Thursday, November 26, 2009

Woodslabbing Timeout IV

Did some more woodcutting today, this time I was lucky to have a couple friends join me.

The extra hands were handy for the new 60" mill that I had not used before. The thing is heavy and hard to start the cut with!

We scored 6 40" wide slabs from a crotch piece of the same box elder tree that I cut up a couple weeks ago. Also got 6 nice pieces of birch. I wound up with two of each. I think I have enough box elder now to last me 100 years!

Bookcase?? I have the console design figured out now, I just need to make up 25 of them! Plus some spares.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Woodslabbing Timeout III

After several days of trying to make it happen, I was finally able to get down to the beach and slab up another log, albeit a short one. Pulled off seven 2" thick slabs plus a 4" thick one. That thick one was to try and 'box' the heart of the log where there was a large crack which is visible in the picture.

This one is maple, likely a street tree from somewhere in the city. This one had been attacked by some kind of fungus so that the wood turned from white to the spectacular organey colour. This is the first stage of spalting, which often introduces many beautiful colours and patterns into the wood. If spalting is allowed to go too far the wood will become soft and punky, no good for woodworking. This one is in the early stages, and the wood is still very solid.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Proof of Slow

Well progress progresses in fits and starts. I managed to get all the elm veneer edging on on the notches of all five shelves. Plus one of them I have all the rest of the edging on it. The other four are still in progress. My small shop and lack of clamps became a real issue with trying to do this part of the project.

The following photos are of the one shelf with all the elm edge veneer on. They show pretty clearly the plywood, the alder bake ins (seems like a lifetime ago that I did them!), and the elm veneer. I have to be careful when I am trimming the elm edgings to make they are exactly flush with the plywood surface, otherwise it may lead to gaps when I glue on the top and bottom veneers.

Nothing has yet been done in putting the veneer press together, or making any decisions about what to use to hold up the shelves.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Woodslabbing Timeout II

There was a 20' long old growth Douglas Fir down at the log dump recently. I cut off a 7' length and slabbed out 7 nice 2 1/4" thick boards yesterday (gave one to a passerby who had pitched in with the saw and also given me a bunch of gloves). They are about 2 feet wide. Doug fir is normally not associated much with fine cabinetmaking, but this log was just too nice to turn down. I had picked up my two saws from the repair shop, got all the chains sharpened the day before, and the rain held off nicely for my son and I to saw away for three hours.

Saw was not cutting well on the left board! Too many ripples.

The fir turned out to be surprisingly hard to cut, the saw did not want to self feed much, I really had to push hard on it. I had sharpened the chains with a smaller diameter file, so I think I need to go back to the larger file, as well as look at the raker depth.

Nice tight growth rings!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Finished Baking!

Well I FINALLY got all the bake ins finished for the shelves. You can see that I did three of the four edges, plus the various fussy notches. The last edge will be the front of the shlf and will have a sapele piece glued to it, no need for a bake in.

The veener press and vacuum arrived, I need to assemble it. And I think I should drill the holes for the shelf supports so I can fit each shelf exactly to its place. However, I am dilly-dallying on what type of shelf support to use. The ones I have used in the past from Lee Valley seem a bit lightweight, but any others I have seen look like crap. What to do, what to do.

Also started planing down some of the elm strips that will be used as edgings on the shelves.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Woodslabbing Timeout

Squeezed in a couple days of slabbing up logs recently.

First one was a Manitoba Maple (AKA Box Elder). It poured rain on me for the first hour or so, but I carried on and was rewarded with a Subaru full of wood! Ten slabs about 2" thick, maybe 4' long, and ranging up to 30" wide. A really nice haul and probably some of the most colourful wood I have found. I was awestruck after I finished the first cut and flipped the top waney piece off to expose the colours!

We'll see how it fares after two years drying. It does have some cracks in it so several of the boards will split, but it should still be amazing. Manitoba Maple does lose its vibrancy when exposed to light, so it is a good wood to put inside a cabinet where it is dark 99.999% of the time.

A week later I found myself staring at a 3' long section of an oak tree trunk. A short piece yes, but it was wider than my mill could handle, ie wider than 31". Got nine slabs out of it, each about 2" thick and almost totally clear, barely a knot to be seen. The grain is not really tight, and there is some splitting at the pith, but nice straight grained stuff, the QS pieces have nice ray flakes. I spent quite a bit of time peeling the bark off the log, I learned that oak bark is pretty tenacious!

The first photo above of the oak shows it fresh cut, the second photo was taken about five days later. The colour fading is quite dramatic. This is typical of many woods.

Two of my three chainsaws died that day (the Oak day) and they were off to the shop to be repaired. Meanwhile I made up a mill from the 60" chainbar I purchased last spring. It'll give me a 54" cutting capacity. Not that I find a ton of logs that wide, but I do regularly find logs wider than my 31" mill can handle, and I figure the extra width will come in handy for crotch pieces.

Photo below shows the cutting area with my cutting paraphernalia scattered around. I use Husqvarna 2100 saws for the slabbing. This model was discontinued over 20 years ago so parts are getting hard to find. But they cost 1/5th price of a comparable new one, so the economics still sort of work.

The one resting on the log has the mill attached to it, including the auxillary oiler on the nose. The one in the foreground had just died after giving me a bunch of grief, and the smaller saw on the lower left died later when the pull cord snapped.