Sunday, November 15, 2009

Workshop Crawl and Wood Purchase

Went on the workshop crawl with the North Carolina Woodworker group. It was a lot of fun meeting in the flesh those with whom I've already met virtually. And we got to see six interesting shops with some very different approaches, work and methods.

My favorite, because it speaks to the way I work, was John's shop. After an episode of Fun With Tablesaw Kickback, John discovered the joy of hand work. He has turned his garage into quite an amazing workshop.

From the very Schwarzian saw bench:

to the massive logs lying around for riving (Peter's name was mentioned a time or two)

to the very nicely executed Roubo

it was definitely a shop after my own heart.

But what was really extraordinary, as you can get a hint from what was on the workbench, is the extra tool he built in order to make the posts of the bed he is building. You see one lying on the workbench,

but another is still in process.

Yes, that's a seven foot spring pole lathe. He did an amazing job of building it and it seemed to work quite well.

Overall, a very fun day.

I did leave the crawl with more than pictures. I picked up a couple of pieces of wood for very reasonable prices.

I don't have a lot of wood beyond some left over pieces of maple from the workbench, and some dimensional borg stuff, so there's not much of a wood cache to pick from. Which is ok since I'm not able to do much work anyway. But I couldn't resist these two pieces.

One is Sapele. It is 4/4 rough sawn, a little over 10" across and almost exactly 6' long. What really attracted me to it was the figure and the price.

Even with the lousy light in my shop last night and with it still being pretty rough sawn (I took the top most fuzz off with a few passes of a plane, but it's still pretty rough) you can still see the grain popping out.

One for scale on my five-foot bench (didn't even try to correct the horrible light)

And one with a flash.

This one I'm going to have to think long and hard how I want to use it.

The other board I picked up (with great difficulty, if truth be told) is a rather large piece of quarter-sawn red oak. It's about 17 inches wide, by 90 inches long. It's 5/4 rough sawn, and like the sapele, even rough sawn the grain pattern pops right through.

Here's one side:

And for a real close-up

And the other side:

And to get an idea of scale in my shop:

And here with a one-foot ruler:

The rays and flakes are more pronounced along one edge of the board and extend about half-way in. I'll have to think about how to use this. I didn't get a pair of bookmatched boards from the same tree as this piece and about the same size. I may regret not having the option of making a two-board, quarter-sawn oak table.

Regardless, it's fun to have some wood around for inspiration. Another step further along in my evolution.


  1. Great photos! A workshop after my own heart, as well. Nice score on the wood. It's as much fun thinking about how you're going to use a nice piece of wood as it is building the project.

  2. Those are a couple of beautiful pieces of lumber.

    Kari - could you please talk to my wife an explain to her that its ok to buy wood without knowing what exactly you're going to do with it ;-)


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