Another visit with a local LJ, an unbelievable vise, and wood gloat!

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Blog entry by BTimmons posted 02-06-2013 08:11 PM 2674 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last night I was welcomed for another visit to the shop belonging to local LJ cabmaker, so he could help me re-saw and dimension some wood I’ve been accumulating. I really dig his shop. It’s got all the toys I want with plenty of room to work. My wife pre-emptively advised me that I could never build anything that big in our back yard. Yeah I know, but geez, way to step on a guy’s dreams…

Here’s the man himself doing what he does best. He’s not as active of a LumberJock as many others on this site, but a difference worth noting is that he actually does woodworking to make his living. While we’re chatting it up on forums and our blogs, he’s churning out cabinet work to pay the bills.

A while back I acquired this slab of walnut. It came from a mid-20th century modern bench that had been banged all to hell. The finish was too far gone to repair, half the legs had fallen off, and it wasn’t a valuable antique piece, so I just scrubbed off the remaining finish in order to slice it up.

But before I get to the wood gloat, check out this vise he’s got on his main bench. It’s a pattern maker’s vise, and it’s glorious. In addition to moving like you see here, the outer face of the vise can also swivel horizontally to hold odd shaped pieces. It’s really an amazing piece of hardware.

Alright! So here’s main takeaway from last night. The walnut slab gave me three beautiful boards over 4 feet long and eight inches wide, about 13/16ths thick. Another piece of the same thickness, but narrower across the width. Also some nice thin cut-offs from the re-sawing that will make some very durable veneer, just under 1/8th” thick. I’m so glad this walnut will be given another lease on life. The color and figure is amazing, but the camera on my phone doesn’t remotely do it justice.

I also quartered up two long square sections that will make nice legs for something soon.

Add in some respectably thick and short sections of mahogany, and half a dozen long bricks of maple. I say bricks, because these suckers are heavy. Very stout. I see a Moxon vise and a new mallet in my near future. One piece of maple had some nice figure so we cut it into thin strips that will make a nice decorative touch on something.

I also had a couple of lucky finds with some cherry boards. The pair on the left was originally a long board with a lot of twist. It was cut in half lengthwise to minimize the cupping as it ran over the jointer. The pair on the right were re-sawn from a single board that was thick enough to provide two nice panels about 1/2 thick.

I knew there was some really interesting curl and quilting in this board, but until it had been split I had no idea there were these cool mineral streaks inside, too!

All told, here is the entire haul atop my cross cut sled.

Apart from the walnut, all the other boards were found by carefully rummaging through the scrap pile at my local Rockler store. Mostly cutoffs of oak and poplar in there, but every now and then you find something really cool.

Big thanks again to JB For letting me use his shop! It’s a damn fine way to spend a Tuesday evening. Oh, the ideas that are bouncing around my head right now…

-- Brian Timmons -

8 comments so far

View Chris Mobley's profile

Chris Mobley

30 posts in 1963 days

#1 posted 02-06-2013 08:44 PM

Beautiful woods! My wife wont let me build my dream shop either! :-)

-- Chris Mobley -

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2404 days

#2 posted 02-06-2013 10:11 PM

very nice lumber. looking forward to seeing what you make of it.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Lenny's profile


1596 posts in 3554 days

#3 posted 02-06-2013 11:05 PM

Thanks for posting this. I think it is great when LJs meet. I have had the experience several times and each one was fun. Sharing of ideas, tool talk, etc. JB has a cool shop and it was nice of him to welcome you. Oh yeah, nice re-purposing on the walnut.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#4 posted 02-06-2013 11:07 PM

Hang in there guys, my kids were grown and gone before I got my “real” workshop. And to be honest, I appreciate it a lot more now then I would have 30 years ago.

I DO like that vice.

We’ll be watching the future projects Brian. It looks like you’ve got a nice pile of materials to work off.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2702 days

#5 posted 02-06-2013 11:12 PM

All this and you have a great friend too! how can it get any better on a Tuesday evening??

View Chris Peroni's profile

Chris Peroni

101 posts in 1966 days

#6 posted 02-06-2013 11:20 PM

Great haul Brian. At the SBG forum when you showed me the pic of your shop and that walnut hunk, I actually thought to myself “I wonder wher he got it? Probably pulled from a piece of furniture..” -nice reuse.
You’ve also reminded me to check out the local building supply recycle store and a hardware lunberyard on the other side of town which keeps a decent scrap wood sale pile.

good posting all around, thanks!

-- Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. -Plato

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3125 days

#7 posted 02-06-2013 11:52 PM

So interesting to read this post.
Two nights ago I surfed across a great web page devoted to the Emmert Vise.
Be prepared…the whole web site is just about these vises…but a great read.
And I’ll be interested to see what you do with the wood.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View getlostinwood's profile


224 posts in 2629 days

#8 posted 02-07-2013 02:22 AM

Cabmaker is a great guy and very dangerous for the pocket book. One visit and you seriously begin to consider draining the bank account. He is also one to step up and help the new guy out, a lesson I learned well and try to emulate as much as possible.

-- The basis for optimism is shear terror

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