Here’s some last thoughts about walnut. The driving point that I was trying to make is that the bulk of my techniques apply to oak – and don’t transfer well to walnut. (they’re even worse in cherry, but that’s another story.)
Some readers joked “stop trying to make oak furniture in walnut” and there’s something to that, but there is a lot of 17th-century joined furniture done in English walnut; and some also in American Black Walnut. The latter is usually decorated with moldings, not carving. The English ones have both decorative methods.
My gut feeling is that the frustration I feel working this timber is mainly tied to its kiln-dried state more than anything else. I’d bet money on it.
Enough. the walnut high chair is nearing completion, so I took some time to get stock ready for what comes after.
Yesterday & today I have been working up some of the funny white oak that I split a while back. Once the snow piled up in earnest, any urgency was out the window. Storing green wood is quite easy during a winter like this – just leave it in the snowbank. I dug some out, and split it into blanks that will go toward some wainscot chairs I have to make this spring. It felt great to split, hew & plane some oak again. What a wood.
If you read the post about this log, you’ll remember it had some weird event in its life (probably lightning strike) that separated its core along the growth rings. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/one-weird-log/ Even with that bizarre feature, there are some bolts that yield 9” wide panels; but the grain is a good deal twisted, so there’s extra work to do.
Working the twist out means some more hewing than usual, and when it’s this wide, I like to use a hatchet with a handle kicked out away from the plane of the hatchet head. Once again, I am using an excellent German hatchet from Jennie Alexander’s collection. (thanks, JA) To get the handle out of the way, some use a bent handle, like on a broad axe. Others have heads/eyes that are cranked over. That’s the case with this one.
When I get to planing a board like this, the first approach I use is to plane directly across the board with the fore plane/scrub plane. That’s the quickest and easiest way to flatten the face of this stock.
At this stage, I have left it this way, when I get back to this stock in a month/month & ½; then I will work it more carefully and complete the planing process. Here all I was after was producing the rough stock.