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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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DocFinance
sage


Reged: 01/14/14

Loc: Clear Lake, Texas
Best wood for tripod legs?
      #6356951 - 02/05/14 03:38 AM

Next step in resurrecting my Polaris mount is a set of extendable legs. Any ideas on which woods would be better than others? Local Home Depot has pre finished poplar, ash, and oak, and I'm open to other suggestions.

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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6356964 - 02/05/14 03:49 AM

Berlebach uses ash.. or was it beech.

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Chuckwagon
member


Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Orem, Utah, USA
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6356977 - 02/05/14 04:20 AM

If you are looking for a strong, stiff wood, use Hickory. It is the strongest of the North American hardwoods in compressive strength, bending strength, and in stiffness. To quote The Preacher from Pale Rider, "There's nothing like a nice piece of hickory." Birch is also a good choice.

Charles

Edited by Chuckwagon (02/05/14 04:26 AM)


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Hilmi
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Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: Chuckwagon]
      #6356991 - 02/05/14 04:59 AM

I'm no expert woodworker, I build wood projects from scraps I find. Last time I used Redwood, it burnt two drills and took 3 times as long to cut through compared to other woods. Same goes to sanding, but in the end, my most durable projects in Oman's merciless sun have been the ones I built out of Redwood.

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fivestring
super member


Reged: 01/21/14

Loc: Mt Holly, NC
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6357168 - 02/05/14 08:40 AM

Hickory, ash or white oak

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tomcat141
sage
*****

Reged: 08/20/11

Loc: SE Ohio
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: fivestring]
      #6357206 - 02/05/14 08:59 AM

Quote:

Hickory, ash or white oak




+3


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Eddgie
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/01/06

Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6357244 - 02/05/14 09:25 AM

Ipe.

Indestructable.

Eight times harder than redwood.

A dense wood with close grain. Coloration similar to Teak.

Difficult to work, but resists weathering better than most wooed. It can be sealed to stabilize the color (or it will turn gray in time, but can be pressure washaed back to normal color)

You can often find scraps from deck companys. Call one in your area that installs Ipe decks and ask them if they will give you some short scraps after their next project.

Of course all of these other woods mentioned are fine choices too, but you asked for other alternatives so I thought I would mention it.

I am not kidding though... If you rush a long rip, you will dull out your saw. It is horribly dense stuff. For Ipe, it is best to keep the cuts slow to avoid melting out the edge on the saw teeth.

Honestly though, this would likely be overkill. I am sure that some ash would work well enough and be far easier to work. Again, you asked for alternatives, so I am just offering another one that most people don't know about.


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PJ Anway
Double-Star Observer
*****

Reged: 06/04/03

Loc: North Coast
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6357593 - 02/05/14 12:25 PM

Ironwood (also called Blue Beech). It's as tough as .... well, iron.


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DocFinance
sage


Reged: 01/14/14

Loc: Clear Lake, Texas
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: PJ Anway]
      #6357737 - 02/05/14 01:37 PM

Thanks for the ideas. I think I've got some redwood around already (from an old bench that folded up) so that may be my first experiment.

I like to work with red oak, and it sure is heavy and dense (which is good for mount stability) but I'm not sure about its dampening abilities. Heavy is good, but rigid isn't good if it propagates vibration. I'll have to see what the tradeoffs are.


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SteveG
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Reged: 09/27/06

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6357791 - 02/05/14 02:06 PM

Are these legs going to be adjustable? I personally could not build a set of wood tripod legs for less than what can be purchased aftermarket:
http://handsonoptics.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=42_126&am...


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DocFinance
sage


Reged: 01/14/14

Loc: Clear Lake, Texas
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: SteveG]
      #6359407 - 02/06/14 10:23 AM

Yes, they will be adjustable. I may have to buy a few pieces of wood, but I already have all of the hardware and finish material just sitting around. Those tripods that Gary sells are a great buy, though.

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CharlesW
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6359497 - 02/06/14 11:12 AM

I would head over to Clark's Hardwood Lumber Co in Houston and talk with them. Besides, you'll have fun just looking at the exotics. But, teak would be a good choice. You can get it in thicker stock, not SUPER expensive, and absolutely impervious to the elements.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: CharlesW]
      #6359535 - 02/06/14 11:32 AM

I'd go with ash- you need to be able to move it.

-Rich


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sickfish
member


Reged: 01/13/09

Loc: Watertown Ma.
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: CharlesW]
      #6359540 - 02/06/14 11:33 AM

Cool info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test

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StarStuff1
Post Laureate
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Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: CharlesW]
      #6359541 - 02/06/14 11:33 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

I built this red oak tripod for my Super Polaris almost 20 years ago. It has held up well, dampens quickly, very strong. Here it is holding a long 80mm and a C102f. A key is having a solid tripod tray that locks the legs very strongly.

While almost all of the tripods and bino mounts that I have built over 30 years were made from red oak I like ash even better.


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CharlieB
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/11/07

Loc: Southern NH
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6359578 - 02/06/14 11:57 AM Attachment (11 downloads)

Ash is my preferred wood, followed by white oak, but you have to use stainless steel hardware with white oak or the the wood blackens.

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DocFinance
sage


Reged: 01/14/14

Loc: Clear Lake, Texas
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: CharlieB]
      #6359678 - 02/06/14 12:58 PM

Quote:

Ash is my preferred wood, followed by white oak, but you have to use stainless steel hardware with white oak or the the wood blackens.




I didn't know that for white oak. I like working with red oak (for the stiffness) but I don't like the weight or the toxicity of the sawdust. For this, though, either redwood or oak might be the best answer.

I was reading through Roth's Compendium earlier, and it seems that the tradeoff for any tripod is between stiffness and the ability to dampen or "bleed" vibrations quickly. There's a chapter by a fellow named Zaegler (I think) that covers mount design and has a bunch of good stuff in it.

There is one other characteristic that's important, as pointed out here: weight. I should be able to move it. So some of the lighter woods win out on that point.

Edited by DocFinance (02/06/14 12:59 PM)


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herrointment
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/12/11

Loc: North of Hwy. 64
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: DocFinance]
      #6359782 - 02/06/14 01:48 PM

Ash. Straight grained Ash.

Period.


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tag1260
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/07/12

Loc: Ohio, USA
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: herrointment]
      #6359906 - 02/06/14 02:55 PM

Any reason to NOT use Red Oak other than weight?

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fivestring
super member


Reged: 01/21/14

Loc: Mt Holly, NC
Re: Best wood for tripod legs? new [Re: tag1260]
      #6360414 - 02/06/14 06:51 PM

Red Oak is kinda porous. If you look at the end grain under magnification it's like looking into a pile of drinking straws.
White Oak is NOT like red oak. It is stronger and weathers well for outdoor purposes.
Teak and ipe have been mentioned but they are heavy.
My 3 would still be ash, hickory or white oak.


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