Monday, February 22, 2010

Milling Frustration

Well, coming to a close with the pedestals I started to have some troubles in honing. I have been using a Norton 1000 Grit stone and a King that is about 6000 G. Well I always felt I had to put more effort into getting a nice polished edge than many of my classmates, but now I couldn't even get what I was getting before. I'm not the most patient of people to be doing this kind of work but I have VERY little patients for things that aren't working as they "should" be.
My King stone had a crack and the dumb base was flexing. Norton stones however don't have bases which is actually a good thing!
After reaching my wits end I went out and got a Norton 8000 G stone. What a difference it makes!!! I had no idea getting that final polish could be so easy! Maybe "training" on the poorer stone for a couple years helped but I do not suggest putting yourself through that mess.
Seriously spend the extra $40-$50 and get the Norton off the bat. Save yourself from suffering and make honing more enjoyable!
The King stone promptly made it's way to the garbage. heh.

In more frustrations... Oak Milling... So like I said I ended up getting White Oak from the main local hardwood seller. The mainly supply to cabinet shops and other "industrious" operations.
So this 8/4 was kiln dried and my guess would be that it was dried as fast as possible to meet with "industrial demand". I had found one great looking plank (in terms of potential yield). When I plotted the parts out before cutting into it I though I'd be able to get the whole table out of this one 8/4 plank minus 2 long pieces. Turns out I was wrong. Above was to be a frame member and a stretcher. Even though I cut with about an extra 1/8" in thickness in both pieces I could not use either for their intended purpose!
In addition to the stress the wood had I kept finding "surprises" throughout both "rift" planks I had.

This is a nasty one! I had set aside an "in case" off-cut about 40" long. After my discovery tension in the wood I went to this to get to more pieces out of. Turns out this gaping crack was hiding waiting for me to find it. It started about 3" on one side of the off-cut to about 4" from the end! I had basically cut this shooting crack out of the plank without seeing any evidence of its existence!!

Oh sweet. That's a BIG knot to be hiding inside a 2"! There was a small visible bend to the grain on the outside, I though I might find a little dot of a knot...

The cracks kept coming out to party...
There's a whole bunch more but you can get the idea.

After working a number of short days taking a little material off here and there then letting it settle, repeating the process and again. I'm getting close to final dimensions... not quite though.
Two Coffee tables. One in White Oak and one in Kwila. I wish I had more Kwila. I know there is one part I'm not overly happy with. I did the best I could with what I have though, and money is tight. Not to mention there's no way for me to color match any other material coming my way and Kwila has a pretty wide range of tone.

Speaking of lumber coming my way.... Look what I got!!! This is 44 b/f of steamed Swiss Pear coming from Gilmer Wood Co in Portland Or. The two thinner planks are a match from a flitch and the shorter wide one is a quartered flitch 15" - 16" wide, all 10/4" thick!!!
Pear isn't cheap and neither is shipping it from Portland but it should be more than enough for my next project... FINALLY I'm not calling it too close. I wish I had bigger machines though. I hate the idea of ripping and joining back together pieces! >:( Not that I can't do it or that it takes a heck of a lot of time but I feel confined and it kind of "violates" my "religion" ha.


Nick Brygidyr said...

holy moly. when i was working on the stand for my beech cabinet, same shit with the red oak exploding...come to think of it the beech did too. you're making me worried cause i just brought home a plank of euro beech and a plank of quartered red oak.

and i hate you for the pear!

i was looking though the weird wood pile at my lumberyard and saw they had some, Iroko, Makore, Jatoba and Anigre. Ever worked with any of those?

Nicholas Nelson said...

Ha Pear yes! I wish I could get some UNsteamed Pear though...
I have a little experience with Makore, and Jatoba... Iroko I see around but just looking at it and touching it I've never wanted to work with it. Seems like it would be nasty to work with. Well wearing for flooring... It would probably make a decent plane.
Makore is pretty toxic to some people... feels like you're breathing fiber glass ha I've seen some that can be planed well and some that needed to be sanded.
Jatoba is hard and a little brittle. I like the redder stuff but it all gets significantly darker in a couple months therefore I would find it a little difficult in matching with/to it.
I have never worked with Anigre but it seems it would be friendly... Maybe a little on the "dull" side but I'm sure there some pretty planks out there.

Yeah on the cracking, bending, cracking stock so frustrating! Industry is just not willing to cautiously season their lumber and popular species such as Oaks are bought out by "big industry" so it's harder to find any amount that has been cut and sat for a few years :(

Tom Fidgen said...

the pear wood looks amazing-
hate to hear someone say they need to rip planks to fit them into machines- use hand tools!!
you'd be surprised at how fast it can be dimensioning rough lumber by don't rip up that 15" plank!!


Nick Brygidyr said...

-Nick N: the steaming "stabilizes" the wood ;). im interested in trying the Iroko since im looking for a teak-like wood. Teak is oh...32 bucks a BDF around here i think. The Iroko is like 1/16th the price. Ive been trying hard to get Kwila, cause i think that looks teak-ish but forget tht, cannot find ANY, maybe in 5 months..

Some of my African Mahogany went ape shit bananas on me, twisted a good 1/2 off the bandsaw. i think cause the board is so wide(24") it's still pretty juicy in the middle. im thinking of ripping the board in half, to let it dry out a lil more in the middle.

Tom F: you're nuts :). but seriously your work and WAY of working is awesome!

Nicholas Nelson said...

Ha I am aware of purposes of the steaming process. Air dried and unsteamed "natural" Pear is a heck of a lot lighter in color and retains its color gradients... especially if/when you find that whispy heart color!

Ha good gosh Iroko... you must be masochistic :P Teak though expensive does work well though requires frequent sharpening. The Plantation Teak is so expensive too (and doesn't work as well) I don't know why people would pay that much for it when the "real" thing is "slightly" more.
Some Kwila has similar color to Teak but I would say that's about where the similarities end. Seriously you CAN get Kwila, you just have to order it, that's how I get it. Does A&M have any? Otherwise I've been getting it from Cormark.
Heh I wouldn't be working here if all I could get was material from local suppliers. From the sounds of it your local "resources" are about like mine... Not too fun :/
Since I've been back I've made 5 separate lumber orders via phone, working with the right people I've gotten what I asked for. It's not as fun as a lumber yard adventure but I'm getting much nicer material than I could locally.

Nick Brygidyr said...

hey nick! A&M does not have kwila, although Bois Novack out east can get it...just they donno when it'll come in.

I know i can get Iroko it really that hard to work with? I mean Shedual looks like an S.O.B and you made a damn table out of it!

I donno about ordering from the states, im sure id have to pay A LOT of import fees...and crap.

Just for fun, does Cormark have a site or something? i'll be damned if i cant get any Kwila!

Nicholas Nelson said...

Jason will probably be the guy who answers the phone and is the gentleman that I talk with there :)

What's with you guys getting more fees over the boarder? I guess I haven't ordered anything from Canada except for stuff from Lee Valley.

Yeah Shedua wasn't great but Iroko is brittle and "stringy" if you want to call it that... I'd was more "shardy" or "stabby" I imagine it may work something like Wenge, which is to say it doesn't work ha.
On that note I've been getting crazy ideas like wanting so see a set of these tables in Wenge GAH!!! the tools I made with Wenge are pretty and the memory of splinters, swearing, tear out, and breaking tool edges on wood are fading... I MUST not forget!

Nick Brygidyr said...

woah dude you just totally turned me off to iroko haha. But i read it's super popular in europe right now as a teak substitute...

i cried when i was working with bubinga, that stuff was wow something else..

so forget about hand planing iroko aye? but its so cheap....7.50$

Nicholas Nelson said...

Ha well I'm exaggerating a bit and after all of that talk I might be thinking of Ipe hahaha
But take a look at this pic of Iroko I found...

Nick Brygidyr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Brygidyr said...

oh jesus.....