Saturday, May 30, 2015

Contemplating Wood

At the IP Celebration earlier in the month, and coming home took the opportunity to reread A Cabinetmaker's Notebook by James Krenov.

I am extremely fortunate to have had access for nearly ten years now to a near limitless supply of locally grown woods, in raw log form. And hopefully I will continue to have the same access in the future! With a couple of chainsaw mills and lots of friends, I have milled up over 200 logs into planks.

The rereading of Krenov reinspired me to go through my wood stash and look for interesting pieces that might lead to an interesting project. Even though it is only May, the summer woodworking doldrums are upon me and my always slow progress has ground to a halt. So I thought over the next while I would post some random photos of wood in my stash.

Manitoba Maple. Known as Box Elder in the USA.

I've milled up several of these logs over the years. They are probably one of the most stunning woods right from the log, the reds/pinks/oranges are unbelievable. The wood chips from the chainsaw look like they are soaked in blood! I sometimes check my legs nervously when I am milling this wood, just to make sure the blood colour is not from me but from the wood!

(you can click on these photos to see them larger)

This was probably the biggest piece of Manitoba maple I ever milled.

These next two really show the deep colour of the sawdust!

One of my buddies extremely happy with the loot. Even though it was a small log, we were happy to mill/cut it up into usable pieces. Don't want to waste anything this crazy!

And a log as I often see them in the 'wild'. The red on the end grain is a huge clue, but often times that will have oxidized away. The kind of scaly/flaky nature of the bark as well the lighter colour of the bark are also good clues. 

Sadly the colour fades quite a bit once the slabs are dry. A little work with a block plane will reveal the treasure underneath though!

The wood is especially prone to cracking, most often right in the most intensely coloured sections.

I find the wood very overpowering. I think it can be used to advantage more easily in small amounts. Sometimes the wood also contains figure and burls and spalting. 

Or the less intensely coloured sections can be utilized. It would be fun to see if these would work as a set of door panels, or perhaps the inside of a cabinet where they would offer a touch of colour when the doors were opened. . 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

IP Celebration

I had the good fortune to be able to zip up to Robert's Creek May 2 for an overnight trip and spend a couple of hours at the tenth anniversary celebration of the Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinetmaking.

It was a good omen that the weather was fantastic and the scenery on the ferry trip over, really, can it be beat anywhere in the world??

The ferry was the Queen of Surrey. Cute little ferry for the 45 minute journey.

Flag on the ferry snapping proudly in the breeze.

It was so good to reconnect with Robert and Yvonne. Also ran into a bunch of people from 'before', Bill, Craig and Carol, Jay, Juan, Ian, and others. And met some new folks as well. There is such a wonderful spirit at the school, I find it so re-invigorating to be there.

There were so many fine pieces on display for the celebration, it was a little bit overwhelming to contemplate the time and effort and energy that had gone into them all. I was delighted to see this cabinet made from an unusual type of spalted maple, with a base of kwila.

This picture makes it look a bit top heavy which it was not at all, that is completely the result of my inadequate photography skills. However, note the way the spalting is concentrated at the centre of the cabinet, and decreases towards the outside. Kudos to the maker who is from Oregon and who I chatted with at length but fail to recall his name. Beautifully done!

That cabinet was especially exciting for me since I have 5 quite large slabs of maple with that exact type of spalting in them! They have been hanging around for years looking for the perfect use. I think I may have found it in the inspiration of this cabinet.

I really need to come up with an excuse to go back to school for a few weeks!