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Dealing with slabs

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Forum topic by Milo posted 04-26-2013 01:00 AM 979 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Milo

851 posts in 1976 days


04-26-2013 01:00 AM

I recently go my hands on two fresh cut live edge oak slabs. They are around 30 – 36 inches in diameter, 3 – 4 inches thick, with a very nice edge to them.

Does anyone have any idea how I should properly prepare these to turn into small tables? I don’t have access to a kiln, or anything. Unfortunately they are already starting to show small cracks in them.

Is there a way to stabilize the slabs to stop/reduce any cracking, and at the same time decrease the water content so I can actually use them?

Thanks all. I will try and post some pictures tomorrow.

Milo

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...


11 replies so far

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1167 posts in 1516 days


#1 posted 04-26-2013 02:18 AM

Milo,

Are these slabs, ie pieces cut with the grain, parallel to the pith in the log or are they “cookies”, that is cross sections cut roughly 90 degrees to the grain?

Cookies, especially large cookies, will almost certainly crack radially while drying due to differential shrink rates.

Oak needs to dry slowly. Live oak is especially difficult to dry well.

Good luck!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

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bannerpond1

233 posts in 555 days


#2 posted 04-26-2013 11:40 AM

Paint the end grain. Sticker the wood with live oak scraps if you can. Put them in a barn if possible. Make sure your base is perfectly level. Put concrete blocks on top to discourage any movement out of level by the boards. If you have to leave it outside, cover it but allow the air to circulate around the wood. Don’t let the sun bake it. Meanwhile, you can find plans to make a sled which will allow you to flatten and smooth the slabs when you are ready. I used that techique to flatten an old maple chopping block and it was a piece of cake by using sleds. You will be sorry if you try to freehand it and put waves on the faces. You have a real treasure here; just take your time (the drying process is going to be many months, if not years) and work on the lesser slabs first to get your technique down. For inspiration, look at George Nakashima’s tables. Learn to make dutchmen while the wood dries, and you can put bowties across any cracks that develop. Design legs for the tables you will make. Not every table leg style will be pleasing on a slab. Nakashima’s tables will show you. It all sounds so easy….

-- --Dale Page

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bannerpond1

233 posts in 555 days


#3 posted 04-26-2013 11:45 AM

Milo, if these are “cookies” rather than “slabs,” you are going to have some serious cracking. I’m drying some maple cookies about the size your oak, and they are going to require dutchmen for sure. You might want to put them in a plastic bag and open up the air often to let out the humidity.

-- --Dale Page

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Nomad62

710 posts in 1615 days


#4 posted 04-26-2013 03:04 PM

Pentacryl would be your best bet, but I wouldn’t bank heavily on its keeping them from splitting anyway.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Milo's profile

Milo

851 posts in 1976 days


#5 posted 04-26-2013 03:33 PM

Yes, they are cookies from the base of the tree, rather than length cut slabs. Sorry for the confusion.

I had THOUGHT about putting them into my old E250 work van. I don’t use it much, and I thought the heat inside might be benefitial.

Couple questions:

Dale, what do you mean when you say your maple will be “Dutchmen”?

Nomad62, what is Pentacryl?

Thanks guys,

Milo

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1167 posts in 1516 days


#6 posted 04-26-2013 10:55 PM

Milo,

By “Dutchman” he means heavy (thick) “butterflies” inlaid across the crack to reinforce the structure.

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Milo's profile

Milo

851 posts in 1976 days


#7 posted 04-26-2013 11:15 PM

Ah, I thought so. I’m not familiar with the term, but I must have heard it somewhere, because I wasn’t surprised by you explanation.

Thanks! Not, what’s Pentacryl?!? :)

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View Don W's profile

Don W

15037 posts in 1224 days


#8 posted 04-26-2013 11:59 PM

So is there a difference between a Dutchman and a butterfly?

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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bannerpond1

233 posts in 555 days


#9 posted 04-27-2013 04:08 AM

A butterfly is a particular shape of a dutchman.

-- --Dale Page

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1167 posts in 1516 days


#10 posted 04-27-2013 06:24 AM

IMHO, a Dutchman is intended to be a structural repair while a butterfly may not be thick enough to provide any significant structural effect.

Of course, what do I know?

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Don W's profile

Don W

15037 posts in 1224 days


#11 posted 04-27-2013 12:55 PM

A butterfly is a particular shape of a dutchman.

That makes sense. I’ve always made my butterfly’s thick enough to provide structural support, but I can see why they would be installed just for ecstatic’s. And I guess I always wrongly called them butterfly’s even if they were a different shape.

Maybe you can teach an old dog a new trick!!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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