After a long hiatus from learning wood working (bought house, started company, had, with assistance, 3 kids, gave away equipment to trade oriented charter school, called it a day) I realized I was “running out of time” getting back into the craft.
So, I’m back and wanted to build myself a dresser.
Built the carcass the wimpy way: baltic birch, dado’s, rabbets, but at least it turn out square and at the designed dimensions.
Come drawer time, I went to my local hardwood dealer to pick up some rough poplar (icky green stuff around here) for the boxes. Alas, the dimensions he had would result in a lot of wastage, so I asked “wellll…what else can you sell me for the same price suitable for drawer boxes” and up we went to the second level of his barn.
Yup. Bat guano everywhere. But he had some elderly elm he had bought when he first started his business and I went for it. Tough to find decent boards wide enough (lots of 4”, I needed to net 6 1/4”) but I found what I needed.
Using this elm was an experience.
It was a bit twisty, so it needed substantial processing before being usable. Also, it was veryyyy dry and the wood, though pretty, had an odd texture.
Plus, there was an embedded nail. I had joked with the hardwood dealer about there being foreign objects in the wood, as it was so old, but he assured me it had been examined for metal. Ok. Well.
I got over that. Luckily the only device I had at the time for jointing and planing was the combo 8” Jet jointer/planer. Don’t laugh. I could get it to produce flat and square.
So the blades were nicked. I have scrapers.
But things didn’t get really interesting until I went to the sawing phases.
Bandsawing (resawing to to thickness) was interesting. I have a nice 3/4” TimberWolf resaw blade that I’ve had great luck with. It was weird, usually the blade would blow through small splits and checks no problem but with this stuff it was like hitting rocks in the wood. The blade would “wangggggggg” when it hit one. Plus, progress was very slow. Plus, plus, the blade seem very dull afterwards. Had to buy a new one.
Also issues sawing on the table saw. Noisier than usual (even though ear protection).
Routing was ok (used template to route half-blind dovetails). No issues.
Sanding was fine! Most of the resulting drawers sanded out great, though there were rough spots I just gave up on.
Either this elm was haunted, or it grew in a concrete parking lot and sucked up concrete grit into its wood.
I kept the dulled TimberWolf. I figure I can hand sharpen it some day when I have nothing to do. Maybe on a business trip. Will TSA let me bring a 105” 3/4 bandsaw blade as carry-on?
-- Young enough to jump, too old to come back down