That's right, I've been posting here for a few years now, and the time has come for me to ask you for your experience. When I set out to make my Crested Rocker in fumed white oak, I found it much easier to work with air dried planks for some of the thicker parts. Air dried wood bends beautifully and not having to wait weeks for the parts to be ready was a real plus. Also, as it happened, I had a great deal of the stuff on hand and it was sawn right down the fiber line. Perfect.
My experience with the air dried stuff was great, but now I am writing an article about the chair and am trying to stretch the material choices to include kiln dried stuff. The only kiln dried white oak that I have was poorly dried and I wasn't at all surprised to see the nasty checks in it after I dried it down. My question is this, have you successfully steam bent kiln dried white oak?
I suspect that there are some kiln operators out there who don't know how touchy this wood can be during the drying process, especially at 8/4". I think that the stuff I have was probably run in the same kiln load as a bunch of 4/4 pine and they just blasted the poor stuff. Perhaps a proper kiln operation would yield a wood that could take the rigors of steam bending, or maybe I'm just tilting at windmills, whaddya think?
Below is a photo of a newcomer to my shop. I decided to work through my design with some of the walnut that I bought from Lou Irion. Boy did it bring back memories, that smell!
It's still quite odd to look at a plank and break it up into pieces, but I must admit that by the end of the day I had all the pieces bent or ready for the lathe. I'm excited to test some new waters.
I did some cutting with my drawknife while roughing out the stiles, what can I say, it felt like I've been practicing for this wood for 10 years.