I’d love to get these, but conifers don’t really call to me like the angiosperms. The wood is usually soft and sappy, and I grew up surrounded by pine. It’s what everything decorative and utilitarian was made from, so I’m a little burned out on it. Now these, they call to me through sheer size. I think most of that is 3’ diameter or better. I’d love to have a nice portable band mill and a flatbed, and an MS 880 STIHL Magnum™ Chain Saw with a 59 inch guid...
I learned what a Chinese elm is 1 year and 10 days ago, and blogged about it here. A friend told me she had read about a very old one that had fallen on someone’s car during high winds the day before. It turned out to be only a 10 minute drive from work, which is where I was reading the email. At lunch I headed over, found the crushed truck on the side of the road, but the tree was already gone. Since then I’ve seen Chinese elms all over my area, and they are wild looking, beautif...
Another restaurant on the same street as the last one is being remodeled. I headed over one night to see if they threw anything good away and they sure had. The tall boards in the middle here were actually piled up on the dumpster (old boards to the right are from the other restaurant, pallet/crate wood to left from yet another!): There’s some nicer grade 3/4” birch ply about 7’ long and more than a foot wide – handy for jigs and secondary structures. There was ...
I decided it would probably be boring to show each step from the previous ‘milling everything flat and square’ post, to the final board, so here’s the final board, all finished: It is 6-3/4”x8-5/8” and a little over 1.75” thick. Or, you know, about the size of the US hardcover edition of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” though the book is a little less than an inch taller in the longest dimension. Note the butcher’s block c...
Cora’s, a local Mexican restaurant went out of business recently. On my way back from the bearing shop with the new bits for my planer this past week I noticed a crew tearing the insides out. I stopped in and asked if I could look through their scrap pile for free wood, and as happens pretty much always here in west LA, they looked at me, shrugged their shoulders, and said “sure.” There’s wasn’t much, and nothing great, but the wood looked old, and I t...
Just had to add my own free wood gloat. Last fall a friend of a friend decided to clean out his workshop. My friend called me and asked if I was interested. I couldn’t get there fast enough. We loaded up in my truck and hit the road. Let me say first I thought I might get 2 or 3 boards out of this trip but decided what the heck. We get there and talk to the guy and he’s decided he doesn’t have the room for everything he had and we started loading my truck up. And kept loadin...
My wife and I are not the typical twenty somethings. We don’t hang out with a lot of people our age that often. This is especially true at our church which happens to have an aging congregation. In fact, we go to a Saturday night service where we bring the average age down by about a decade some nights. I’ve pondered why this is true of us a few times and it all comes to the same conclusion: We just get along with certain generations better than with our own. This has it...
Monday of last week, some 12 days ago, I was talking with a coworker who was wearing a small fedora. I commented that I should try to turn him a hat on my lathe. He thought it was a fun idea, and I mentioned I’d seen full-size, wearable cowboy hats online turned from green wood to very thin, then bent in jigs to hold them in proper shape with curled brims and dented-in top until dry, at which point they could be worn. The site was Johannes Michelsen’s woodhat.com, and his gallery ...
While looking through old Flickr sets, I realized I never made public one in which I slabbed one of the huge Eucalyptus logs I wrestled home from a craigslist ad. The largest of them is over 230lbs. I chose the smallest – probably around 80-100lbs, because I was desperate to see what lurked inside. I have at least a dozen of these things, so I could sacrifice one enormous beast to curiosity, though that said, I did immediately seal up the ends with a few inches worth of Anchorseal, and ...
In my last post, I showed some Jacaranda log halves I’d cut up and sealed in preparation for turning them into bowls. Here’s the first one I turned. It’s a very simple bowl. I concentrated a lot here on just practicing techniques, getting a very flat, slightly rounded slope to the inside bottom, and not suffering any catches or gouges. I didn’t want to leave any tool marks this time. This is a rough turning, and has been drying now for 10 days. For the first wee...
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