some answers to some questions

I have been remiss in answering some questions lately on the various posts. So pardon me for this willy-nilly post, but it’s answers to some recent questions. I have no woodsy-pictures, so I’ll post an eagle.

 On the shaving horse post, Robert wrote in & asked about gluing up wide stock using green wood. (I think you’re not asking about using the shaving horse for working wide stock…so here goes) For panels glued-up, the short answer is you can’t do it. The moisture & glue don’t go together well. When I need to glue-up stock (some chest panels & lids for example. Wainscot chair seats too) I rive, hew & plane the stock. Then stack & sticker it in the shop until it is dry-ish. I doubt it gets down to the same state as kiln-dried stuff; but dry enough. Then I glue it up, and plane it down to the final thickness, etc.

John Vernier asked about the twist in some oak logs that I wrote about last week. Specifically can you detect this twist in the log before you split it open. Yup. You learn to “read” the bark. The furrows in the bark will spiral around the tree’s bole, or trunk. If the bark spirals, so does the wood underneath it. I knew this particular log had twist in it, but it was either firewood, or it was going to become some panel stock. It’s worth messing with, unless I had better stock on hand for wide stuff. So it’s a judgment call each time. I try always to use the best stock I have; but temper that with wanting to not waste much oak. So before this stuff gets burned, I’ll try to get some stock from it. You can always burn it later, & it has to be split before you can burn it anyway…

Same post, Joel asked if I lose sight of the rays at one end of the panel once I have made a flat piece out of twisted stock like this. Yes, by flattening it out, you are cutting across the medullary ray plane; so it stands to reason that the figure exposed will vary from one end of the log to the other.

 About the walnut & scratch stock, Chris Currie wrote asking about which direction I work with the scratch stock. It is usually just as Chris describes; I sorta work backwards with the scratch stock (or a molding plane, same approach) – I start the cut at the forward end of my workpiece, and scrape the molding’s profile on just a short section, then work back from that, towards the finished molding…I do the same thing with the plow plane too. EXCEPT in the photos of scratching the molding in the walnut, it was so easy to work that it didn’t matter that I worked towards un-molded stock. Ha – so Chris caught me breaking the rule of thumb. I do plane a bevel on the edge of the stock that will have the molding, whether it’s oak or some weakling wood like walnut. This removes the bulk of the stock with the plane, and the scratch stock is just a finishing tool then.

Same post, Trent asked a question that remains open – what sort of tools, lathe, and approach did turners use when working rosewood, snakewood, etc. – the super-dense tropical woods that are sometimes applied turnings on high-fashion 17th-century stuff. Someone want to send me some rosewood blanks to try turning?

Sorry if I missed any; I get lots and have the best intentions to answer them all. If I skipped yours, speak up. I’ll have more pictures from the shop next week.

juvenile eagle w fish

5 thoughts on “some answers to some questions

  1. Thanks for all those comments Peter – and the generosity with which you share your experience. And hey, there is nothing wrong with breaking rules every now and then – has to be better than sticking to them irrespective of the situation.


  2. Sure, I’ll send some blanks, what size? say 2x2x24?
    Interesting turning should come up, on another blog someone was insisting that turning furniture parts didnt exist till the 1880s. I searched thru this blog for pic’s of Peter turning away on his pole lathe as well as a painting of a 17th century german turner who’s legs are so massive, its obvious turning is about all he did. This blog is turning into a valuable resource and i notice it’s starting to be recognised around the web, CONGRATS!

  3. Peter,

    Thanks again for sharing your information. I do have a follow-up question, for when you have a moment. When you are using twisted or imperfect riven stock, like this twisted stock, how much is wood movement an issue, and how do you deal with it? Is it less an issue with panels, which are somewhat held in place by the frame? Thanks!

  4. Peter,
    Before painting do you seal the wood to avoid paint leaching into the surrounding areas?

    Great website by the way.

  5. I regularly see blanks of exotic woods posted on Ebay and other sites, most for guitar and luthier guys and some flute and oboe people, but they seem of sufficient size to glue up and make half-columns and certainly short stretches of molding. Keyboard pieces might serve for cladding or inset plaques. Of curse I fantasize about wanting a 17C Boston object entirely clad with this stuff!!! There is considerable variation in “ebonies,” ranging from absolute black to pale with black streaks, and similarly the cocobolo-rosewood-snakewood stuff varies a lot. BTW I hope Peter posts some of the fabulous joint stool pictures I just sent him. I noted that the stool maker did not consistently orient the ray plane of his posts to the outside of the rectangular bents. So I no longer feel quite so bad that one of the posts on my stool from joint stool camp 1992 is mis-oriented.

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