Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Taming Some Quarter Sawn Sycamore

     When I first started making the boxes for a show I ordered a couple of board feet of Quarter Sawn Sycamore.  Based on the pictures from Woodworker's Source I've linked to here.  Well, the pieces didn't quite live up to what I'd expected, which is rare from them, so I've kind of let them sit in the rack.  I've had a concept for a box floating around in my head so I thought this may be just the wood for it.  Well, here's what I found when I got the wood:

Not Flat!
      The board had a definite wind to it.  If you're a regular reader to my blog you'll know that I don't have a jointer but did make my own scrub plane just for boards such as this.  If you're interested in making your own scrub plane here's a LINK to the process.  Trying to run a board with a wind in it across the table saw is a safety hazard.  It could rock as you pass it through the blade, bind, and kick back on you.  I wanted to plane the board to about 7/16" and even though the board is surfaced, running it through the planer would give me a thin board with a wind in it and that wouldn't be any good either!  As I'm writing this it crossed my mind that non-woodworkers may not know the meaning of the word "wind" and think I'm talking about the wind that gives us a bad hair day!  It took a while to find this but here's a definition of it as it refers to wood:

intransitive verb
: bendwarp
a : to have a curving course or shape : extend in curves

Let me introduce you to Winding Sticks:

See the WIND?
     These are a pair of sticks that you place on a board to locate the high and low spots or corners of it.  In the first photo you see me checking the board by laying it on a perfectly flat surface and seeing that it rocks.  With winding sticks you place them on the board and locate the high/low areas by sighting over the sticks.  Can you see that they're not parallel? To flatten these boards I'll need to plane off the high spots which requires a Scrub Plane.

Scrub Plane

     This is the one I made and love to use!  Look at those shavings -- large and coarse; they remove the wood in a hurry.  Usually you'd plane across the grain to eliminate the high areas of the board.  The little hammer you see is used to adjust the depth of cut for this plane.  The blade has a radius to it and will leave a scalloped shaped cut.  To see if the surface is flat you can use the winding sticks or else lay it on the tablesaw to see if you've gotten rid of the rocking.  If you have, the next step it using a jointer plane to remove the scalloped cut you made with the scrub plane.

Jointer Plane, #7 Stanley
     Now that one surface is flat I can run safely run the board through the planer to bring it to its required thickness.  If you don't have a planer you would scribe the required thickness all around the board and use your hand planes to get to that scribed line.  I used to have my 7th. and 8th. graders do that in our Industrial Arts classes.  Too bad those have been replaced by technology and computer oriented classes.

No comments:

Post a Comment