Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Measure Twice.....Part 4....Cuttin' up the BIG One....Again!

I know, I know! This one was supposed to be about cuttin' up the BIG one again. Well, to a certain extent, it is. It's just not about finishing cuttin' up the BIG one....again.

The previous BIG one was a nice one. Nice, but too short --- after I'd cut it that way. Yeah, my bad. Problem is I measured the section of the I-beam this BIG one was to be installed in twice, but only wrote down what I measured once, and THAT was after I misread the measurement....TWICE! So, back to the drawing board, find a new BIG one, and don't screw it up again!

It takes two of us (thanks for your help, Mark Guthrie) to get it up onto the table. Dang, but that thing is heavy!

Now the blocks are placed to keep it from rolling:

Positioned right? Yep. This one is over 8' long, though. Maybe it should be mounted on that sled I made out of a door to be able to move it back and forth in order to use the smaller router planer? Nope. Too heavy. Every time I tried to slide the door forward or backward, all I did was move the entire apparatus. That ain't gonna work!

So, even though I didn't want to have to do this, I knew it was time to set up the "big boy" router planer using those 4"x4" steel tubes as rails.

Now, how to lift the rails high enough, keep them stable enough, and keep them level enough? I'd tried, in my previous "tweaking" just resting them on the extensions on the side of the workbench, but that didn't allow for the spacers used to keep the rails evenly spaced apart from each other. Nor did it allow for any height adjustment, a critical necessity for any router planing that needs to be done!

An "aha" moment! We have lots and lots of empty 5 gallon buckets to elevate things, and if two of them stacked on top of each other isn't enough elevation (it wasn't), we also have lots of concrete cinder blocks to weigh them down and elevate them even more. If that isn't enough, then a series of 2x6's will be stacked on top of the cinder blocks until the apparatus gets high enough (elevation, Dudes and Dudettes, NOT the other kind of high). Before all of that, however, the floor needs to be checked for level.

Yup, level as can be in that particular spot, so proceed with vigor....

Clamp the two ends together for stability using a spacer in between the rails:

Elevated high enough for the router sled to clear the log, and go for it:

This BIG one may be too wet. WAIT, what? Too wet? That tree was standing dead for a couple of years! How in the world can it possibly be too wet? Reality is that dead trees standing take a looooong time to "dry out" enough to be usable in woodworking projects of a more "rustic" kind. A lot of lumber that's cut is stacked, stickered, and left to dry for periods of time depending on the thickness of cut. Full logs usually take longer because, well, because they're a whole lot thicker to begin with.

Add to that the fact aspen trees sometimes dry rot from the inside out before they're cut down or they fall down, and that rot process renders them virtually unusable for woodworking applications if it's allowed to go too far. It's also one of the primary reasons it's been so difficult to find any usable aspen logs big enough to meet the criteria for this job!

This BIG one hasn't started that process yet. Hopefully, once it's cut into, that'll allow the drying process to proceed without any dry rot. A calculated risk, for sure.

For more on the Quaking Aspen species, please visit the National Wildlife Federation Quaking Aspen page.

Well, maybe this BIG one isn't as wet as another one of the logs I cut into that seeped water like a soaked sponge when pressed by an index finger, but it's certainly more "green" than desirable, for sure! Guess it remains to be seen what happens to the log with warping and splitting once it gets cut into. Oh, well....

A "side", in this case the top of the log, has been leveled.

Man, this process sure does create a LOT of sawdust!

Post routing and general cleanup of work space:

Now, I have to contact the client before going any further on this one. The first BIG one I did was notched to hide the underside of the I-beam for a portion of its run to accommodate a sliding barn door the client plans to install. Before a notch is put into this one, I want to make absolutely sure I'm doing it right because running all over the countryside to find another log this size in the event I screw things up again isn't something I really want to have to do.

I'll leave it at that for now.

Next up? Fixing my other "mistakes"....