Saturday, June 25, 2011

Can You Smell It?

     The weather has cooled down some today (relatively speaking) and peaked out at 99 in the shop.  That gave me a good long work afternoon.  In my last post I showed all of the pieces that are rough cut for the traditional table with the marble top.  I'm also working on a set of three tables that will nest together and almost take on the characteristic of a modern art installation.  When they're not nested they can be used in the living room as side tables when we have company as a place to put drinks, snacks, etc.  
     So what's with the title of this post and smells?  Most woods have a distinctive aroma when they are worked, think of cedar -- that's one most everyone is familiar with.  Here's a look at what I was lucky enough to smell all afternoon:

Here you see piles of Walnut shavings created as I prepared the edge of each piece.  The smell of freshly cut Walnut is really pretty sweet.  So satisfying to work the rough cut edge from the Walnut, making it smooth and square with my old Stanley #7 Jointer Plane.  Once the working edge is established the board is run  through the table saw at it's rough width, then the other edge is planed square.
Whenever a pile of shavings are created it reminds me of how Jennifer would use them to create paper bag people.  We'd draw a face on the bag and she would glue on hair, beard, eyebrows, etc.; a really good memory!
There's only one slight problem with this project and that's the Zebrawood that will be used as the insert for these tables.  It's darn near impossible to plane smooth, even by hand!  I may need to revert to a disc sander for this project.  I did some research on line to see the working properties of Zebrawood and everyone mentions how difficult it is to plane or even scrape.  Also the instability issues in dry climates is another challenge.  You can see them on the bench on the right side of the picture.  Years ago I did a console table that was also made of Walnut with an inlaid top of Zebrawood and that particular piece worked much better, matter of fact that table sold at a gallery I was in at the time in Scottsdale.  Can't always be lucky, besides; problems create strength!

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