Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back in the Light

After my brief foray into power planing, it felt downright cleansing to split out some white oak for the crests of the chairs that I have to make. The tree that I have isn't stellar, but I was able to cut a 26 inch section that yielded 4 ideal crest blanks.

I am discarding the sap wood in these, partially because I don't want the contrast in the final unpainted chairs, but also because the slight discoloration on the bottoms is enough of a sign that some strength has been lost. Winter around my splitting brake is a double edge sword, I hate clearing the snow (why don't I just cover it?) but I love that it's frozen to the earth!

I really enjoyed pulling the shavings along the large radial plane. I didn't even notice how wide they were until I look down around my feet.

Below is the finish shaved surface. I agree with Peter Follansbee on this, "It's what quartersawn wood wishes it was". The 2 1/4" flat tenons at either end of the crest will benefit by being in the radial plane, which shrinks substantially less than the tangential.
The broad flat medullary rays are a great sign that I managed to shave along the fibers and didn't twist the board. If you twist the board, the rays squiggle diagonally across the surface and while it might not put the bend at risk, it means that end grain has been exposed and might lift during bending. While this white oak is very agreeable to bending, shaving along the fibers is just as easy as not, so that's where my effort goes.

When the final shaping on the crest is done, it will break up the regularity of the pattern, which I find pleasing. This crest bent without complaint.


Christopher said...

Just looking at that piece I can smell the oak -- and looking at the snow I remember why at age 18 I put Syracuse in my rear view mirror and never looked back :)

Peter Galbert said...

being able to keep green wood outside in "stasis" for half the year makes it all worth it! Plus I've been inoculated against winter by living in Chicago, this ain't nuthin'