Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Change of Direction

A busy few weeks, although progress on the desk was naturally, slow!

After much soul searching I have decided that no matter how much love I put into my daughter's desk, no matter how much stain I put on it, the wood is still going to be crap and look like crap. The good news is that I liked the design, so I intend to re-use most of it. But my daughter is going to have to wait a while longer now!

 Original magnolia top

So I decided to switch to a different wood. As it turns out, I have several nice slabs of east Indian rosewood that I bought off ebay several years ago. According to the seller, they were from Florida and got blown down in a hurricane, maybe Andrew - I don't recall for sure. One of them will be perfect for the top. I am thinking to cut some jarrah veneers and veneer over the magnolia legs. The jarrah was salvaged from a local mansion that was torn down a few years ago.

 East Indian Rosewood top

Jarrah and more EI rosewood

I emptied the kiln of the last load, and put in a new load of misc things, with some elm, yellow cedar, cherry, and more maple.  I am most excited about the yellow cedar, I think there will be enough good material there to complete my long-delayed curved front glass cabinet that I have been wanting to do for a couple years. The cherry is mostly a disappointment, there is just so much spoilage when I dry cherry it is really disheartening.

 Currently drying away in the kiln . . .

I also had one piece of arbutus in the last load. It has only dried one summer, but the log was down for 3 or 4 years before I milled it. So I put one piece in the kiln as an experiment, and it turned out very well. Hardly any warping or cracking at all, I was very pleased. Some mineral staining on it though. I may put the rest of it in the next load, although the other pieces are closer to 3" thick and may not react as well.

 Arbutus front and centre

And the neighbour has finally sold his house. I need to be out of the garage by Feb 1. Seems like lots of time but I am sure it will go by quickly. I am trying to get in touch with the buyers to see if they are interested in renting.

And my contact at the beach who sets up logs for me  retired at the end of last week. So who knows what the future holds - maybe less milling and more woodworking! I did get down the day before he left and milled up a couple small logs, an oak and an elm.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Desk Time

Well with the neighbour's garage mostly emptied of the best wood, and the kiln loaded and the woodpile reorganized, there was very little else to do in the shop but get down to some woodworking! Well, that and some milling as I explained in my last couple of posts.

So it was back to the desk for my daughter that I had hoped to have completed in early September. I had given some more thought to the configuration of the frame, as I was looking for a single drawer in the middle of the front of the desk. I was wrestling with how to keep it strong with a drawer right in the front, and the usual problem of how to join the skirts to the legs.

I found my solution in FWW 104, a Shaker Desk by Garret Hack, and FWW 93, a Windsor Style Table by Mac Campbell.

So I got down to work, trimmed everything to length and cut some dovetails and mortise and tenon joints. It was nice to be doing some real woodworking again finally, chopping some dovetails and using the horizontal mortiser.

Mortises mostly done

Dialing in tenons on the shaper

First  joint complete!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Elm Milling

I noticed that there was a bunch of elm and oak down at the beach recently. I picked out the best piece of elm, and milled it up. November 1st, the day after halloween, it was a beautiful day down at the beach. Unfortunately for me the log had some bad cracks in it, so all I took was three slabs.

I had thought that I might like some blanks to make legs out of, and I had done a reasonable job of keeping my cuts parallel to the log's pith. (so the grain is straight) Plus I had milled to 3" thick, so I could barely lift these slabs, never mind trundle them across the beach to the van, load them, then unload them, stack them, blah blah blah. So I ripped them lengthwise.

I have been making progress on the desk. Will post shortly.