Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Starting Over ---- Part 1

The writing bug hadn't hit for awhile because of the last debacle with aspen that I finally had to simply give up on finishing and refund the client's down payment. The reason the writing bug has finally making a kind of sort of a comeback is because of another debacle I engaged in awhile back. The end product of that debacle was a small conference table I was pretty doggone proud of if I do say so myself. Dang thing even made it into the Daily Top 3 on one of my favorite web sites called Lumberjocks.

This is what it looked like pre-delivery:

Thing is, after the table was delivered and set up in its permanent location, it began to split. I ain't talking a little split either.

Eventually it split right down the middle of the tabletop, itself.

The reason? Well, those end pieces? Those breadboard ends? They certainly looked nice, but they expanded and contracted lengthwise which was crosswise with the rest of the table which, as anyone with half a brain can figure out, wasn't good. No....not at all!

Make no mistake ---- this one was all on me! This was my bad, my lack of knowledge about how to make breadboard ends and of how wood, especially wood that's placed at right angles to other pieces of wood in the piece, interact when glued up and put under stress. What I should have done, and the key word here is "should", is glue one dowel very tightly in the center with the rest of the dowels going into more oblong openings with no glue in order to allow for that expansion and contraction. But I didn't do that and here we are....

The cracks were so bad, there was no salvaging the top, so back to the drawing board and coming up with a new tabletop that will be as striking a design as the original, but without putting in those durn burn breadboard ends.

So, this new series is going to document the process in coming up with a new design that will hopefully satisfy the client. In the meantime, he was given a hand carved juniper bowl as a sort of a peace offering for his patience and understanding in this my second debacle!

The first issue in doing another tabletop was finding enough additional juniper to actually be able to do another tabletop. This is all I had (except for some really big pieces already earmarked for fireplace mantels and table pedestals):

Now that may look like it'll be enough, but the photo is deceiving. Those logs are only 50" long. Diameter is also an issue because juniper is notorious for a significant taper which makes it difficult to get logs that even come close to being a consistent diameter for this kind of project. Oh, well....

Alternating the logs lengthwise in opposite directions might be a possible answer to the narrow taper issue.

Line em' up, measure across (gotta be a total of 36" in there somewhere). I think this many might just do the trick. Time will tell.

So, clean the bark off, line them up again just to make sure:

Thing is, this time around the plan is to use only juniper instead of incorporating cottonwood into the center part of the tabletop. Being the suspicious individual I am, there's a conspiracy theory in the back of my mind that says the cottonwood may have been part of the problem to begin with because it probably hadn't had enough time to cure completely before use. If that's the case, then drying while on display in the final location isn't probably the best course of action, eh?

Oh, well....lessons learned. Lots of lessons learned in this one.

Next up: trying my hand at slabbing with a chainsaw....again.