Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Television stand

Not sure why I'm taking so long to get this one done - mental block? Artistic block? Seems every time I feel the urge to continue, I go up to the shop and come right back down without doing much of anything. Figured maybe if I post some of the progress so far, it would get me motivated. We'll see.

This project started out with our daughter's TV stand I made for her for Christmas as its model. Katherine liked it so much, she decided she wanted one, too.

I do these things really, really slow because I’m old, don’t ya know. So step one was working up the energy to actually photograph the walnut log prior to marking it for slabbing. Man, those things are heavy!

Figuring out how to slab the log wasn't all that hard. Doing it was another story.

First, the log had to be marked. I used a laser line from a cheapo level I bought at Home Depot a long time ago. You can’t really see the red laser line in the photo, but it’s there.

The log is about 48” long and varies in diameter from 14” to maybe 30” at the widest point.

Then it had to be set upright on a sacrificial pallet. Used a dolly to transport (weighs in over 200 lbs, and I ain't a gonna even try lifting it), and got it upright on a pallet

Securing it with a tie down was simple. It was so heavy, I don't know if I even had to take this step, but better to be safe than sorry, right? 

Next step: Fine tune the chainsaw, eyeball the scribe marks, and make the cut as best I could. A friend on told me he uses chains whose teeth are sharpened at 0 degrees in order to rip. Tried it, and lo and behold! It worked! A lot easier than using a regular crosscut blade, that's for sure!

Photo below shows one cut made pre-0 degrees sharpening.

Gonna need to learn how to do this better. Cut was just ok, not great. You can see where I missed the mark a coupla times, but will use the router planer later to take it down to flat.

Gave the 440 a workout, too – guess I’ll need to sharpen the chain after each cut because it was pretty dull by the time I got done with this one.

Heartwood felt a little damp to the touch (even though these logs have been on the ground for 3-4 years and I've had them for almost a year) after slabbing it. More drying necessary, I guess.

Cutting one slab was enough of a workout for this day. Hopefully will be able to get to the second one tomorrow. Goal is to get three nice 1 1/2” to 2” slabs from each of the two logs I have.

The rest was pretty simple - just keep on working from the outside inward until the last slab standing was the one secured by the ratchet tie down.

First cut using 0 degrees:

Second cut:

Some really nice grain:

The next step was trying to figure out how I’d secure the piece in order to make the last cut. It was too narrow to keep on using the tie-down, so I shimmied the thing around and hammered some impromptu chucks down on the flat sides of the piece to hold it steady (no photo, but I think we can use our imaginations, can't we).

Worked really well. The piece didn’t move at all, thank goodness. I’d have a lot of explaining to do to Katherine if I had had another accident with the chainsaw (put a 61 stitch cut across my left knee a few years back – no sympathy for stupidity, though, cuz it was my own dang fault).

The results of the last cut :

Two really good matching slabs out of this log. Might even be able to use them in a bookmatch configuration. Guess we'll have to see.  

Both these slabs also have a branch crotch in them. The grain pattern is incredible! This is some really fantastic wood I’m working with, and I can only hope to be able to score more of it in the future.

Next up: planing the slabs with my router planer.