Monday, February 22, 2010

A Real Puzzler

Above is a photo of:

A. A hampster duvet.
B. A close-up of Howard Stern's hair.
C. An inexhaustible font of fun for my dog.
D. A pile of wood shavings from Hans, my scrub plane.
E. Hors d'oeuvres from the Annual Bevy of Beavers Convention.

If you answered C or're correct!

At our last woodworking club meeting, I helped give a presentation on handplanes to a group that is mainly comprised of power tool guys.*

I wasn't quite sure how to start, but then it came to me.

"Okay, say you have a large, rough cut board that you just know has gorgeous grain underneath all that fuzz, but the board has an insane twist. It's too wide for your jointer unless you first rip it in half. What do you do?"

From the crowd, my favorite heckler shouts "Throw it out!"

I was counting on that.

Really? You'd throw away a 10" wide, 6' long piece of black walnut because of a twist? With that, I tossed a short, rough cut board onto the bench, grabbed Hans, and in 20 seconds was showing the group some lovely (albeit, scalloped) wood grain.

I explained that as fast as that, you can knock high spots off your twisted board and make it stable enough to run through your power planer. This way, you keep the board intact and it's much faster than ripping, jointing, gluing, and then running it through the planer. (The last two photos are after power planing.)

Back in my shop, I'm preparing boards for a shaving horse. Every single board that I retrieved from my lumberyard (garage) is severely twisted. But I took my own advice and spent about 15 minutes with Hans on one particularly nice board and then ran it through the planer.

Once I trim the sapwood and ends, I'll have a nice pair of legs for the shaving horse.

So, why would anyone throw out or burn a beautiful piece of walnut like this when it's so easy to prepare it for milling?

Now there's a question I can't answer.

*I am in no way trying to cut on power tools or people (like me) who use them.