Been busy with my day job lately but was able to spend a few hours downstairs. I am finally starting to deal with my wood hoard and getting pieces together for small gifts for a couple family members. Mostly weekend style projects that probably will include an ornament or two and a couple of boxes. I am a notorious hoarder of wood and I have wood scraps, pieces of furniture, and even a few rough pieces of wood that I saved from a maple tree I cut down a couple years ago.
At the time of cutting, I wanted to use the wood but didn’t have any knowledge at the time about why you want to cut the wood when it is green and the methods used to prevent cracking. I just kept it in the yard and cut some pieces and put it down in the shop. The wood is pretty hard now, as you can imagine. I turned a bowl on it last year. I showed a friend who had been a long time woodworker. He chuckled and I was a little hurt at first, but then he explained that what tickled him is that I would have had an easier time trying to turn a brick ;) The picture of the bowl next to a rough blank should give you an idea – http://i977.photobucket.com/albums/ae252/davidmicraig/Wood%20Projects/turnedbowlnexttorawmaple.jpg.
I had some quarter splits of wood. I don’t have a chainsaw good for milling lumber so I actually just split the pieces with a wedge and a sledge hammer. Not delicate work by any means but I was able to joint some of the wedges last night to get a straight edge so I could run it through the tablesaw and bandsaw. My bandsaw is a small one, so not really made for resawing lumber. On the tablesaw, I was able to secure the piece well enough to run through the blade without kickback or twist. This gave me a full 90 degree piece I could secure with a fence and make straight pieces from. I only was able to produce 2-3 boards per quarter piece, and they are small ones. Still, I am not looking at wooden chunks anymore. I had a collection of cedar boards that I replaced on a porch last year. The wood was rotten in parts, but I was able to trim off the rot, sand off the paint, and joint the pieces. They won’t be good for anything large, but I will get some ornaments out of the way with them.
At any rate, I spent an evening making wood from wood and have developed more of an understanding of the milling process. The elbow grease and the wear and tear on the blades will not bring me much of a dividend in this first batch, but it is a fun learning process and it teaches me much about the tools I have down there. I am very new to jointing and planing so it felt good to take some chunks of nothing and get something from it. I will bore grandkids with the history of that particular angel or nutcracker someday :)
-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.