Monday, March 30, 2015

Plane Underway and Other Ramblings

Well after my last post lamenting my unhappiness at my jointer plane and stating that I was thinking of gluing some 'extensions' on the side to give it a bit more heft,  my friend Bill dropped me a note and asked if I needed a piece of lignum to glue on the bottom to see if that would help. Wow!

Then I was talking to another friend about the best length for a jointer plane and he suggested I drop by his studio to check out his two jointer planes. A few days later I did visit him and he gifted me a beautiful clean chunk of Macassar Ebony to make a new jointer plane with. Wow again!

Meanwhile I had also been toying with a piece of jarrah that I had also received from Bill, a few years ago. It was a long piece that was reclaimed, and also had some cracks, but I was able to cut out a 16" clear section from it. It was a bear to plane, the grain was a bit wild, and I wound up having to scrape it smooth.

So now I have the possibility of three jointer planes: Jarrah on the left, Macassar ebony middle, and my existing plane made of ekki.


Working these woods right away I notice how hard they are, and tough to plane cleanly. The Janka hardness of the jarrah is 1910, while the Macassar ebony is 3220, and the Ekki 3550. Jarrah is noted as a wood that is hard to work due to interlocking grain, the Macassar is quite a bit harder still, and also has some interlocking grain. Surprisingly, at least for me, the ekki which is the hardest of the three seems to plane the most cleanly. I still need to do a bit of cleanup on the Macassar, then I will cut the sides out of it.

I also decided that it was time to start on a project that I have needed to do for a while, but wanted to wait until I had no other projects on the go at the same time, like the shoji lamp, to distract me. My father passed away in October of 2013 and I told my sister that I would make a box for his ashes before we took them to the cemetery. So it is time for me to get that done and to put dad to rest.

I have a design in mind, and plan to use yellow cedar for the main part of the box and cherry for the lid. Dad was a handy kind of guy and worked occasionally with yellow cedar. I remember going into his workshop as a child and him expounding on how wonderful the yellow cedar smell was. So I think he would like that choice. And the cherry is from a street tree near our house when I was growing up, the tree was cut down around 2000 and dad salvaged some chunks from it. He had them in his firewood bin and I grabbed a few of the larger ones a few years later.

Here I've resawn from one chunk a couple small pieces that I plan to use as the lid.


And not to forget that I have been out milling a couple times recently too. Bill and I were out a couple weeks ago and got a nice Port Orford cedar log. Half the slabs we took were a bit knotty, but the other half, about 5 slabs probably, were gorgeous.

Then last week I was out again and picked up some quilted maple. Also milled up some horse chestnut that had some gorgeous colours in it that same day, although I did not take any myself.

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