|Forum topic by cathyb||posted 834 days ago||981 views||0 times favorited||26 replies|
834 days ago
I ran across a piece of tension wood yesterday, actually I didn’t know it was tension wood until it literally exploded on my table saw! As you might well imagine, I did get slashed across my thumb in about a nanosecond. About fifteen years ago a piece of tension wood exploded on a smaller saw and the fragments hit like a cluster bomb. In an effort to avoid repeating that disaster I bought my big 5 hp saw and paid more attention to the first cut of a large board. Since the saw has lots of power and I keep my blades sharp, any time I found a piece of wood that struggled through the first cut, I used that wood for laminate strip and cut them on my bandsaw. For the most part, that strategy has worked well.
This year I wanted to use up my ever growing inventory of off-cuts. The piece of mahogany that I was cutting yesterday last touched my hands about 17 years ago ( before my tension wood plan came into play). Honestly it was small and I didn’t realize that I was in any danger. When that thing exploded, it did so with a loud BANG. I never saw what happened, but I think the piece that slashed me caught the blade and then came out with incredible velocity.
The take home message from this experience is to identify any tension wood in the shop and label it. You know there is tension in wood when it fights to get through the saw blade (provided that you have a sharp blade) or if you plane it and it twists or warps almost immediately- or sometimes within hours. I hope my mishap helps you avoid a trip to the emergency room. But what the heck, it’s all in a days work…..........
-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com