I really feel like I made quite a bit of progress over the past few days.
I assembled and tested my vacuum veneer press kit that I got from Joe Woodworker. Several trips around town were necessary to pick up the special PVC pipe and the tap I needed, but once I had everything in hand it came together reasonably quickly. It looks a bit like a scuba tank or something, but it uses the tanks to store vacuum created by a venturi. Very cool! I am actually now in the position of being ready to do some veneering! Wait - not so fast. I better do a test piece or two first just to get the hang of it.
A very generous neighbour had given me several long planks of walnut last summer. They were from his nephew who had them milled out of a tree on his property in Oregon many moons ago. They sat outside the neighbour's house for several years and were much the worse for the exposure to the elements. I finally got them all cleaned up, cut out all the splits and wane-y pieces, then ran the remainders through the jointer and planer. There are some very nice pieces, although the longest one is only about 2' long! Since they were air dried and not kiln dried, the colour is gorgeous, really deep chocolate browns, with purple and other dark colours mixed in.
I also had a couple chunks of locust that I cleaned up. One piece that I had been given by a friend, I cut into a dozen blanks for planes (or whatever) about 2 x 2 x 12 inches each. I noticed that it was starting to crack so I thought this would be a good way to relieve the stresses. The other piece I picked up on the beach last winter, I was going to do the same to it, but I noticed that it had not started to crack, and it has some beautiful small ray flakes on one face, so I just cleaned it up and arranged to store it better. It's about 12 x 12 x 3 inches, I split it out of a larger piece and the one face is 'quartersplit'.
Lastly, I finally got some wheels put on one of my Alaska mills. These should really reduce the amount of effort required to push the saw through the log, as the wheels will just roll along the side of the log and prevent the saw and/or various parts of the mill from rubbing on the side of the log. I am keen to test it out, the design is different from other wheel designs I have seen.
Happy new year to all!
9 hours ago