Monday, June 8, 2015

Chair Build Day 2

The big white oak, as you can see it has begun to split by itself.
Above is the oak log that has been residing by my garage for what I have determined is almost two years.  I recruited my future son-in-law to split the white oak into a few manageable pieces for me. When I went out to make it accessible, and take the picture, I was happy to uncover previously split and rived pieces.  You can see them between the log and the wall.

Previously split and rived pieces I uncovered.
While I was unsure what the moisture content of the log would be I was certain that the previously split pieces would be too dry to work with.  I used my froe and rived the largest piece in two and then took a moisture reading from the freshly opened face. As I had suspected the wood was fairly dry, the meter read 18%.

Shavehorse doing double duty as a saw bench.
I cut the pieces for the arm/bow and spindles to their rough length and then using my froe and riving brake rived the pieces to rough size.  Click here to see a video of Curtis Buchanan demonstrating how a froe and riving brake are used.

Enough roughed out parts for uppers of three kids Sack Back Windsors plus some spare spindles.  The pile on the far left is the only waste from the riving process.  

Two arm/bow pieces with a bit of curve in the grain.
Two of the arm/bow rivings had some grain that was a little curvy.  I am not overly concerned with this.  I will carve these pieces following the grain, which will provide me with strong pieces.   Because I will have followed the long wood fibers the piece may not be straight, but it will provide me with the best chance for a successful bend.

Since the moisture reading was 18% I decided I was going to soak these pieces in water for a few days before working with them.  I want to give myself the best chance at making successful bends.  I also want to see, if after rehydrating, the spindle pieces are any easier to carve than they would be at 18% EMC.  After 3-4 days I will remove one of the largest and smallest pieces and take more readings.  If I am able to get a spindle to 25% I will carve it and see how the piece responds.  I am hopeful to get the arm/bow pieces to at least 50%.  I don't know this is all an experiment on my part. I will be posting my not so scientific findings when I find them.


Pieces ready to be rehydrated in a freshly cleaned trash container.

I followed Pete Galbert's advice and sealed the ends of every piece with Anchor Seal.  After allowing them to dry for a few hours I placed all of the pieces into the trash container and filled it with water. As luck would have it I discovered a few holes in my rehydration device.  I have since sealed them with silicone and am waiting on it to dry while I make this post.

One problem, which I'm sure you have already figured out, is wood is buoyant and will not stay submerged unless it is weighted down.  I did think of this however, I figured I would "stir" the pieces every day, hopefully entrapping the floaters under the already submerged pieces, causing them to become floaters.  I did put a clamp on the hinged lid so as to keep a family member from blindly tossing a bag of garbage into my floating punji sticks resulting in something very nasty.


~ Ray Schwanenberger