LumberJocks

My Ultimate Workbench Build #3: Some of this wood is pithing me off!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by RS Woodworks posted 1109 days ago 5545 reads 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Baby got legs!!! Part 3 of My Ultimate Workbench Build series Part 4: A sneak peak at the top layout... maple and walnut in love!! »

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!!

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!



9 comments so far

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1769 days


#1 posted 1109 days ago

Great blog.

Great drawing ! I’m thinking … Picasso ??

I’ll eagerly follow along :-)

-- -- Neil

View gillyd's profile

gillyd

136 posts in 1241 days


#2 posted 1109 days ago

Very good pictures and very good explanation, I am following along as well.

View bigike's profile

bigike

4031 posts in 1884 days


#3 posted 1109 days ago

very nice work that is a great haul of wood you got there I can only wish to ever get that much wood at one time.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2375 posts in 2122 days


#4 posted 1109 days ago

Ryan,

I just stumbled upon this series. Now I am all caught up and looking forward to watching your progress. Thanks so much for taking the time to tell your story.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View HalDougherty's profile

HalDougherty

1820 posts in 1832 days


#5 posted 1109 days ago

Great blog post. Very detailed and informative. The center of a log always splits! It’s the nature of the beast. When I saw logs for lumber, I cut a cant by slabbing the outside till I have a square blank as big as I can get it. Then I cut boards off to get the most beautiful wood (I carve gunstocks with most of my wood). When I’m cutting walnut or cherry, I cut the widest boards I ca from the top down to 2 or 3 inches from the center of the log, then flip it 180 degrees and take of boards till the cant is either 4 or 6 inches thick, Then I turn it 90 degrees and take off 4 or 6 inch boards till the cant is 4” X 4” or 4” X 4” depending on what I need. I use them to hold the lumber I’m stacking and I never have enough. I also use them as beams for building sheds, but never for furniture unless they have some spectacular feature like this bench. It’s the center slab of a maple bench that was just too pretty to make into a beam to lay in the mud and hold stacks of lumber.
-
Click for details

-- Hal, Tennessee http://www.first285.com

View jeffbranch's profile

jeffbranch

92 posts in 1248 days


#6 posted 1109 days ago

I agree with Hal – nice post. I’ll be watching your progress. I need a bench like what you are building.

Jeff

http://www.woodfever.net

-- http://jeffbranch.wordpress.com

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1847 days


#7 posted 1109 days ago

Thanks for the comments and for following my blog guys! I appreciate it. Hal, thanks for the explanation. If you ever have a piece of nice figured wood that your just dying to put in the mail, I’ll let you put my address on it if you like! :D

I am hoping to start cutting the boards for the top to rough with (just over 3”) sometime over the next few days. Then I can run them over my jointer as well. They are too wide to face joint with my 6” jointer as they are, so I’m going to rip them on the bandsaw first. I’m at a bit of a stand still in my shop with a lot of things while my planer is in for service. :(

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View garywebb96's profile

garywebb96

4 posts in 1110 days


#8 posted 1107 days ago

very nice work that is a great haul of wood you got there I can only wish to ever get that much wood at one time.

—Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com
Ditto to that Ike. A stack of maple and walnut like that, down here in FL, take out another mortgage.

-- Give a man a hammer and he'll bust his thumb.

View ergeek's profile

ergeek

7 posts in 1118 days


#9 posted 1106 days ago

Nice job so far Ryan! Great blog – following with great interest.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase