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Library: construction meteriel

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Author: Ran
Date:Sep 24 1997

There are a number of different meteriels that are avaliable here and useful
in constructing things.

Prices are approximate, and assumed to be small quantities.  In reality,
prices are very dependent on dealers and quantities.

First woods.  Lumber is a generally cheap meteriel with a large variety of
properties.  It is widely used in construction, in making supports, and can
also make specialty weapons.  

Pine (clear) - Pine is the least expensive wood that is useful.  Very
lightweight and easy to work.  It can be used to make supports or for basic
construction.  The main problem is its lack of strength and the fact it dents
or contorts easily, so it should not be used for weight-bearing supports. 
Cost is between $1.00 to $3.00 per board foot, depending on how knot-free it
is.  
Birch (yellow) - Generally strong, but should not be used to make sharp points
as it degrades easily.  It does not respond well to dirt, blood, water, or
other foreign matter.  It is used mostly for interior design, and is
relatively cheap where avaliable.
Poplar (whitewood) - In some circles, "American Whitewood".  It is remarkably
strong for its weight, and relatively inexpensive.  It doesn't dent very
easily nor will it bend.  It should not be used for supports outside as it has
problems with durability and degrades over time in dirt.  It makes good
handles, shafts, or impact points for blunt weapons, but you may want
someting denser.  The closed grain is too coarse to hold a sharp point, so it
is useless for anything requiring that. It is inexpensive, $2.00 to $3.00 per
board foot.

Oak - Always use fast-grown oak, it is strongest.  Red Oak is a beautiful wood
that is used mostly for interior design, luxury furniture, etc.  It is quite
strong and has a coarse open grain, always use finish.  White Oak is generally
the same, only it is more durable and slightly more suitable for outside
construction.  But Oak is rarely used in general construction because of its
expense and difficulty in working it.   It has a problem with chipping but is
affordable and very hard, and heavier than poplar.  It is the cheapest of the
heavier woods, and can be used to make impact points or whole weapons.  Oak is
generall between $3.50 and $5.00 per board foot.

Walnut - Walnut is one of the best woods for most weapons.  It is easy to
work, holds a good point, has a medium open grain, and is quite hard.  It
makes excellent spears or piercing weapons. Walnut is around $5.00, only
slightly more expensive than Oak.

Douglas Fir - This is used mainly for heavy-duty construction purposes.  Like
pine, it is plentiful and relatively inexpensive, and can provide more
strength than pine.  It should not be used for anything that experiences heavy
impact because like pine, it will get dented or contort, just not as easily as
pine does.

Cherry - It has a fine grain and is very easy to shape, often used for making
things such as bowls.  It isn't very expensive (again around $5.00) and while
not as strong as Walnut or Oak, it holds a good point and is very light.  It
should not be used for impact points because it lacks structural strength.

Maple - Sometime called "rock maple", it is the hardest 'commercially viable'
wood.  It is extremely strong structurally, hard to work, and has a closed,
coarse grain.  It should be used when maximum strength or structural support
is needed.  Being extremely hard, it can also make okay blade-sides, though
not as sharp as walnut.  It's also in the $5.00 range.

Teak - Teak has a distinctive smell, the oil in the wood itself drives off
insects and other pests.  It is has a coarse and open grain, but it works very
nicely and is very beautiful.  It is used mainly for making luxury furniture,
or for making parts of boats.  For weaponry, it has no real advantages over
Walnut or the like, other it's very good durability and natural preservative. 
It tends to dull metal machine tools rather quickly, if you are sawing it you
will need to change the blade often.  Teak is expensive, generally between
$15.00 and $17.00 per board foot.

Rosewood - Though very expensive, it is a very dense and strong wood.  It is
great for making staves (long or short) and other pole-like martial art type
weapons.  It is very hard to work, but sanding and sawing is slow and
difficult.  It generally runs between $12.00 and $20.00 depending on the area
it is from, and is largely endangered.  

Chocobo - Another very expensive wood that has the same general properties as
Rosewood, only has a semi-open grain and is slightly lighter.  It is still
very difficult to work and practically requires machine tools, but also dulls
them quickly.  If avaliable at all, it will generally be around $20.00 per
board foot.

Wood should almost always be finished.  A few coats of sanding sealer (before
the finish) might also help it hold sharpness.  The best finish is multiple
coats of polyurethane, oil-based or the newer water-based.  Piercing weapons
and slicing weapons need a durable finish so they don't degrade when exposed
to blood, water, or other such things.

Ceramics and clay is next.  Basically any shape you can make with your hands,
you can make out of clay.  The clay is then placed into a hot stove called a
kiln for a few days and dries completely, hardening it.  Finally it you
typically finish it with some glaze so it won't be scratched that easily.

The main problem with ceramics is that they shatter and though hard, are
generally brittle.  So for making weapons, it is generally not useful.  The
one exception is with explosive devices.

A sphere of ceramics placed around an explosive device will fragment when the
device explodes, causing large amounts of fragmentation damage to soft
targets.  

Metallics is the next majour meteriel useful for making weapons.  Though
generally hard to imposible to shape, metals tend to be very hard.  Like wood,
there is a great variety of properties in different metals that can be used.


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