Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

After months (seems like years) of no projects being worked on (still trying to convert the old barn over to my new/old shop), it felt really good to finally get working again on a bona fide project....a bigger bona fide project, that is.

As usual, the ease is in the least to begin with.

Katherine saw something online she thought might be a good seller. I took a look at it and agreed. My thoughts went immediately to the degree of difficulty (my usual mode). Hers went to how easy this should be, especially given the fact I already had two pedestals done and ready to go:

Curious yet as to what these are going to wind up being? Too bad! Not ready to let the cat out of the bag just yet!

Each one of these needs a top. The top needs to be a diameter of no less than 25 inches assuming the top will be kind of "roundish".

There were three cottonwood crosscut slabs on top of my scrap pile I thought might fit the bill. No such luck, and that's when the ease of perception decided to take a hike in a southward direction BIG time!

None of them were over 22 inches in diameter. So, all three of them got set aside, and off to the portable garage I went for one of the big boys:

Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' bout! This big boy definitely fits the bill. Over 36 inches in diameter. Yeah, baby!

Wait a minute....there's a really big crack in this crosscut slab. Gotta get rid of that in order to make this work. Will it leave the requisite 25 inch diameter? Whew! Just barely. Now, the only thing to worry about (constant worrier, don'tcha know) is whether or not that crack will extend any further.

This is the fun part, at least for me it is, the shaping....

Tried chiseling off small really tired of doing that really fast.

Tried pounding in a wrecking/pry really tired of doing that really fast, too.

Looked for my splitting wedge....couldn't find it.

Puzzled over this for awhile, and then had one of those legendary senior moments (brain farts for some)....splitting maul! Yep! That's the ticket!

A few (a relative term, to be sure) less than well placed swings (well, maybe not to some of you younger whippersnappers out there), and the deed was done. Just a little bit of the crack left over which leaves just enough extra to work with when doing more shaping in that area.

All of this was done with the slab on the floor. Next step is to grind it down to about a 4 inch thickness. But it has to be lifted onto two sawhorses to get it up to a height I can work with.

DANG, but that's still heavy! Good thing it's been drying out for, what, 4 years now? Leverage is a beautiful thing....especially when you know how to use it.

All set up and ready to go, except the thickness that has to come off this slab is way more than I anticipated it would be. This thing's about 7 inches thick, and it needs to be about 3 inches for a finished slab. Well, that means about 3 inches off the top and another inch off the bottom.

At one point in my woodworking life, I would have used my router planer to take down the extra stock. After burning out two routers in the process, it's become readily apparent there has to be another way.

Enter the handy-dandy angle grinder with chainsaw grinding wheel:

Sharpened that chain, and away we go!!!

After grinding down about half the stock on this side that needs to be removed, it was time to quit for the day. Neck, shoulders, elbows, hands, and fingers are all so stiff and sore, I'm hoping they'll calm down at least a little bit for tomorrow's work.

The picture above really doesn't show the amount of stock taken off, but, trust me, it felt like it was way more than it actually turned out to be.

Hopefully, the photo below will at least give some idea of how much still has to be taken off before flipping it over to work on the other side:

After the rest of the stock has been removed on this side, it's flip the durn burn thing over, and grind down another inch on the other side. Then, and only then, will I take the router planer after this thing and smooth both sides flat!

Have you guessed yet what it's gonna be?