed settings can get you everything from a smooth, satiny finish on a final product to expertly made quick cuts for a jig or other piece that doesn’t need fine finishing.