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Stripping Down With the Times: How Slab Wood Furniture Is Making Less The New ‘More.’

Paul Dumond
By Guest Columnist and Woodworker - Paul Dumond

Have you ever been on a guided tour of some mansion or historic building, where there are more tiny end tables and coffee tables per room than tiles on the floor?

I’m not sure whether it’s a product of fashion altering with the times, or perhaps just a way for curators to showcase every piece of furniture their estate’s famous dead, “once-upon-an-owner”
ever owned, but either way, it makes for a serious tripping hazard.

Leah Mills Image from the Sheridan Museum linked courtesy the Casper Star Tribune

No one can deny that some of these patrons of design had style whilst living and breathing, though ...

Ipe Wood for Eye Catching and Long Lasting Projects

everlasting hardwoodsIt's exciting to work with new kinds of woods. It seems we are always looking for the “ultimate” wood. One that is stable, easy to work with, long lasting, and something that is versatile and that looks great without having to be a professional “finisher”. Well ... we may have found one of those woods, AND the company that provides it ... and much more.

First of all lets talk about the wood. Ipe is actually a South American hardwood and is sometimes called Madera, Brazilian Walnut and Greenheart. Ipe is hard and dense wood which means your projects will be able to handle more wear and tear and be more resilient. The wood it'self is virtually free of knots and tends to maintain it's straight grain without too much wood movement.

Ipe is also extremely weather resistant which makes it ideal for out door projects like decking, furniture, gazebos and pergolas. Outside, Ipe stands up very well to ultraviolet light, resists rot and insects, and provides durable long lasting structures. Ipe is often slightly reddish brown in color and provides a most pleasing, rich color, which is one of it's most desirable aspects. It's truly an attractive, eye catching wood.

everlasting woods decking

The company that provides Ipe lumber, Everlasting Hardwoods, has been in business for over 40 years and are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. They can be reached toll free at 1-800-999-7616 or at www.everlastinghardwoods.com

Working with Ipe requires the same techniques as with many other dense hardwoods. Tools need to be sharp in order maintain good clean, nicely finished edges. As with ALL woods avoid dust exposure when cutting and ensure you good eye protection. All screws used for fastening parts should be pre-drilled to prevent wood cracking, and for out door use stainless steel is recommended. As with all projects for outdoor use, your joints should be snug to help minimize wood movement between the huge swings in temperature and humidity. In terms of finishing, there are a number of options, or you can simply leave the wood natural, which, if left out of doors, will allow the wood to gradually turn a very pleasing grey tone over time, and which can be later lightly sanded to restore the original wood color.

But ... there is even more ...

Hand Crafted Bowneck Slide Wood Guitars

Bowneck Slide Wood Guitars

Michael Walworth from Johns Island, South Carolina has invented an incredible C-shape style electric guitar. Taking two years of research and development to create this six string slide guitar, Walworth hopes to start selling his custom creations soon.

His top model sells for $3000, which is a steal of a deal considering each guitar uses $500 worth of material and a month of time to create.

For more information on the Bowneck Slide Guitar, you can visit Michael Walworth's site at "WALWORTH GUITARS" at: www.bowneckslide.com

Resawing on The Bandsaw

bandsawOne of the main reasons many woodworkers purchase bandsaws is because of their ability to re-saw wood. This might mean re-sawing logs to make boards (usually short boards) or re-sawing existing boards to make thinner boards for projects like small boxes where you might want a 3/8" or 1/2" board. Planing down a 3/4" board to 3/8" is a waste of good lumber and a waste of time if you have a bandsaw.

The most common bandsaw is 14 inch. With some brands you can also purchase  a height adjustment block which raises the top wheel of the bandsaw higher and therefore allows for wider cuts. If you are planning on doing a LOT of re-sawing you might want to look seriously at 16" or even 18" or larger bandsaws.

Re-sawing on a bandsaw is not difficult but it may take some practice and a bit of extra work. If your bandsaw does not have a high fence, you may want to make one out of MDF or plywood to help you in the re-sawing process. It will be important to select a proper re-sawing blade. For most saws this will be a blade with fewer teeth, of the called a "skip tooth blade".  Most re-saw blades are wide, typically, the wider the better when it comes to re-sawing. You will also need to know the length of your saw blades. There are a few different sizes and every "14" bandsaw" does NOT take the same size blade. 

During the re-saw process, you will want to have the board you are re-sawing to have a 90 degree angle on at least one edge and at least both sides to be flat and smooth. If you are making thinner boards or veneers it is often best to have the off-cut piece coming off the stock piece on the non blade-fence side. In other words the off-cut piece after it is cut should be able to fall free off the saw because it is not running between the blade and the fence.

After you have cut off the thin board or veneer you need, you will now want to run that whole stock board back through the planer to true up the face sides again. You won't need to take much off, just a skim to get the just-sawn face cleaned up. If you are making veneers and want book matching piece you will need to make sure your off-cuts or on the same side of the stock piece each time. Marking one end with a felt pen will help solve that.

Copyright - Colin Knecht
woodworkweb.com

CNC Machines for Fun and Profit

cnc machineThere is a special group of people out there who love woodworking and technology and are always looking at new ways of putting the two together ... and from that marriage came the CNC machines we have today. I remember the first time I ever heard about someone putting together a computer with a router. It was just after the first Macintosh Computer was invented. I heard a story from one of the Apple Reps, that one of the main engineers on the development of the Mac had actually used the printer port to connect to some small servo motors he had and attached his router to it and was using it for making signs and small pictures. This was the first time I had ever heard of a computer controlling a router, which is in essence, what a CNC machine is. Well , that was way back in 1985 or so and things have come a long way since then. Now we have a variety of software programs to drive the machinery and of course the CNC machines can now do much with many different axis / angles and techniques.

For woodworkers who have the time and inkling, there is a whole world out there of interesting things that can be done with CNC machines, both commercially and for one own interest and enjoyment. After all ... most of us don't make woodworking projects to re-sell, we make them for our own use, enjoyment and satisfaction.

cnc router

The real beauty of a CNC machines is that they allow the woodworker a whole new world of creativity. If you are the kind of woodworker who has trouble making a straight cut with any kind of a hand or power tool, you can still do beautiful work with a CNC machine. Your talent may be in designing a new font or implementing a new font into your CNC computer in order to make some sort of sign, or ... maybe you want make some sort of a graphic ... and use different woods like an Intarsia piece. The CNC can help you make all the pieces like a big puzzle and you can put it together int the end and finish it. The quality of the parts and how well they fit together will be your challenge on the CNC machine, and maybe that's the kind of challenge you like? No everyone is interested in cutting boards, gluing them together to make bigger planks.

CNC routers come in all sorts of different types and sizes. One of my friends has 2 of them and they pretty much take up most of his shop. One is about 4 feet square, the other is 13 feet long by about 5 feet across. It is absolutely fascinating to watch either one of them at work. What you don't see is all the computer work he needs to do ahead of time in setting up the for the cuts. Over the years he has become very proficient and using the software (once he found some software that he liked and that could do the kinds of things he wanted to with his CNC machines). He does a lot of commercial work, but he started off doing smaller pieces for himself and others and the CNC machines and the techniques blossomed into ongoing business that he just couldn't ignore.

cnc

If you have any interest in computers and like woodworking, CNC routers might be just the item to get your creative juices flowing and producing some unique and outstanding projects ... who knows where it will lead? Could be a business ... might be nothing more than a lot of fun for years to come.

Copyright - Colin Knecht
woodworkweb.com

Building A Business Around Your CNC Machine

CNC Woodworking Many woodworkers dream of making woodworking their livelihood, and many do, but there is also a whole universe of opportunity out there for part-time-woodworking jobs. I know ... in an ideal world we would all get to use our own woodworking tools and make lovely furniture and sell it for a nice profit and make a living. Sadly, reality says - this isn't going to happen to most of us - SO what are the alternatives.

One industry that I have always felt there was extra a good part-time business in, is the CNC woodworking business. For those of you who need a quick refresher, a CNC machine is nothing more than a computer controlled router. On a computer you create some sort of a graphic, like lettering for a sign for example, send that information to the router through the computer and in a while the exact same thing you input into the computer is reproduced on a piece of wood for you.

There are a number of different types of CNC machines and they have different capabilities and sizes of wood that they can accommodate, so there can be some restrictions. For example, all CNC routers will go back and forth and up and down, but some have even more control, and could for example turn the bit to 90 degrees or more to actually make three dimensional items. But all that is detail, for now we want to look at the business of creating a CNC router business.

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