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10,000 Hours #4: My First "Real" Project...

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Blog entry by LucasWoods posted 03-10-2015 12:30 AM 1128 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: More Work Needs to be Done Part 4 of 10,000 Hours series Part 5: 30 more minutes of playing »

So I think I have settles on my first project… well more my wife settled on it for me. I am going to build a sofa table. I am still thinking of designs in my head and types of joints I am going to use. I think this “should” be a easier build and should not take too long. I am thinking of using finger joints to hold the top to the 2 legs then using a mortise and tennon joint as a bracer that will also be used as a shelf if we ever move it out from behind the sofa and use it in a hallway. The type of wood I am using is Poplar my wife liked the knots and “rustic” look of one of the pieces. So I picked that up along with another peace that is FAS.

I have sketchup on my computer but does anyone else use a different program?

-- Colorado Springs, CO



5 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1431 posts in 3021 days


#1 posted 03-10-2015 06:48 PM

Hey Lucas,

Even though technically poplar is a hard wood (because it has leaves), it’s actually extremely soft. While it certainly has an attractive price point at the big box stores and comes nicely dimensioned for you. Keep in mind that the effort to make something out of oak vs. poplar is the same, but the oak will last a lifetime. You may not get that kind of longevity out of poplar. If your intent is to just build furniture to get the experience, that’s one thing. But if the intent is to build a quality piece of furniture, keep the softness factor in mind. For example, I made a router template out of poplar and the router bearing wore a groove into the wood, which changed the profile over time. If the Mrs. likes that rustic knotty look, there are pine species that would definitely scratch that itch (and are probably harder), give a more country style rustic look and might take to the stain better than poplar, depending on the finished color.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View LucasWoods's profile

LucasWoods

219 posts in 796 days


#2 posted 03-10-2015 11:31 PM

i know poplar is a soft wood and this is going to be my first project so I really didn’t want it to be on some Hard Maple @ $8-10 a BF lol. When we were at the lumber warehouse she saw a “bad” pile of Poplar and one of the board had some deep bark/knot holes that she really liked. I was thinking it would be harder for me to get her into buying lumber (that didn’t come out of my tools/woodworking fun money) so since she liked the Poplar I jumped on it lol. I thought poplar would be something that is cheap to where if I mess up a cut or do something stupid I won’t hate myself for it.

Thank you very much for the input and I like the Pine idea.

-- Colorado Springs, CO

View Mykos's profile

Mykos

102 posts in 1257 days


#3 posted 03-11-2015 01:10 AM

Keep in mind that if you’re going to be working with primarly hand tools, knots won’t be so much fun. If the lumber is predimensioned and you won’t be planing it then it may not be such a big deal. If you do plane it then the knots will tend to have areas of reversing grain nearby which will want to tear out. There are methods to work these with high cutting angles, close set chipbreakers and scrapers. But until you get some experience under the sole of your plane, they may make you frustrated.

There’s a reason pre-industrial craftsman worked with clear, straight grained wood. The ‘rustic’ look was for barn boards that came straight off the mill (or pit saw as it were).

View LucasWoods's profile

LucasWoods

219 posts in 796 days


#4 posted 03-11-2015 01:40 AM

I hear you Mykos thank you for the heads up and I may just have to invest in a high angle plane/scraper then. How does a planer like a dewalt get around tear out? or is it just that the blades are spinning so fast it doesn’t matter?

-- Colorado Springs, CO

View Mykos's profile

Mykos

102 posts in 1257 days


#5 posted 03-11-2015 04:59 AM

If you’re talking about a lunchbox planer, it doesn’t. Usually you’ll get tearout with a power planer around knots as well. A helical cutting head with carbide inserts improves the quality of cut, and any industrial planing setup doing wood commercially will be using that sort of equipment.

Very light cuts and the keenest edge possible are the key. There are also ‘toothing’ blades for some planes which will leave a finely ridged surface you can take down with a scraper.

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