I have been dragging home interesting logs I come across in the woods from time to time over this past year, and I have amassed a sizeable little pile (ok not little at all!). Thing is, without a huge bandsaw or a chainsaw mill, processing the wood into lumber is a task hardly worth the enormous effort. I know, I’ve tried.
I recently looked into power carving for the first time as a quick and creative way to make use of my …inventory, lets call it.
With an investment of only about $30 dollars I just got my first taste, and I must say, it’s DELICIOUS.
The angle grinder was a Harbor Frieght coupon deal ($10) and the Carbide Cup wheel (medium grit) from Altcut was only $15 or so, plus shipping. They work GREAT together. The teeth gnaw away at the wood, removing quite a lot of material with each swipe.I’m finding 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch can be removed on each pass on hard, dry, old black mulberry – the same log that gave my chainsaw fits and glazed over forming glass-like, impenetrable kerf walls.
I’m in the middle of a shop renovation/spring cleaning, and need more storage space and a place to sit, so I hastily glued up a bench from reclaimed construction lumber, using just glue, countersunk screws and a poplar dowel for plugs. Legs are redwood I think (very soft & light), and the top is douglas fir, reclaimed from a concrete pour last summer near my work. It was set out as free firewood.
Being impatient as I am, I just couldnt wait to put my economy power carving setup to the test, so I only plugged one corner and the glue was still drying as I started carving. I had to bring out the Porter Cable ROS and shine it up to 220, then quickly hand sanded to 800, and threw on some BLO to see whats what before racing off to still be late to work (gotta pay those pesky bills). But I’m pleased with my first test. Quite pleased. I can’t wait to get home in fact. I can smell the sawdust now…
This really opens up my options and lets my creative juices flow. A simple way to meld my artistic side, I used to love to carve and sculpt be it plaster of paris, clay, wax or Play-Doh, with my newfound woodworking skills.
Stay tuned.. More to come…
-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram