Let me start by saying that this post will once again be short on photos. You’ll understand why after reading, but I just wanted to apologize up front to those that like the visual aspect of blogs.
I spent yesterday and today trying to decide on what lumber to use for my project. In the end it has been a wonderful learning experience, and ended with me feeling excited about my selection, but along the way it was a bit nerve racking.
This being my first project, I want it to turn out great, and be something I can be proud of for a lifetime. I realize that placing such high expectations on something you are doing for the first time is probably not the best idea, but that’s just the way I am.
My hunt for the perfect stock started yesterday with several trips through the schools supply of lumber – both Urban Forestry Lumber, and lumber they have purchased for resale. Let’s just say that I didn’t find anything that gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling on my first run through. From the start I have wanted to use a piece of Carolina Cherry that was processed by the schools Urban Forestry Program (UFP). For one, it would help support the program, and two, it just seems like a cool addition to my first project.
During yesterday’s hunt, all of the Carolina Cherry that was visible on the pallets that recently came out of the kilns didn’t look like what I had envisioned, so I left a little disappointed, dejected, and rethinking my plans.
Needless to say I spent a lot of time last night thinking about what I was going to do. Regular Cherry? Walnut? Black Acacia? …what the heck was I gonna do?
Fast forward to today. Today was my first day volunteering for the UFP, and as serendipity would have it, my first task was to unload that pallet of Carolina Cherry. As we dove into the pile and began placing it in the storage racks, a treasure trove of beautiful boards began to appear. I was once again excited.
After getting a firsthand look at every piece in the lot, I decided on three pieces. My project calls for 10 board feet, but I purchased a little more so I can be selective with my cuts, and maybe get a head start on another project or two. Below are pictures of the pieces. I took these while on my way out today, so the quality is lacking, but I will get better shots before I start milling it next week. To me they are just what I was searching for. I would love to hear some feedback on them from others. I realize that it will be difficult to analyze them from these photos, and the fact that they haven’t been planed, but hopefully some of you will have some comments.
Among the three pieces, I have one that is 4/4 12” x 6’, and one that is 4/4 11” x 8’. The other piece is 4/4 and about 36” long. From the small piece I am really only looking to get something really interesting to book match for my dial face.
With the selection of my lumber complete, I will start the process of turning it into a beautiful clock next week. I promise to include a photo tour of the shop I will be working in next week, complete with pictures of a huge 30” planer from a World War II battleship.
I’d also like to tell you all about my first day volunteering with the UFP today.
WOW …what a great way to learn about lumber. In six hours I got the chance to put my hands on and get a close up look at: Cherry, Carolina Cherry, Black Acacia, Walnut, Ash, Elm, Live Oak, Black Oak, Red Oak, Torrey Pine, Canary Island Pine, Poplar, Mahogany, African Mahogany, Birch, Maple, Cypress, and a few others. What better way to learn to recognize species of wood than moving a few hundred board feet of each one around.
I also got a good feel for the difference in density among the various species. Let’s just say I have a new found respect for an 8/4 piece of Ash that is 24” x 10’. We moved about 10 of those bad boys.
My plan is to volunteer at least one day a week for the duration of the semester. I think the learning experience will be invaluable.
Until next week, keep making saw dust.
-- Wayne - Newbie looking to learn!