Ah the pith. That very core of the tree, that for some reason, is remarkably unstable in use as lumber. The inclusion of the pith in some of the beams I have obtained all but ruins an otherwise solid thick chunk of wood. It really pithes me off.
All kidding aside. I can probably still make some good use out of these beams, even the ones with the pith in them, with some thought into my cuts.
I was contacted last week by an old woodworking acquaintance, Maxwell. He told me he saw my blog and he had some more beams for me that I might be able to use for my bench. I went and saw him and had a great visit. We chatted for about an hour about life, tools and wood. A great conversation by my measure. And then he gave me the wood, for free! Can’t beat a visit like that. Thanks again Max! I really appreciate it.
So here is what I got from him:
5 Fir beams
4 hardwood beams
I started by cutting off an end slice of each beam, to see what kind of wood I was working with. I was quite surprised at the width of the growth rings on the fir!
The hardwood beams turned out to be two maple, a birch, and the last one (first one in the pic) is either oak or ash, I’m not 100% sure.
Before I mill lumber, especially rough old beams like this, I am careful to go aver them with a metal detector.
Fortunately in all this wood, I only found one nail. There were some rusted remnants of washers in some of the larger holes you see, but those were either cut off completely, or are deep enough that they won’t cause a problem with initial jointing.
One of the longer maple beams was so badly twisted, that it wasn’t even worth running over the jointer. It’s such a badly warped beam because it is the pith of the tree. I guess it’s pretty common to include the pith in rough grade beams like this, but it won’t be included in my bench. So here is what I have after running one face and one edge over the jointer.
So that, plus the beams I showed in my last blog entry, will most likely all be used in some form or the other on this bench. I will be using hardwood for the legs for sure, most likely the oak, and maybe one or two of the maple. I’m gonna pick the best ones for the legs. The rest will likely be cut up for stretchers and other parts of this bench.
For the top, I bought some 10’ maple boards, in 8/4 by 6.5” plus widths. They cost me $3.85/bft. That’s not a bad price around here. The walnut boards you see here I had bought off a guy some time ago. I got those, and a bunch of other maple, oak, and pine, for $200. At the time I figured it to be about $1000 worth of lumber I got. Anyway, the walnut will also be use in the bench top.
And here it all is together!
I also have plenty of other wood on hand on my lumber rack. Some of it will also be used for parts on this bench. For example the 7.5” wide 8/4 oak board seen here may be used (in part) for the leg vise chop and/or sliding deadman. Essentially, I will decide what lumber to use for what parts, as I build them. The goal will be to use up as much of what I already have on hand first, before having to buy more. But, in some instances, I already know I will have to buy a few more boards, like some more 8/4 walnut for the twin screw end vise parts.
Well that’s about all I’ve got for you for now, thanks for looking and following along with me. And I apologize for the delays between blogs. Work and family life still take precedence, but I promise, this thing will progress!
Oh, and one more thing… in case your wondering what the heck this thing is going to look like: here is my fancy high tech, highly detailed plans and drawings for this bench. This is ALL I’ll be working off of. Hopefully my work bench isn’t as lop-sided as my drawing is!! Hahaha!!
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