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  • Which wood for mic cases?

    Which wood should I use, to make some micrometer cases?
    My next project.

  • #2
    I don't know of any machinery related reason for choosing one wood over another. I have made tool boxes from everything from particle board to oak. The oak would probably be my first choice, but almost any common wood except balsa or pine would work quite well. It is hard enough to wear well in a shop enviroment and common enough so that finding it is no problem.

    Pine is soft and often has many defects and an irregular grain that makes precision work difficult. I would avoid it. Balsa is too soft and would not hold up.

    Tops and bottoms are often made from plywood. It can be had in many different thicknesses from 1/16" up and different woods on the outside. It has a tendency to warp so include sufficient stiffening in the sides.

    Be sure to use a good finish on the wood where it will contact the mikes as unfinished/unsealed wood would absorb any oil on the tool and leave it dry, possibly causing it to rust. I would NOT use any felt or cork lining for the tools as they would do the same.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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    • #3
      Doesn't much matter, really. Choose whatever looks nice to you.
      Poplar is easy to work and has a closed grain, but doesn't stain up all that nice. I like maple but it is pointlessly hard for your application. Oak has a very open grain, which I suppose isn't that much of a negative. Cherry, birch, walnut or even a nice, tight grained piece of pine would all be fine. Walnut would make for an interesting choice if you want to be a little different. Finish with a clear danish oil or tung oil.

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      • #4
        African mahogany is supposed to be the least corrosive to things in the near vicinity. Oak is supposed to be about the worst, with beech, birch, and ash also not particularly good. Redwood and cedar are not great candidates either, though in some cases the aromatic qualities of these woods tends to act as a preservative. I believe the classic cedar chest is made from cedar because it inhibits organic decay, but it is not what you would use to house a metallic instrument.

        That leaves what- true african mahogany, possibly maple, maybe some of the other hardwoods-

        Do you plan to coat the inside of the box with anything? Many coating products will pass the volatile compounds in woods to some extent, and can't really be relied upon to be a complete barrier. Possibly epoxy would be best, but I'm not sure. I know that epoxy coats the insides of tin cans to be a barrier layer, so it must be pretty good as an impervious film. Don't use it though if the instrument is estrogen-sensitive

        A thought is to check with coin collectors- no doubt by now they've pretty much found out what materials can't be used to contain coins.
        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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        • #5
          this is from memory, so take it with a grain of salt.

          the problem child is acetic acid, it's generated when wood decays. so what you need to do is seal up the wood both inside and out.


          personally I'd use cherry and seal the wood inside and out with shellac & lacquer. I'd also keep a desiccant packet in the case, and keep the mic well oiled.
          -Dan S.
          dans-hobbies.com

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          • #6
            I think it will depend on the type of box you are making.
            If you are wanting just a box to hold a mike or instruement with a complete hollow inside then almost any wood would do but if you want to shape the inside to fit an item then a tight grain wood is required aka box or lime.
            The wood should be as dry as you can get it, well varnish it and then line it with some felt etc. It would not then have any effect on the item in it.
            The hardest job is to machine the inside if you want a fitted case so I would suggest making the box in 3 slices make the cut outs in the middle slice then glue 2 of them together also a lot quicker if you have a fret saw( or is it delta saw in us)

            Peter
            I have tools I don't know how to use!!

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            • #7
              The few wood commercial cases I have, from Starrett and B&S, seem to be mahogany. I think I've got one from some company or other that's walnut.
              ----------
              Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
              Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
              Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
              There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
              Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
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              • #8
                Baltic birch with its many thin plies and superior dense lamination would be my first choice for an instrunebt case. Its stable and strong and comes in metric thicknesses close to common nominal DFPA thicknesses. It takes intricate jointing features like half blind dovetails well. You do have to use backer blocks on operations where corner blowout is a hazard.

                I you want to gussy up the appearance apply apprearance grade veneers.

                It's hard to cook up a design featuring both packing density and logical access. I've spent many a lunchtime doodling on coffee shop napkins just such a design and never come up with amnything noteworthy.

                A design of a closed chest with a place for a piece of vapor phase corrosion inhibitor impregnated paper is a good feature as is a nested arrangement where the instruments and their standards contact preservative soaked latigo leather padding rather than bare or finished wood. If your shop tends to be humid, maybe add a low wattage heater, a thermostat, an and an IEE plug.
                Last edited by Forrest Addy; 09-04-2008, 09:49 AM.

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                • #9
                  Teak wood be my choice.

                  It takes and holds mineral oil very nicely without swelling or raising the grain and will do an excellent job of protecting instruments. I have a few solid teak larger boxes with dovetail joints that were used to ship machine parts from Thailand. Unfortunately teak is also going up in price even faster than metals. Fortunately I have a few board feet of random-random planed 1/2 inch stashed away for instrument cases. It machines very nicely without splintering.

                  This is machined teak with no sanding or other finishing done after machining. I used ordinary milling cutters.

                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                  • #10
                    If you want to build a case to store the instrument for "all eternity" or something close, then the recommended woods are all "non-acid." By that is meant spruce, poplar, birch and maple, at least in Canada. I am sure there are lots of other choices, but the oak family sure aint one of them! Proof of this is to take a piece of steel, wet it and lay it on a piece of oak. The resulting black stain is a reaction product of iron and tannic acid.
                    If the wood is coated with a "suitable" film to act as an actual barrier, almost any wood will do. Suitable means water-based latex paint, catalysed laquer, epoxy and maybe urethane, if it is WELL cured.
                    We have, in Ottawa, the Canadian Conservation Institute whose business is advising museums, galleries, etc. on best practices for handling and storing artifacts. One of their axioms is "if it is bad for the environment, it is probably good for long-term storage." Hence the previous reference to catalysed laquer, for example. Fabric to line the case should be a synthetic-wool felt is a real no-no. Any paper products must be acid-free. Kraft-process paper is acidic, destroys itself and attacks anything it touches- look at a twenty year old pocket book. For "French fitting," archival quality Foamcore or Ethafoam are both considered safe. In your part of the woods, I would opt for mesquite, ironwood, or osage as they are all interesting in their own way, Duffy
                    Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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                    • #11
                      I'm no woodworker but I used a chunk of 2x4 pine (I assume they are pine) maybe they are fir???

                      CNC'd a pocket for my grandpa's micrometer and tape measure for display on the coffee table.

                      That was 2-3 years ago. They've been in there covered with a plywood top and no rust yet.

                      I sealed the wood with polyurethane.

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                      • #12
                        Make it from what ever Kennedy wooden tool boxes are made from and seal it. That would be oak if memory serves. They seem to hold up and I've seen tools that sat in the same drawer for decades without problems.

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                        • #13
                          I am with Forrest on this one. I build cabinets when I am not machining or adding on to my house or shop. Baltic Birch is by far the most stable and very easy to work. I have made cases for my 12 X 18 granite plate, 15 X 24 cast iron surface plate and quite a few smaller and lighter tools. Jay
                          "Just build it and be done"

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                          • #14
                            The last 'boxes' I made were a gun cabinet for my air rifles, and a single box for one of my pistols. The cabinet is birch ply veneered with black walnut, the box is MDF (!) fitted to the pistol and then inside lined with synthetic felt and outside veneered with the offcuts from the gun cabinet.
                            Engineered wood works for me, and was handy (and cheaper than teak or walnut) at the time

                            Dave
                            Just south of Sudspumpwater UK

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                            • #15
                              Like they say it does not matter .But I use Oak are Walnut are what ever I have on hand. Even used some chunks of fire wood one time and made some round boxes to hold some punches.
                              Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self
                              http://sites.google.com/site/machinistsite/TWO-BUDDIES
                              http://s178.photobucket.com/user/lan...?sort=3&page=1

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