Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Walnut Dresser: Lumber Picking

    Today I spent an hour and a half in the barn going through the walnut I had selected from the wood pile outside. I had purchased this lumber from the Indiana State Fair last year for a pretty decent price. Most of it was left overs that no one wanted. Now I can see why. After running the boards through my planer and removing just enough to see the grain past the coarse marks left by the vintage saw mill at the State Fair I saw a lot of knots, reversing grain, and sap wood. Not to mention a whole lotta checking and other cracks here and there. Now, I'm not very experienced when it comes to woodworking and doubly so when it comes to wood picking. What did I know? Lumber is lumber, right? But when I think about the price I paid it was still a pretty good deal.
    Here I am in the barn wood shop. This is where I keep all of my power tools and where I fight the seemingly constant battle between metal and rust. I'm using my Rigid planer which I have been very happy with. It's connected to a Harbor Freight collector which, for the price, I have also been very happy with. I had intended on planing only enough to be able to see the grain but the thickness varied by a quarter inch in some cases. I just put in new knives so all went well.

    After planing the boards and looking at both sides I laid them out on the floor. Today I'm looking for what I will use for the carcass sides and top and bottom. A cheaper or "secondary" wood like poplar or pine would normally be used for the bottom, back and interior parts which do not show. I don't have a lot of poplar and what I have cost more than the walnut, so I'll probably use walnut for most everything else except for the drawers.

    So here's my plan so far. I'm going to pick the boards I want for each side, taking grain patterns and color into consideration. Then I'll cut the pieces to length just adding a few inches. Since this project will probably move at a snail's pace I'll store the parts in the cottage workshop to dry out a bit more until I can get around to properly flattening each piece, gluing them up, and then get down to the dovetails.
    Well the family is home and we're going out to the in-laws for a cookout and Beatles Rock Band!




JERM said...

I recently moved from the desert of CA to the humidity of the Pacific NW. Rust is now a concern. So far I have had good luck with using CorrosionX. I have had no no issues with it leaving residue on any of my projects. I ordered the aerosol and coated everything tool I own and used only a 1/4 of the 16oz can.

Good idea bringing the lumber into the cottage to dry further. Make sure you sticker the boards to help control the warping. Also if the boards are going to set for a while after you cut them to rough length I would seal the ends of each board. This will also help control warping and checking.

Richard Magbanua said...

Well, three days later and they are still in the barn. When I do finally get them cut to rough length, into the cottage and stacked any warping may determine if they get planed to 7/8" or 3/4". Gotta wait and see. I need to look at moisture meters still...