I have to start by thanking others for the advice given in my last post. I put a new edge on my planing blade, getting it hair shaving sharp, and adjusted the depth to take a very thin slice. While not smooth as butter it was a tremendous improvement over my initial attempts.
However, I also admitted defeat in my attempts to make this a hand tool only project. There were a couple reasons for this.
The last foot (.3 meter) of the surface took a pretty nasty dive; a bit over a half an inch (2.5 cm) in depth.
Perhaps a bit hard to see from that picture, but in person, even without the level, it was pretty noticeable. I thought about trying to work the defect into the piece, but really the only viable solution was to bring the rest of the surface down to this level. That would have meant removing a half an inch of stock from a 5 foot by 15 inch (1.5 meter by .45 meters) surface.
From my sawing efforts, I may be a glutton for doing things the hard way but my back, still recovering from herniated disc surgery, wasn’t going to be able to handle the hours of bent over Galooting necessary to flatten this by hand.
The second factor was lack of available hand tooling necessary for the next phase of the project. My intent is to sand back the weathered exterior leaving a smooth “sculpted” finish. Very similar to my coffee table base made out of the “little brother” of this larger drift wood
The only hand tool I could think of that could handle the curves and intricacies would be some combination of a draw knife, scorp and spoke shave. Tools which I don’t presently own and being on a self imposed budget, can’t bring myself to purchase a new one.
Which some mixture of disappointment, I set up my router jig and got to work.
A good hour and a half later I had the top nice and level; and not a moment too soon as my back was eager for a break.
The final tally in terms of saw dust; 4.5 gallons by hand, 6 gallons by machine.
With the bulk material removal out of the way, there are some more opportunities to work on my hand planing skills. Also, I will be keeping an eye out on my thrift shop and garage sale rounds for more hand-tools to add to my arsenal.
That about wraps this blog. Thanks all for reading and for the guidance provided. I may spin the rest of this build into a new series.