The past Saturday, the wife and I went back to Provenance to finally pull the trigger. We looked at the few slabs they had and picked the one that we thought looked the best and had the least knots/cracks/fissures. We saw that there was a small tear-out left by the planer. The guy advised us that we could probably sand the hole thing down a 1/16 of an inch and things would be ok. I’m thinking in my head, ok, it sounds possible, but we’re talking about a piece of wood that is around 8 feet tall and ~34” wide. I’ve read book where people are hand planing there own raw cut wood, why wouldn’t an inexperienced wood worker be able to sand it down evenly?!? Ha! Of course, the wife is starting to get worried and I stay in my own naive world.
Word gets back to the MiL’s boyfriend that we have this huge piece of wood with a rough area left by the planer. He immediately knows that the grain must have slightly changed directions in this area for this to happen. I had to refer to the picture to verify that he was correct! Then he tells me with a little urgency in his voice, “You’re going to have to send it through a planer again to get it smooth. And finding someone with a 36” planer isn’t going to be easy. I might have a friend down in Maryland but I’m not even sure of that.” Now the wife is panicking. She’s wondering what did we get ourselves into and did we just waste our money on this piece of wood. I kept telling her we’re fine. The guy said we can sand it, we can sand it. It will take a while but all you need is a lot of patience, lots of sand paper and a straight edge.
The next day, the MiL’s BF, calls me and says he’s been thinking about it some more. He’s moved away from the re-planing idea. He thinks we might just end up with the same results (tear-out). So the next step is to talk to some more people and possibly find a drum sander that is large enough for this piece.
Monday rolls around and I get another call from the MiL’s BF. He’s now been talking to the SiL’s FiL and another friend; both make furniture as a hobby and both give him almost the same advice. They said we could send it through the planer again but make sure you only remove a little material. This should help prevent any further tear-out from happening. The next suggestion is to cut the piece into 2. Then send the 2 halves through a sander or planer and then epoxy them back together. He said with the grain, you’d never know that it was split. Um, yikes!
Yeah, this is going to be a bigger project then we originally thought. At this time I don’t have a better picture of the tear out, but any and all suggestions are welcome!