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Kitchen face-lift in NZ

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Blog entry by philip marcou posted 958 days ago 1339 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently took a break from plane making in order to re-fit a kitchen belonging to my landlord. He had had a new MDF kitchen installed but wanted all doors and drawer fronts to be replaced with solid Rimu timber from his own tree. Cabinet sides would have frame and panels screwed on from the inside of the cabinets. The right way to have done it would have been been to make and fit everything before all was installed in the house , but I didn’t have that option, and it made things a bit tiring.
The wood was rough cut in three inch slabs, so I had much re-sawing and selecting to do . However it was an easy wood to work, especially to hand plane, so sanding was mainly confined to cut back between coats of catalysed lacquer.
The hardware was Blum, made in Austria, specifically the “Blum Tandembox with BluMotion on the drawers.
The panel frames required 250 mortice and tenon joints and I use about one litre of glue and 8 litres of lacquer. I used my Felder mortiser and a shaper with sliding table for the m&t’s.
No Marcou planes were used because I don’t own any except for some minis-and the mini rebater came in useful to smooth out any furry surfaces left by the router when moulding the panel edges.



13 comments so far

View moshel's profile

moshel

864 posts in 2182 days


#1 posted 958 days ago

beautiful! excellent grain matching. was the tiny Rimu tree growing in his garden?

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View philip marcou's profile

philip marcou

262 posts in 1096 days


#2 posted 957 days ago

Moshe,
the tree was on his property- he has several sections. I never saw the tree but am told it had “three trunks”. No wonder there was so much tension wood etc…. Anyway, I had to make do with what was available and the customer understood all the dire predictions and cautions I came up with.

View moshel's profile

moshel

864 posts in 2182 days


#3 posted 957 days ago

Rimu, especially heart, is quite stable after being seasoned – at least from my experince. its very nice timber for hand tools, and very irritating for power tools. I sneeze all the time, and it clogs sandpaper right away (especially heart). but few passes with card scraper or plane, and you get such pretty smooth surface….
its very funny that you have no plane – we have a proverb for this: “the shoemaker is walking barefoot”

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View philip marcou's profile

philip marcou

262 posts in 1096 days


#4 posted 957 days ago

Moshe, there was little heart wood. But more by accident than by design , there was a fair amount of spalting which made it more interesting.
Re stability: if I were to rate this timber based only on experience with lumber from this one source only I would not give it a good rating. Even though it was acclimatised locally I see substantial movement -some of it very unwelcome, like the left glass door of the crockery cabinet, which developed a bow 9mm deep some time after I had routed the rebate for the glass. Luckily it bowed outwards so I fixed it by sawing grooves and inserting tapered wedges…. see pictures.


Re workability with machines-no problem for me -I am used to Iroko and similar.
What’s “funny” about me not using my own planes ??ha ha. If I had used say a J20A low angle/ giant smoother/panel plane/ weapons grade Marcou or even an ordinary S20A smoother the kitchen would never have been completed because I would have reduced all the lumber to sheeps bedding (shavings) as it is so nice to hand plane….
See a pair of 15 inch J20A low angle jacks :

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

2119 posts in 1279 days


#5 posted 957 days ago

Beautiful work Philip ! I have one tiny piece of Rimu from my visit..One day…..

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6691 posts in 1650 days


#6 posted 957 days ago

In Spanish there is a good saying, similar to the cobler one. “En Casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo” – “At the blacksmiths house the knives are made of sticks”.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View cloakie1's profile

cloakie1

204 posts in 1054 days


#7 posted 957 days ago

how long was the timber seasoned for?....i have done a lot with rimu and never had any movement….but then again i have also mainly used recycled so most of it wood have been down around 100 years. rimu can fade in sunlight so i often add a wee bit of stain with my finishes to try and keep it’s colour.that said the kitchen looks beautiful well done….always hard doing retro fits when the tools you want aren’t always on site.

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

View philip marcou's profile

philip marcou

262 posts in 1096 days


#8 posted 957 days ago

Cloakei, that lumber was cut into slabs around three inches thick when the tree was felled then left in a shed with dirt floor and open door for about three years. I found it to be dried in accordance with local conditions when the slabs were converted to thinner sizes. However if it had been my timber I would have converted it into the three standard nominal thicknesses right after felling the tree, then sticker stacked it for at least three years. Ofcourse the other thing is that this is all random timber as opposed to graded stock.

View moshel's profile

moshel

864 posts in 2182 days


#9 posted 957 days ago

I find that here the rule of thumb 1”/year is not 100% good enough. an extra year (stackered) would probably give it the extra stability. some timber wrap horribly if cut into nominal dimensions wet, that’s why most hand milled (and not kiln dried) timber is milled this way (3”). it has to do with the timber drying too fast if cut too thin.

the J20A are beautiful. my b-day is in May.

BTW, lots of heavy industrial grade equipment is being auctioned now (not on trademe). if you are looking for a new surface grinder or HUGE mills…. shipping will probably be a little dear.

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View cloakie1's profile

cloakie1

204 posts in 1054 days


#10 posted 957 days ago

quite right philip….while it is in those slabs it is still subject to tension…and if that tree grew in an area with a lot of wind there will be a lot of tension. as i said in earlier post most of what i ues is very old so it has done all the moving it is going to do which makes it a lot easier to deal with…as as you have pointed out it would have been graded stock(of sorts) when it was first sawn

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

View philip marcou's profile

philip marcou

262 posts in 1096 days


#11 posted 956 days ago

Moshe, your comment ” that’s why most hand milled (and not kiln dried) timber is milled this way (3”) looks to me like one of those snippets from rural NZ Chain Saw Folklore, hah ha. By quickly converting the felled trunk into nominal thicknesses (ie thicknesses close to those that will be used in furniture) you reduce stress build up and you allow moisture to escape more evenly. Over rapid moisture loss is controlled by proper stickering and stacking with controlled ventilation….. But we made do with what we got and “we” understood the pros and cons from the outset. I even got a nice baked cake fresh from that kitchen the other day (;)
I would love to be making furniture all day long using Rimu but it would have to prime grade all brown (heartwood) that I had personally selected off from a lumber yard.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2071 posts in 1139 days


#12 posted 956 days ago

Nice work, philip. I would have expected nothing less from you. :=)

So you got a cake… and i suppose you ate it, too ? ;=)

Are the tops of the same wood as well ? If not, what wood… and what finish on the wood tops if I may ask ?

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View philip marcou's profile

philip marcou

262 posts in 1096 days


#13 posted 956 days ago

Hi David,
Yep, I have my cake and ate it too.
The bench tops are a different wood-Kauri, see here: http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-plants/kauri/
and it was re-cycled floor joists etc. I didn’t do the spraying because it required special facilities-it is some sort of epoxy -very hard water proof etc used for boats.

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