Thorsen Side table Challenge. March 22, 2007.
I’ve been thinking about the making of the side tables for the challenge. I first started cutting some Goncalo Alves, and I am going to finish that table, but, I was thinking about what I could do that would be more dramatic. I’ve also been thinking about calling these tables a Celebration of the Uniqueness of Woods.
So my new challenge is making a set of “Twins” using two different woods. The first wood will be American Holly. Holly is not usually available as lumber. The US Forest Department has put the annual harvest of Holly at around 40 – 50,000 bdf per year. Holly is usually harvested in Winter because it has an affinity to discolor. Holly very easily get a blue stain. Some of the Holly that I’ve seen for sale says that it is dried in a microwave. The moisture meter company does not even have a scale to be used for Holly because of its limited use. It is not worth the aggravation for lumber companies to put the time and expense into creating Holly lumber when it could be a total loss. Kiln tables for Holly don’t really exist, and the only suggestion is to cut it into boards the same day that the log is cut, and then get it into a kiln the same day and cook it as fast as you can. Needless to say that’s not the way that most lumber companies process timber.
The Holly that I have was cut during January of this year, and I’ve stacked it in my workshop with stickers between every layer and then stacked Popular on top of that to weight it down. It has had a fan blowing on it for the past 2 ½ months. The moisture was around 35% when I got it and it’s about 12% now using other wood as the benchmark for testing. I have around 200 bdf of this one log. The log was about 20” wide and 20’ long when it was cut. The boards that I have are about 9 – 10’ long and 10” at the widest.
The second “Twin” is being made out of American Popular, also called Tulipwood, or Yellow Popular. The sapwood of Popular is creamy white, streaked sapwood. The heartwood is pale olive-green to tan or greenish-brown. Often with streaks of blue, purple, dark green and black.
The popular that I’m using started out a planks 24” wide by 16’ long. They were stored in the attic of my barn in New Jersey for 5 years. The temp in the attic would get up to 135 deg in the summer. So this Popular was well dried. I’ve had around 6% on the moisture meter on this wood. It was cut into 8’ long planks when I moved to Delaware because my lumber rack would only hold 10’ long planks. The planks are around 22 ½” wide now so they have shrunk in width around 1½” since they’ve been in my possession. I have about 300 bdf of this one log.
Further postings will be made from time to time.
Atypical Holly and Popular, both rough sawn
Holly on the left and Popular on the right
-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia firstname.lastname@example.org †