Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Splitting Boards (Not Hairs)

In the never ending search for methods to make my work more efficient and enjoyable, I've started having my hard maple sawn into planks. 

If the main reason to split the parts from the log is maintaining the straight fiber line and turning green wood, then I've lost nothing in this process and gained quite a bit. The problems that arise when dealing with the logs are spoilage (I like splitting only what I need, instead of a whole log at once, but in summer, this is a recipe for spalting), waste through splitting,  and the troubles associated with moving a whole log.

By having my logs (which are chosen for their straightness) sawn by a conscientious sawyer, I get the best of both worlds, plus, if the boards sit for a while in the stacks, they dry, not rot!

As you see above, the first split is down the pith. Because the 2 inch chunks of maple that I split off don't deflect much, I can generally just make my way across the board splitting off the blanks. If the sawn line deviates from the fiber line a bit, I can subtly adjust the way that I mount it on the lathe to 
correct the problem.

I've found that this works well even with air dried maple, and for my oak turnings, I've been splitting oak boards. The main benefit that I've found with the oak, is that the parts don't check while drying, which is a problem that I kept having when splitting and turning green oak. I'm not going to lie to you, turning dry wood ain't nearly the joy of green wood, but as with most things, you will draw your own lines in the sand!

Yes, I actually built a new brake! Here is the layout for the hole locations in the side. The numbers locate the holes from the left and bottom edges.

I did choose to include a leverage arm. I put notches in it to hold the straps in place. Knowing where the stresses most affected my old brake, I reinforced this one with plywood scraps from the start.

On the home front, here is Seth (remember him building my countertop) and his lovely bride Johanna at their wedding in Salem. They stopped by for a couple of days on their way to their new home in Asheville.

And for my goat fans (this is you Tee), here is the Chair Notes covergirl with her favorite little fellow. Boy has he grown!

He's a bit dopey but she loves him (yes, I know what this implies).
All of our others are healthy, happy and living as a herd. I'm heading to Atlanta tomorrow to demonstrate and teach at Highland Woodworking, I hope to see you there!


Pete said...

Hi Peter, any chance we could get a post with pics of how you use your brake? Video would be even better... Thanks as always for the excellent blog you keep.


Peter Galbert said...

I was just thinking the same thing. I'll put it up when I get back from Atlanta,

Tee said...

Awwww, the kids are soooo cute! I understand why your wife loves them. This animal person would sure love them. Will you have any free time in Atlanta?