Well I decided to switch gears today and saw up some walnut logs. These three logs a buddy gave me that runs a tree service. I was pretty sure some place along the line on one of them I would hit some tramp metal but I never did. The 3 logs yielded about 350 board feet of lumber, I managed to cut all 3 plus a log for a neighbor in one long day. The day total was about 500-600 bdft total that edged and stacked lumber and cleaning up most of the mess. I will be honest that was a hard days work by myself but when the day was done it was cool to look at the stack of lumber.
As I continue on the process of dovetailing the case of this blanket chest. I did the second set of through dovetails on the opposite front corner. They came out real good as well, I was quite relieved since these will show on the front of the chest. I need to now do the back corners, and I am hoping my luck will continue. If it does hold maybe I should try the blackjack table at the casino. I have said I am by no means an expert on hand cut dovetails however, I did have quite a bit of practice on my last project. On the federal table front I also have the first piece of shop made veneer (hopefully) glued to the table apron. It was a tough glue up but I think I should have a good adhesion to the brick laid sycamore. I will know when I remove the clamps tonight. I also am trying to match the walnut boards for the best grain and color match for the sides of the dresser. In looking at other peoples work that is something that always catches my eye. It really shows up when the boards don't match up grain and color wise. I hope I can get a good match with the boards I have.
As I continue the hope chest build I am working on the through dovetails for the case. I sat down turned on some music and started chiseling out the waste between the tails. Once that was done I used the tail boards to mark the location of the pins. I know people do it different ways pins first or tails first. I learned it this way so that is the way I do it. Once the pins were marked some careful sawing and more chiseling. When that was done it was time for the big test fit. I was very happy that these fit together very well right of the bat. I used a smoothing plane to plane the pins and tails to a dress it up and put a little water on the joint to check it out. I am very happy with this corner now to repeat the process 3 more time with as good a result may be tough. I also wanted to mention the mallet I use. It is from the Wood is Good Company and I have several as they have different sizes. I use it for this application but i also use it for mallet wood carving. The mallets hold up to an incredible beating and are quieter then using a wood mallet. These mallets are carried by many of the woodcarving tool venders but my favorite is the Woodcraft Shop in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Since I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons with all this rainy weather. I am continuing on with my three projects. This one is going to be a red oak hope chest with through dovetail construction for the case itself. I like cutting dovetails although I am by no means an expert. It is quieter then using a router and makes much less dust. It harkens back to a time before power tools when things were made by craftsman using hand tools. It is rather enjoyable to put on some Springsteen and saw away. The end results may not be perfect but I enjoy the journey sometimes too ......
And lately it has been raining often. Well since it was going to rain I decide rather then slog around in the mud cutting logs I would stay indoors. I have been wanting to do some woodworking and just didn't have the opportunity to get started. The rain and the humidity combined to give me that opportunity. I am building several things at once. I will often build several of the same project but I decided to change it up. I am building one each of several project for a change of pace. The projects are a walnut dresser, an oak hope chest, and finally a federal card table. I started on all three and made some progress on all of them. It is kind of nice to change back and forth between projects hopefully I can keep all of them straight. I am making the table apron out of brick laid sycamore. It helps to have lots of clamps. I cut this sycamore out of a couple of really large logs many years ago. The quartersawn sycamore wood is really a beautiful wood and works really easy with hand or power tools.
One of the key things to getting straight lumber is sharp blades. I have used Woodmizer Doublesharp blades for many years. The blades are high quality and they cut straight and seem to last quite awhile. These all need to go back to be sharpened at Woodmizer, when they come back they will be clean, sharp, and ready to make some lumber.
Well the sun finally decided to show up and get to work today. I am not sure how long it plans on sticking around it has been a wet cloudy spring so far. I did manage in between showers to get the other kiln loaded. I am hoping that the weather will begin to clear and we will have some sunny warm days. The wood is at about 15% moisture so it is about as dry as it was going to get outside. If I let it sit all summer it might move down a degree or two. The kiln will dry it down to about 7% -9% or so and then it will regain a little when it is stacked and end up at about 11%. The wet cloudy weather did cause me some concern as the air drying stack started to show some blue stain/mold. I went out with my trusty wood hand plane that I bought on ebay and verified it is just at the surface. I have seen this before up in Minnesota when a was visiting a sawmill that cuts basswood. The pile they had did the same thing but it too was only a surface stain. The wood in the kiln will be ready in time for the Doane Experience in July so I will be busy making S4S basswood blocks in a few weeks for that