Lumber in central Taiwan

My first response was removed, so I’ll try to put it more nicely. When you come off as a condescending whatnot and threaten to NARC on people, you are much less likely to get a positive response

Hah got you worked up did I?


I’m an amateur furniture maker, so this is relevant to my interests.

I still haven’t found anywhere locally to buy FSC-certified wood, or even a place that understands the concept. After the last time I asked about it, I’ve mostly stuck to buying ash and walnut from a place that ships it from the US. I figure the ash is most likely culled in the fight against the emerald ash borer, and walnut is common.

For anything more exotic I either look for recycled wood (second-hand furniture places often have big chunky teak pieces cheap) or just buy offcuts from the lumber yard which were probably illegally harvested long ago, but they’re offcuts so I figure I’m not really encouraging the industry.

I’d love a better solution. By my count we have at least three posters on this forum who are involved in the sustainable lumber industry. Surely you guys can suggest at least one lumber yard that carries it?

1 Like

In case there is confusion on my post, let me clarify. The wood we do is all grown (plantation and mixedpoluctultures/thinning in Taiwan). Nothing from China (cause i hate paying our biggest enemy…). For use we do mkstly acacia as its extremely hard, beautiful, fast growing and arguably native. Camphor and mahogany do as well as they are planted a lot and for many years becoming nice varied mixed forests.

Taiwan has CITES species and locally protected species. I would suggest not supporting things like rosewoods, zalkova, bull camphor cypress etc fromm Taiwan

Interesting some of the bigger deforestation players are Taiwanese. Wood import into taiwan is quite easily and horribly corrupt.

Any interesting not on CITES wood. At least some in appendix 2. Species of mahogany are only subject to cites certification from their natural range (basically the americas) while plantation grown trees elsewhere are not subject to CITES certification. This is actually quite a hood idea in my opinion as it promotes preserving old growth forests some. The issue is plantation grown mahogany is younger and smaller. So due to grain preference you cant really get wide quarter sawn boards from plantation grown. Or less likely. The bigger end of size for mahogany logs is about 120cm while normal is 30 to 70. And beacause of winds long straight logs are hard as well.

A nice thing about mahoga y in places like taiwan compared to say brazil or indonesia, is with our cooler winters it creates a far more contrasting grain via seasons compared to the more uniform color brought in by constant tropical weather.

Certainly not for construction (fungus and bugs) but for beauty Acacia here should be more popular. They get good size in 30 years (gov cut rate in south is now based on 33 year cycles,3%), they are gorgeous (like a slightly browner mahogany depending on region of taiwan), hard as shit, durable etc. They rarely can live over 100 years due to funal infections (mostly Ganoderma multipileum and resulting insect damage) in my opinion its one of the best all around trees to grow as there are many producta, it fixes nitrogen, it cant become old growth and grows fast. About half the time needed compared to mahogany. And unlike other plantation trees grown for pulp and such lime eucalyptus, there isnt the problem of massive water and nutrition loss causing a failed ecosystem.

Its a pretty interesting topic. Ill stop, could talk for days on this haha.

Ps. Brian. Its good to report mountain rats. There are a lot. But be very aware a relatively large amount of crime happens up there from drug production, to poachinf to illegal cutting to …etc. A fairly decebt amount of people are murdered in taiwan, so do it very anonymously. Can be seriously dangerous as police are often paid in the industry.


Can you get me a lead as to where I can get Taiwan acacia planks? I would love to make guitars or ukelele from them but I have no source for anything wider than 9cm.

Do you own your own power tools?

In the US a home woodworker may own their own large items like a table saw, a band saw, and maybe even a planer, all of which would come in very handy. That takes a lot of space, though, and some (most?) people have a stand-alone shop or they’re set up in a garage.

Can you rent this equipment in Taiwan? Or maybe even rent a shop with this equipment set up, like by the hour? Or?

When I were a lad in junior high school, all students had to take a semester of drafting and a semester of (1) metalworking, or (2) woodworking. I took the latter, and every decade or so since I get the urge to make something. There’s something about turning board stock into furniture that’s super relaxing and very satisfying, kinda like a more complicated jig saw puzzle.

Really? Would be interested to understand what that means here. Does the local forestry commission actually have planted forest of camphor and mahogany ? I got the impression a lot of camphor was just stolen from the mountains or taken out of private mountain plots where it is basically growing wild.
As for mahogany I would doubt that we could ascertain the source reliably in Taiwan .

Good to know you deal with acacia it’s everywhere in Taiwan and nice wood to boot. I think it may not be native to Taiwan originally anyway.

My place has a big rooftop and a little storage room opening onto it. I have a little Makita contractor table saw, a thickness planer, and a miniature benchtop jointer. They’re all on little tables with castors, and I just wheel them out onto the rooftop to use them. I’d like to add a bandsaw (and maybe a lathe), but there’s just no more space in the storeroom for big tools.

But increasingly I’m not using any of them for furniture anyway. Since this is a hobby and not a business, I find it way more relaxing and enjoyable to just do everything with hand tools. I have several western-style bench planes, some good quality Japanese saws and chisels and such, and a proper workbench I’ve just finished making with vices and dogholes. I watch a lot of Paul Sellers videos on Youtube.

Lately the only time I drag the table saw out onto the roof is for breaking down plywood or doing a bunch of repetitive long rip cuts. And I’m always conscious that eventually my mind will drift for a moment and I’ll lose some fingers to it. I’d get a proper Sawstop cabinet saw if I had the space and could justify the cost.

All the expats around Taipei that are into wood-working I’ve heard of seem to be centered in Wulai, where it’s easier and cheaper to set up a workshop and not bother neighbors with noise. I don’t know anyone seriously into wood-working without a pole barn or something similar for all the machinery and things like air tanks and dust collectors. @Taiwan_Luthiers I’d suggest taking a drive around Wulia and asking around. Probably find someone to source or a lead to a source for what you need.

Oh, also:

I don’t know anywhere to rent big tools, but there are lots of woodworking schools where you can go use the stuff if you’re a member. Here are a couple I know of, though I’ve never actually used them:

Taipei city:

The latter also sells high-end tools (Festool stuff, Veritas hand tools, etc) and some harder-to-find-locally wood like cherry and oak, at reasonable prices.

1 Like

Definitely. My dad was always kinda reckless, and it saved his fingers from injury a few times.

I get that. It’s a very part-time hobby for me, but I’ve noticed that the more work I put in (elbow grease work) before my project is ready for finishing, the more satisfying it is in the end. Doing it all by hand would tick all the boxes.

The finish is really enjoyable. Love the smell, love doing multiple coats, love making it stretch out as long as possible. The assembly is anti-climactic by comparison.

Hah, I envy you for that. I love every step of it except the finish, and whenever I can get away with it I just spray a couple coats of poly and move along.

Yeah, it’s a big thing in the States, a very popular hobby. Lots of people have fully equipped shops even though they only have a few hours available each week to spend in them.

Plus the wife tends to stay out, so there’s that, too. :grinning:

Hah. Planing, joining, cutting, love it. I hate sanding. Hate it. Love everything after, though. Assembly, too.

Oh yeah, everyone hates sanding. But if you get good enough with a hand plane (and a scraper), you barely need to in most cases. You just brush it over with some 220 grit to roughen it back up a bit so the finish sticks (and then again between coats).

1 Like

All the western style bench planes in Taiwan start at 4000, some costing more than full sized jointer or planers. Especially if you buy anything Lee valley you will spend over a million in just hand tools.

Wow. US$33k just in hand planes?!

Go and look at how much stuff costs at Lee Valley, just for ONE plane. Each cost around 250 USD on average. Then you have chisels, workbench (this will cost a lot, in both shipping and cost). Lee Valley chisel is a minimum of around 40-50 EACH, so a set of 10 will be about 500. Then all the knick knacks, like pocket hole jig, dovetail jig, saws, etc. and I can imagine spending a million NTD on those.