Friday, November 18, 2011

Figured lumber and how I find it.

A pile of birdseye maple. Its one of those things that when you find some good stuff, you get as much as you can. I have a lot of lumber around my shop and old shop and , well a few other places. I am a lumber junkie. There I said it. I love to find great figured wood. I get log sets and try and keep them seperated. That is not easy.
These are racks of flame birch, curly cherry,curly hard maple and slabs of spalted sycamore. There is some applewood on the floor along with some heartwood curly maple.
Here are some flame birch, curly hard maple, 8/4 plain maple, some slabs, some wide 6/4 white pine and 16/4 clear white pine. More birdseye and somewhere in there is some plain hard maple.  You just never have enough. My shop is full also. What can I say. I am a fortunate man. I look at each piece as i unload and stack it and think of what I can make with it. Lordy, there is some wonderful stuff in these piles.

Guess i didn't get to where to find this stuff. That will have to wait for now. if you need some, let me know....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Small chests, figured wood and something different.

I started some keeping chests today. Charles Neil and I made a set of dvds a few years back about these and candle boxes. They are just flat out pretty. I have sold a number of these over the last few years. If you want to see my acting debut and how good Charles is at making these, go here

You can make these any size. I am making these 10" deep, 20" long and 10" tall for the chest. I have made them as small as 8"' by 16". I have seen some made smaller. I like the proportions going by halves.
Here are the 4 I have cut the dovetails on.   

The one on the lower right as you look at the picture is made from bark inclusion hard maple. It is pretty cool stuff. I pulled this from a pile at a mill that was going to the pallet factory. I got 1 board that was wide enough to make a chest.
It is full of holes and bark and swirls and all kinds of cracks. I 'll put up a picture of the back side a little further down. When I cut the tails and pins, I wasn't sure what would happen. There are so many cracks and holes, I thought it might just blow apart when I pounded it together. It didn't.

The other boxes are 1 hard tiger maple , 1 sap flame birch and 1 red flame birch.

This is the red flame birch. It is the heartwood of a yellow birch. Very hard and it is red like cherry. Unlike cherry it does not get darker. This one will get a russet amber dye which is my favorite for red birch. It has some really nice figure.
This is the sap flame birch. It has a little broader curl in it. This is the same stuff as Charles used in his table on his show. Go there and look up his show. He does an excellent job showing how to build furniture. I have been building for 30 years and I learn stuff all the time. Well worth the low cost and if you can't understand something, he will answer you.

Last but not least is the hard tiger maple. It has a nice tight figure. These are always the ones that stop people dead in their tracks at a show. It should be a very pretty one when its done.

Here  is the backside of the first box. It has some reddish brown heartwood in it too. I will get some closeup pictures another time. The stuff is really different.

I will show more as I go. I have the hardware for these, which I buy from Horton Hardware.
Deer hunting opens here this weekend and I am expecting the gunshots to be loud. I love hunters. I have hit too many deer over the years and its great to see kids out with their folks hunting and spending time together. Nothing better then that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

White pine slab is ready to finish

Got the white pine slab sanded and epoxy in the cracks. Cleaned off the top and have it ready for finish. I use sandpaper from Industrial abrasives and it sure handles this pine nice. They are a nice small American company that really knows customer service and their products.

I am working on some black ash benches. We will see how they turn out. Black ash is soft and easy to work with. It is a very pretty grained wood. Hope to have some shots of those in the next week or so.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big slabs, trimming and planing and just about killing myself....

Had 5 big white pine slabs. Over  eight feet long and 26" wide. Had to get 4 of them planed up and ready to be picked up. They will go into bar tops. Yep, lots of bars in Wisconsin.
 Its nice when 2 boards cover the width of the truck box

 Got one on the cart, ready to trim off the edge
These are all 2.5" thick, kiln dried with one natural edge. Nice tight knots. All came from 1 tree. Blew down in a storm. The thing is with these, some people like the bark left on. I have 1 slab left and am peeling the bark off. I love the texture the edge shows with the bark off.
I forgot how heavy these can be, even in white pine. I am 215 lbs, but these were close in weight to me. I was moving slow after I got done yesterday. But it sure is fun to work wood that size and shape. Just some very cool looking stuff.  The swirls and knots and figure are just cool. God does create some really cool things.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Slabs and table bases

I started getting a few of the slabs  ready to make some benches and tables. I have 2 real nice curly maple slabs.

I was thinking a desk top, simple legs, an arch with a small drawer. These are a little over 8 feet long. I will trim them back to someplace around 6 to 7 feet. Not sure if I will dye these or just clear coat.

I am also working on some black ash benches and maybe a hall table. Black ash grows in the swamps and never gets very large. But it is very pretty. It is brown in color and has a very nice tight grain. It works very easy. These slabs came from some old trees, well over 100 years old.
These were cut in winter and dried this past summer. The bark is really hard to get off. The maple and oak pops right off. This stuff is welded on. Tried chisels and now using a drawknife. It takes about 30 minutes to do 1 edge . It is worth it though when you get done.
These will be made into a small sitting bench. I need to get these glued up and then sanded and ready for finish. I will be using some turned legs and an apron to finish this up. The wood will be an oil finish and the base will be black. It makes a nice combination.
As thick as these are, over 2" thick, the black ash is pretty light in weight. I hope to post more as these come along.