Woodworking 101: My Class at Palomar College #5: Snap, Crackle, and Pop

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Blog entry by WayneS posted 10-31-2007 02:44 AM 3010 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Lumber Selection Part 5 of Woodworking 101: My Class at Palomar College series no next part

I know it has been a while since I last updated everyone on my progression in the class, so I will try and get back to where I’m at currently over the next week.

When I last wrote, I let everyone know about my selection of wood for my clock. I was initially really excited about the prospects of using the Carolina Cherry, but my excitement quickly turned to disappointment during the milling process.

Several people had warned me about the potential pitfalls with using urban lumber, so I wasn’t completely surprised, but disappointed none the less when my beautifully figured wood began to crack every step of the way.

Below is a view of an approximately 6-inch by 7-inch section of a 4/4 board that is 10” x 30”. The crack labeled epoxy was a crack that reared its ugly head when I originally sent the rough lumber through the planner. This occurred in all but one of 5 pieces. I filled all visible cracks at that time with epoxy and crossed my fingers. Unfortunately, there was so much tension in the boards that they continued to crack right before my eyes.
We tried resawing instead of planning, but that only exasperated the problem. After sitting for over a month, I can still find new fractures on a daily basis. I’ve noted some examples in the photo.


Luckily for me this was all part of the big picture, which is to learn about woodworking. What did I learn? I learned that the wood wasn’t going to work, and moved on.

I’ve since selected a nice Mahogany for my clock, and all is going well so far. I’ll continue to look for ways to utilize the Cherry, but just not for this project.

-- Wayne - Newbie looking to learn!

3 comments so far

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4392 days

#1 posted 10-31-2007 02:52 AM

Thats the whole idea of school is to learn. So I guess you are getting your first lesson the hard way. Good luck on the rest. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4245 days

#2 posted 10-31-2007 02:58 AM

You can be told about wood movement and read about wood movement, but until you experience it first hand you won’t really understand it. The diagrams in books always depict the perfect cut flat sawn or quarter sawn board and show how it will move. But real boards have interlocked grain and other difficult situations that may be hard to understand until you see them yourself and observe how they behave.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4108 days

#3 posted 10-31-2007 04:16 AM

Good blog, Wayne. Glad to see you back where you belong. There might be a reason the old timers used straight grained wood with no knots,Huh??

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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