Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Starting Over - Part 3: Router Planing

The log shown below was one I didn't want to take a chance on ruining with my lack of chainsaw slabbing skills, so a decision was made to router plane it down to thickness....2" was the goal. But first, it had to be leveled on one "side", flipped over and leveled on the other side, and flipped over repeatedly to get to the desired 2" slab thickness.

Given the fact I ruined two slabs with the chainsaw, using this log became necessary. Originally it was going to be an old-timer fireplace mantel, but what the heck, eh? 

Slow work flipping it over and over and over, but this is the only way I have available to do this work. Hmmmmm....might a thickness planer work for this kind of job? Yup, but when I sold my brand new, perfectly good Ridgid 13" thickness planer, that option pretty much flew out the window (or drove off in the pickup of the person who bought it from me). Sometimes I gotta wonder about my own thought process....or lack thereof! Live and learn.

DAMN, but routing something this big in diameter down to thickness creates a LOT of sawdust, and this pile is just the beginning of what ultimately became kind of a "mini-mountain" of sawdust outside my shop door as I had to rake it out in order to be able to close the sliding barn door!

The log is 51" long and the router bit is a 3/4" straight bit that has to be moved crosswise back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until the end of the log is reached. Then it's back it up and start all over again to a depth of cut right around 1/2" each time (deeper than that is waaaaaay too hard on the router even though it a 2 3/4 hp beast....repetition like this will burn it out faster than using it for its intended purpose would for sure). Doesn't take a mathematical genius to figure out how long each pass takes when confronted with the numbers.

Boy, but this is taking a looooooong time! That horizontal mark is a little bit OVER the thickness I need (gotta leave some wiggle room).

Four down and one to go to get the desired 5 log width of juniper.

Still not sure about the final design, though. My first inclination was to leave all the live natural edges and "fit" the slabs together for a more rough cut look. That option didn't appear to be viable timewise for this project, though. So, each slab got a flat side using a circular saw. After that, the slab got run through the table saw with the flat edge up against the fence (a radial arm saw would have worked much, much better for this step, but I sold that, too....starting to detect a pattern here?).

After they'd all been run through the table saw, another decision had to be made....should douglas fir spacers be put in between each of the slabs as shown below and cut to the same thickness? Or should the juniper slabs be glued together and have two douglas fir edge slabs? Not to worry....plenty of time to decide. This isn't a command decision that has to be made immediately. Lots of other work to be done in the interim.

With the fifth juniper slab router planed to thickness, even though I didn't want to make a decision on the douglas fir immediately that's what I did....two edge slabs, and, yes, I did cut this log in half with the chainsaw, and, yes, you saw the photo in my last blog post, and, yes, the photo makes the cut look a whole lot better than it actually was. That being said, looks didn't matter....functionality did, and these were both very functional after they were planed to thickness.

Finally! All the slabs are router planed down and ready to be glued up!

Well, not really....first they need to be edge planed so the joints are nice and flush and smooth. That's what's up next.