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Wood !!!

So far my Fridays off work plan has been a great idea. I was fortunate to get shop time last weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (after church of course). These were not full (10 hr) days but they were significant blocks of time to get things accomplished.

Friday

After a walk with my wife in the morning, I made my way down to the shop to finish up the Work Sharp sharpening station build. Specifically I needed to come up with a method for leveling the Work Sharp with the honing table. After scrounging around my part bins I finally found some bolts and nuts that were of sufficient length to raise and level the unit. I even found some plastic caps that fit the bolts to serve as “feet”. This worked and I was able to get a serviceable fit however I’m not totally satisfied with the solution. The good news is that the unit isn’t bolted to the stand which allows freedom to move it around as needed for the task. The bad news is that the unit isn’t bolted to the stand which means that sometimes it moves on you during sharpening. I’m still working out what I can add so that I can clamp and release the unit as desired for the task. But as every tool in my shop was dull, had a marathon sharpening session for the rest of the day. There were some mixed results but on the whole, I’ve never had sharper tools to work with and this is a “good thing”.

Saturday

Me and my fellow cave divers used to have a saying we would use on occasion, “you don’t know if you don’t go”. What was the cave like, was it difficult to get there, did you like the dive? You’ll never know if you don’t take the “plunge”.

Until Saturday, I have exactly zero experience sawing lumber from trees but I have picked up a few logs off the side of the road. Completely inexperienced I wondered how I would do anything with them so some of them sat in the corner of my shop for months. YouTube and the Internet to the rescue when I saw videos of using your band saw to turn logs into small boards. In a previous post you’ll see where I finally installed my 12″ band saw riser kit so I was finally at a point to give this a try. So using an L shaped sled on the band saw my goal was to turn this:

Cedar Log

Into this:

IMG_3782 IMG_3780 IMG_3779 IMG_3778

Wow! Now other than the fact that pushing a rather large log through 12″ of exposed band saw blade seems like a really good way to get you hand cut off, it was incredibly fun! The unique smell of cedar filled my shop as these amazing book-matched pieces revealed themselves. I reiterate, I really had to be extremely disciplined and careful during these milling operations and it is a bit scary. I ended up sawing open 4 logs into roughly 4/4 and 6/4 sizes.

Success with the recent cedar harvest encouraged me to try some of the older logs I had picked up sometime earlier in the year. I really don’t know but I’m guessing these are oak.

Spalted Oak IMG_3785 IMG_3784

Whoa, these pieces are spalted! You don’t know if you don’t cut. I cut up the two logs that were of manageable size but I have a lot more of this tree that is too big and will need to be cut up first. I have a chain saw but can’t ever seem to get it started so I’ll have to regroup and come up with a plan to size them. One of the pieces is a large truck that I could probably split into quarters but I’ll need to obtain the tools first. I don’t have a functioning axe but I can remedy that. Because I had previously neglected to paint the ends of these logs, there were significant splits. Searching the shop for something to seal the ends, I ended up using sanding sealer. I don’t know how this fits into the hierarchy of  appropriate products to use but it was on hand and available so I used it before stickering.

Sunday

Sunday’s project was to replace a broken stretcher on an old wooden futon. This thing was cheaply made and heavily used and as a result the wood had given way.

Broken Futon Crappy Closeup of the Break

The plan was to use a single piece of home center lumber, an 8′-2×6 for the repair which I would rip into the two pieces required for the stretcher. Once I got it into the shop I realized that I was not going to rip this thing on my table saw, especially by myself and without any support rollers, etc.. It was pretty obvious to me that it wouldn’t have been safe so I resorted to using the circular saw. Other than the fact that I didn’t have an 8′ guide for the rip, it worked out fine. I would have to make two rips, one for the stretcher proper and one for the support that is glued and screwed to it. The support is what the slats rest on and are screwed to. Speaking of slats, another one of those is broken as well so I searched around the shop and found a scrap of cypress of the correct dimensions to replace it.

IMG_3790 

The rips were pretty rough and the board had a wicked twist so I made a whole bunch of curls getting the pieces closer to flat. I’m not a woodworker but I play one on this blog so from your perspective, I used my awesome tools and talent to make crooked boards straight and beautiful. The reality is, I winged it and it didn’t turn out too badly. At least my plane blade was relatively sharp following Friday’s efforts 🙂

IMG_3791

Using the old stretcher as a model, I pre-drilled the counter sink for screws that would hold the support, then glued up.

IMG_3792

It was pretty obvious that 6 screws wasn’t going to get it done for clamping pressure so I followed up by grabbing all my F-clamps and was rewarded by an amazing glue squeeze out. Ahhhh…… much better.

Susan was starving and dinner and ready and I had a shop to clean up but before turning off the lights, I slathered on some lovely “golden pecan” stain. The cypress sucked it up like there was no tomorrow and it looked pretty good! The home center lumber did not. It looks bloody awful so I’m thinking about a small can of the stain/varnish combined. I’ve read they are awful but for this project, all I need is for it to darken the color and put on something that will seal the wood. It will never be pretty and that was never the plan in the first place. I just need to have it finished by this weekend so I can take it with us to Melrose. Susan and I will have 3 wonderful, private days at our Turtlecove retreat while the girls get a visit from their “real” dad.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

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