Well, after two power outages that caused the loss of the last two attempts, I think I’ve got this “save” thing down.
We left off last time with a admonition to make a detailed plan of the proposed final project for which the board we are about to make will be used.
The next step is to select the lumber with which to make the board. This is a major step. First the species is to be determined. MDF is out! As is plywood. Rose wood is nice and so is bird’s eye maple. Some folks prefer cherry while others are partial to walnut. Our buddy, Monte, likes to use Beetle kill Pine (BKP) for his boards. That must be a good choice as one of his boards made the top 3 here on LJs. I don’t have any BKP and I’m not about to use my precious rose wood for this blog. So, red oak it’ll have to be. Now, some will not consider it a worthy board unless the species is mixed. You know who you are Jeff. But I feel that if God wanted us to have striped boards, he’da made striped trees.
After calculating the quantity of material needed using the detailed plan, it looks like about 12 bf or so will suffice. So it’s off to the rough lumber stack. I always pull more than I need due to my proclivity for mistakes….and mid course changes. You know….design opportunities.
As you can see, just getting to the lumber can be an arduous task. But, no one said making a board was going to be easy. However, I have it much easier than those of us who have to cut the logs and saw the planks. I pity those guys. Not!
Once it’s pulled it needs to be planed so the grain can be seen. Here is another decision to be wrestled with. The making of a board involves a myriad of decisions. This one involves pondering the use of my vast collection of hand planes or just sticking it through the planer. I chose to kill a bunch of electrons. Better them than me. Besides, the hand planes all need sharpening. They are patiently waiting for the Stumpy Worksharp build.
After planing, the planks are laid out so grain matching (sorta) can be accomplished. More decisions. Flat sawn vs rift sawn. I’m not lucky enough to have any quarter sawn in the stack….at least I haven’t seen any.
After picking the planks for use, the edges need to be assessed. Remember, this is rough lumber. Could have gone to the BORG. They claim their lumber is top quality, straight and surfaced on all four sides. That would have been easy but, they lie! As you can see below, my planks will need some edge work.
More decisions. This one’s easy. Hand planes are already out of the question. Besides, I gave my Stanley #8 away. Just as well. I don’t have the required Naval experience nor the muscular durability to use it. They guy I gave it to may not have the Naval experience but he’s smarter than me and a lot younger. I’m better looking.
So, should we use the table saw to get a good edge, or the jointer. For me, it’s a no brainer… and that’s a good thing. Some will tell you that a prefect edge can be obtained with the table saw. I don’t doubt their veracity, but try as I might, I cannot achieve a decent, glueable edge that way. Maybe, I don’t hold my mouth right. But, dear reader, if you can find the correct oral configuration, go for it.
So it’s off to the jointer with these planks.
The jointer is fallible. At least mine is. It’s necessary, from time to time, to verify it’s squareness.
You can see, after a test run, some adjustments need to be made.
Looks good but, after the adjustments, it’s best to alternate which side of each plank faces the fence. That way one is assured of a good fit, edge to edge. It’ll be easier if the faces are marked. Making a board requires attention to such details.
With the jointing done, the planks are cut to length, plus a tad and ripped to width, plus a tad and jointed again, paying attention to each one to insure the correct face is against the fence. Details!
Now it’s time to make the magic happen. Gluing the milled planks to make A BOARD!
But wait! There’s more.
A clear, or nearly so, space is neccesary for the magic to happen.
Time to clear off the bench!
That blue stuff on the planks is tape. Both sides need to be taped across the edges. Then a knife is run between the planks to cut the tape and separate the planks. Can’t have glue squeeze out messing up our soon to be board.
Here, another detailed procedural diagram is necessary, lest we lose our place during this critical step.
For the uninitiated, clamps are necessary. So’s a dry fit. If the jointing process is followed as described above, there should be no gaps. And, if the gluing gods are with you, all the planks will be level with each other. If not, I resort to these.
Luckily, these planks are fairly cooperative and the Unistrut won’t be required. Good thing, too. Those things are heavier than that #8. And, my helper is cleaning the house.
The glue will need a while to set up, so I usually take a break. Often, that’s a nap. Sometimes, and adult beverage and a nap.
Time to unclamp and revel in the magic.
The end of the long and lonely journey will result in a nice board, kinda like this one. Well worth the effort.
Now, only 3 more to go.
As we’ve seen, making a board worthy of “The Top 3” requires time, mental agility, physical strength, decision making prowess and loads of technical skill and a scholarly knowledge of wood and it’s properties. So, the next time you see a board, thank mother nature and, recognize the skill and dedication of the craftsman that made it.
-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton