Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wood selection and dimensioning...

I last left off having finalized the design and at the beginning of the wood preparation stage. In the past few days I've created a cut list of components I will need for the carcase of the cabinet. The cabinet case is solid wood, European QS Beech, and I have in my inventory some nice 8/4 planks of this species of wood. I happen to like working with QS Beech. It's extremely fine-grained wood and has a nice ray pattern to it, of course depending on the board. The planks of wood I have in my inventory are primarily quarter-sawn with some rift-sawn cuts mixed in. Each length of the 8/4 beech provides me 2 boards and the leftover , approximately 5/8 in., is to be later selected for use in veneering the door panels.

I judiciously measured and re-measured the correct lengths for the cabinet top, cabinet bottom, and sides before dimensioning the large planks. The planks are actually greater than 8/4 in thickness, more so approaching 2.5 inches. Once the lengths are cut to size , my next step is to create a rectangular slab from the large thick piece. These planks came with the optional wane or bark present on the plank... Ok, just kidding here. These planks are so large you can imagine how large the girth of the tree was. The radius of the bark on one edge of the planks allow us to estimate how large the diameter of the tree is and provide us a glimpse into the age of the tree.

Following the cross-cutting of the planks into slabs, the next step was to resaw the slabs into appropriate sized boards. I allow a decent percentage of the thickness of the resawn board to accommodate the acclimatization and the release of tension that inevitably results from resawing thick slabs of wood. The idea here is to resaw fairly thick boards, wait to have them acclimate to the studio and to release any built-up tension, and then continue processing the boards. This is done in stages and the end result is a stable, flat board at precisely the dimensions and thickness I am looking for.

In the photo from left to right are irregular pieces with wane or bark, an end cut of the original slab, and the resawn boards which comprise the case for the cabinet on stand. There are also thinner leftover boards from the resawing operation that I will further resaw to create veneers for the veneered door panels. The resawn boards are nominally thicker than final dimensions and currently acclimating to my studio.

I'm also succumbing to cabin fever, as it is easy to lose track of time when we're focused. I need to go out and get some skiing in. In my area (Ottawa, Ont.) happens to be located the world's longest skating rink, a few miles long to be exact. It has recently opened, or a large part of it. This is another favorite winter pastime of mine, to get out and do some serious skating.

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