Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Television Stand - Part Cinq: Major Change of Plan

Well, this is what I get for charging full steam ahead with good intentions to make a television stand using walnut slabs - they're too nice to be covered up by a TV and accompanying equipment.

Got the under part of the pedestal all leveled off.

Got the walnut slabs planed down to the thickness I wanted and the whole thing to the height we needed.

Set it up in the shop just balancing the slabs to see how it might look when finished (they'd actually be moved over some to the right in this picture to balance out everything and make maximum use of as much of the slab as possible). Looking really good, right? That's when Katherine and I decided together those dang walnut slabs are just too pretty to be covered up.

Decisions, decisions. What to do? What to do? Don't have any other pine slabs to use, but do have a whole lot of cottonwood slabs that have been curing in the barn now for three years. But they're way too big for something like this.

Well, they're way too big if used as one piece. The one in the back of the photo below is about 4' high by almost 3' wide. What if I split the dang thing right down the middle? Tried it using a sledge hammer and driving a wedge down into the grain from the end and got two really nice slabs about the same width.

Problem was they were each about 6" to 7" thick depending on how bad a job of chainsawing I did when cutting the slab originally. The depth desired is 2 3/4" to 3" thick. Back to the router planer.

Because these slabs are 4' in length, it's necessary that I set up the "big boy" router planer and use the 15' long rails to support the router sled. The height adjustment here is a little more dicey than on the other set up I use, but once set, it's really easy to use.

First pass and you can see the sawdust this generates.

I made it a habit to use a leaf blower after each pass is finished to not only keep the work area cleaner, but also to be able to see the work done to that point.

Next step was to make absolutely sure depth of cut didn't take the slab thickness down to below 2 3/4". Perfect!

It was about this time when I began to realize the sawdust generated by multiple, multiple passes of the router was going to be excessive to say the least. Brain fart told me to remember some of the photos I've seen of projects on one of my favorite woodworking websites ever,, in which sawdust is used to enhance the photos, and I began saving the shavings.

At this point, I also wanted to see what the planed slab of cottonwood might look like when mounted on the pedestal, so I spread some of the sawdust on the work platform by my shop, brought the pedestal out, and set the slab on top. I'm not so sure I want to use the cottonwood for this application either after seeing how pretty it looks as a tabletop (just kidding).

Bottom line - cottonwood is a very misunderstood, maligned wood that has a beautiful grain (especially in branch crotches), but is really stinky to work with.

And, I do mean STINKY!