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Posts Tagged ‘custom woodworking’

Here’s One Way to Make a Cutting Board with Ipe

Friday, September 12th, 2014

basic cutting board built out of ipe decking

Sometimes, an idea for a project just jumps out at you when you see a piece of wood. That’s what happened when we brought in a small load of dimensioned ipe (ee-pay) lumber that was cut into uniform sizes of 3/4″ x 5.5″ x 72″.  I made a small bet with myself that I could make a reasonably size cutting board out of one piece of ipe. So I grabbed a piece, gave it a shot, and succeeded.

Ipe is a handsomely dark wood, especially when it’s sanded and oiled. Because the wood is so dense, hard, and resistant to weathering, the primary use of ipe is in outdoor decking. That’s also what makes it such a fine furniture wood – and it’ll make a good looking chopping block, too. When it’s sanded and oiled, the color turns to a bold brown-saturated color with hints of red and green. And the color stays dark for a long, long time. If you like dark woods, you should explore ipe.

Using our 3/4″x 5.5″ x 6′ dimensioned ipe boards, here’s how you could make a cutting board:

Step 1

Starting with a piece of 3/4″ x 5.5″ x 6′ ipe, send the 6-foot length through a thickness planer or drum sander, just graze the surface to clean it up.

Cut the board into 3 equal lengths, approximately 18″. Working with these shorter lengths is a little easier to control in the next step.

ipe-decking-boards

Step 2

Rip each of the three pieces into strips 1-1/8″ wide. You’ll get four pieces from each length of ipe.

Table Saw Tip: Be aware that ipe is very hard, but with a decent carbide-tooth table saw blade that’s designed for ripping, ipe cuts smoothly and with very little resistance. A 10″ ripping blade most often has between 24 and 30 teeth, deep gullets, and the carbide teeth will have a flat top grind and be raked at 20 to 22 degrees. 

 

 ipe-decking-strips

Step 3

Prepare to glue up the strips into a panel. Rotate the strips onto their edge. This forces the rings of annual growth to run more or less perpendicular to the face and back of the cutting board, resulting in a more stable product.

If the strips were recently planed or sanded, ipe will accept wood glue. Use Titebond III to take advantage of the longer working time the glue offers.

 ipe-decking-strips2

Step 4

Clamp the strips.

Once the panel is dry, use a planer or a drum sander to flatten the face and the back. This will determine the final thickness, but a precise final thickness is not important. It may finish out to 7/8″ or thicker.

Glue-up Tip: When the glue sets up, but before it’s dry, use a glue scraper to clean off the squeeze-out. For the most part, the glue will peel off in long strips. It’s easier in the long run to clean up the squeezed-out glue before it’s hardened.

 ipe-cutting-board-glued

Step 5

Trim to length. On the table saw or with a track saw, crosscut the ends of the block so they’re square to the edges and so that the board is sized to a length you like. In this case, the cutting board ended up a little over 17″ long.

 ipe-cutting-boards-trim

Step 6

Optional. Soften the corners with a radius. The bottom of an aerosol can makes the perfect radius. Trace it onto the cutting board, then cut it on the bandsaw and sand it smooth on the disc sander.

 ipe-cutting-boards-radius

Step 7

Add a 3/8″ round over along the top edge.

Once again, despite ipe’s hardness, it actually routs quite easily.

 ipe-cutting-boards-routing

Step 8

Sand the cutting board. No need to sand any finer than 120 grit.

Coat it in a block oil, a simple wipe on and off procedure.

 ipe-cutting-boards-001

Other Ideas

You can also get more creative. As an example, a couple of thin strips of hard white maple added to the ipe makes the cutting board a little wider while giving it a new look.

ipe-cutting-boards

3 Great Ways to Hide Sapwood in Walnut

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Even colored walnut lumber

Look close. This piece of walnut is not only finished with a clear lacquer but the light colored sapwood has been evened out to nearly match the heartwood. Woodworking with walnut today means dealing with the sapwood. Here are 3 ways.

Few people approve of pale sapwood in their walnut lumber,  but in the words of  Jim, a salesman at one of our faithful walnut suppliers back east, “When people ask me for a 100% heartwood face in walnut, I just tell them they’re dreaming.” You may be tired of hearing that sapwood isn’t considered a defect when it comes to grading lumber, however it is an industry fact. Lumber grade is a mathematical computation of the amount of clear wood in a board – so says the National Hardwood Lumber Association, the organization responsible for defining the rules of the lumber trade.

“But it’s a defect to me,” says the woodworker.

So what’s a woodworker to do? Fortunately, lumber producers separate their walnut inventory not just by grade but also by color. The good news is 100% heartwood walnut can be had; the bad news is few can afford it. For the most part, about the best balance between color, cost, availability is called 90/70 heart: that means 90% heartwood on the face, 70% heartwood on the back. Remember, lumber has two broad sides, a face and a back, and when building furniture and cabinetry, only one side is displayed in the final product.

Sure, it’s possible to find some 100% heartwood boards from time to time, but on a consistent basis and in large quantities? Not really. And therefore, when you visit your nearest lumber supplier, you’ll never have a perfect pile of full brown walnut to select from. Full heartwood boards are the exception to the rule, so it’s time to look at how woodworkers are using walnut in today’s woodworking.

You’ll find a number of discussions and blogs about this topic, and a good one in particular is this found at Lumber Jocks, www.lumberjocks.com/topics/10565, which discusses three ways woodworkers overcome sapwood.

3 Ways to Deal with Sapwood in Walnut:

  1. Cut sapwood off, and/or hide the sapwood on parts that will not be seen frequently
  2. Live with sapwood in your finished project
  3. Use a dyeing and staining process to make the color even

Those first two are straightforward.

Dyeing and staining needs some explanation, though. Since you’re not going to be able to go the woodworking store and buy a bottle of Sapwood Hider right off the shelf – alas, no such miracle exists – there are a couple of steps involved, but they’re easy.

Walnut board

Walnut board clearly shows a sapwood edge until the piece is dyed, sealed, stained, and finished. A saw kerf line separates the two sections.

For this method, we’re specifically talking about dye and there are a number of dyes on the market, usually mixed with water or denatured alcohol. Dye is different from stain, as dye doesn’t obscure the grain, which is pretty important when using walnut.

The basics:

1. Apply a very diluted dye in a color of your choice to the entire piece, heartwood and sapwood. The dye used in the pictures here is Behlen Solar-Lux™ medium brown walnut color. Solar-Lux™ is UV resistant and fade resistant, which is great because when walnut is left natural, it eventually turns very tan. Walnut ought to be dyed or stained anyway to retain a pleasing color. Note: Medium brown walnut Solar-Lux™ dye will appear orange when you apply it, but that’s okay. The next steps will bring the color back to dark brown.

2. Seal the wood with a light coat of sanding sealer or shellac. This needs to be thin to allow for the next step to have some effect.

3. Apply an oil-based stain on top of the sealer. Wipe it on, wipe it off. This adds a touch of pigment to the pores equally to you get a consistent color across the board.

4. Apply your clear finish of choice. Varnish, lacquer, etc.

It should go without saying that you should always test your dye process on a few test pieces before committing the dye to your final product. You’ll need to test different dilution ratios of your dye before you get the color you want.

Dyeing walnut is not very difficult, but it will take some time. However, you’ll greatly increase your yield of wood and you’ll make the beautiful walnut color last much, much longer than you would if if were to leave the wood natural.

Sapwood stripe along the edge of a walnut board

This part of the board is finished with just a clear coat of Zinsser Sealcoat and lacquer. The sapwood strip stands out. Eventually the color of this board will lighten.

Closer, showing the change in sapwood color

Closer, you can make out where the sapwood is nicely colored and very nearly matches the heartwood color thanks to the dye process

Even colored walnut lumber

The end result is a pleasing walnut color that will last a lifetime.

Fine Woodworking Contest: Build a Small Table for a Chance to Win Woodworking Tools & Supplies

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Register for the Contest Now:

Bookings no longer allowed on this date.


There are 147 people registered so far!

Project Deadline: Saturday Mar 1, 2014
Prizes Awarded: Friday Mar 7, 2014
No fee to enter!
Fill out the submission Entry Form and bring it with you when you deliver your table

It’s time for a woodworking contest, folks. In the past, we’ve hosted woodworking competitions in which you made decorative boxes. Usually we assembled a package of materials that you had to use and then we established a maximum size all for sake of “creative tension” — and then set you free to make amazing boxes. And that you did.

This contest is a little bit different. We want to highlight fine furniture making, and then use the entries in a curated art exhibit to show the world at large the joy of hand crafted furniture, and that there are many, many talented woodworkers who build amazing projects.

So, are you sitting down? Here’s the task: make a table. Make one of any style or shape. The only constraint is that it can’t be any larger than 32″ in height, width or length.

We’ll have numerous prizes, the 1st Prize being a $500 package of woodworking tools/supplies. See more below.

Enter the contest in 2 easy steps:

  1. Register (it’s free)
  2. Deliver a table on March 1 (You’ll get $50 store credit)

All the details are below, which should answer your questions. If not, post your questions in the comments at the end. Key dates to know:

  • Saturday March 1, 2014: Project due, receive a $50 store credit, judging begins
  • Friday March 7, 2014: Awards announced
  • March-Arpil 2014: Public art exhibit of selected tables

Project Definition

This woodworking competition will focus on small occasional tables only. Build a table of any design or style you prefer. The table can be a night stand, end table, hall table, coffee table, plant stand, candle stand, tilt top, nested, rectangular, square, oval, round, or any other shape or style. The only constraint is that it must be small, which we define as no dimension (overall length, width or height) larger than 32” or smaller than 10”.

Your table is yours to keep. However, for one week in March all the tables will be at our corporate office for judging. See more below.

See sample tables and Rules and Guidelines at the bottom.

Prizes and Contest Winners

A panel of judges will examine the entries, score them, and determine winners based on a number of criteria. The top winning entries will demonstrate attention to detail as well as good execution. Additionally, there will be public voting for a “People’s Choice Award.” Winners will receive prizes in the form of woodworking tools and supplies, you can see the specific prizes here.

  • First Prize: tool package worth $800
  • Second Prize: tool package worth $575
  • Third Prize: tool package worth $400
  • “People’s Choice” award: tool package worth $275
  • Several Honorable Mention prizes for various aspects of woodworking (such as Best Joinery, Best Use of Stain or Dye, etc) that will be determined at the time of judging.  Prizes valued between $20 and $50

The winners will be announced on March 7, and the prizes will be awarded. Results with a full gallery will be posted on our website.

Current Sponsors Providing Awards and Prizes:

jetkregFestool

bora tooltenryujohnson-level BESSEY_small Trend_Logotaunton_logoBlock WM Logotajima

 

Register for the Contest

This is a free contest, there’s no cost to enter. You don’t need to be a professional or an expert to enter a table into the contest. But we do ask that you register, so please fill out the form at the top of the page to register. You may enter as many as 3 tables.

Enter Your Table(s), Get a $50 Credit

Deliver your table(s) to the Woodworkers Source corporate office in Scottsdale (map) on March 1 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Your table will remain with us until March 7 when the awards are announced. 10 selected tables will be placed in a public (and protected) art exhibit for a period of time (details to be determined) and we will have all tables photographed for the purposes of sharing in an online gallery, submission to woodworking magazines, and other forms of woodworking promotion.

If you need to deliver it sooner, please notify us to make proper arrangements. No late entries.
You will pick up your table on March 7 or after.

You will receive a $50 credit to use in our store just like cash. You can enter up to 3 tables, but the store credit is per person who enters a table, not per table.

There will be an entry form to fill out once your table is completed in which you’ll describe your table, your inspiration, your process, the woods you used and take credit for any details you’re particularly proud of; these should be things that will be helpful for the judges to know about when considering your table. For example, your choice of joinery, jigging you needed to figure out, your finishing process, etc. Anything that demonstrates how much effort and thought you put into your project. Be sure to keep record of these things as you plan and build your project.

Public Art Exhibit

You will keep your table. However, selected tables will be in a special public art exhibit (final location to be determined), so we do ask that you be willing to let your table be on display for an extended period of time, from 30 to 60 days. The display will celebrate your work in a public venue to give you credit for a job well done and to draw attention to the joy of fine woodworking that Arizona woodworkers take pride in.

 


Rules and Guidelines

How to Submit Your Table

  1. Register for the contest using the form at the top of the page
  2. Deliver your table to the Woodworkers Source Corporate office on March 1, 2014 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. 5111 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 206, Scottsdale, AZ 85250 (map). You can deliver your table earlier.
  3. Pick up your table on March 7th or after

If you’re in the Tucson area, you can simply deliver and pick up your table at our Tucson store. We’ll arrange transport to and from Scottsdale for the judging and public display.

Table entries must be made in person either to our Scottsdale office or Tucson store. We won’t be able to accommodate crating and shipping individual tables that are shipped in from other parts of the country for this contest.

Your table is yours to keep after the contest. Judges will be using the week between March 1 and March 7 to make their selections. You may pick up your table after March 7.

Definition of a Table

A table has a flat, horizontal upper surface and because tables typically have a practical purpose for displaying or supporting other items, the upper horizontal surface must also have some method to support it at its intended height; usually legs or a pedestal. Build a table of any design or style you prefer. The table can be a night stand, end table, hall table, coffee table, plant stand, candle stand, tilt top, nested, rectangular, square, oval, round, or any other shape or style. The only constraint is that it must be small, which we define as no dimension (overall length, width or height) larger than 32” or smaller than 10”.

Materials to Use

This is a contest in which we want to see the beauty of wood. So you may use any wood materials you’d like. Your choice of wood can be domestic or exotic; it can be one wood or several types of wood. You can use solid lumber or veneer.

You do not need to buy your wood from Woodworkers Source in order to enter the contest.

Glass, tile, metal, stone, etc. are acceptable if they’re used in small amounts or for accent, but we want to see wood as the focus. Keep in mind that the tables will be judged on the various aspects of woodworking; while a rusty steel base or a polished granite slab top might be interesting, they don’t necessarily showcase woodworking skills. A winning table will largely be a woodworking project.

Design Considerations

There is no constraint on the design or style unless it is outside of the minimum or maximum sizes. A table should be no larger than 32” and no smaller than 10” in length, width or height. A table can have any number of legs you see fit. It can have a drawer(s), a shelf, or cabinet if you like. For judging, the design complexity and appearance is secondary to how well you execute it; so spend your time and effort on a crafting well-made table rather than an elaborate one. For ideas, see the photos of sample tables on the next page.

Finishing

A winning table will have a fabulous finish. You can use any finishing process; you can use stains, dyes, glazes or any clear wood finish you want. We encourage you give your table the best impression with a well-done finish. Start your table sooner rather than later to allow yourself plenty of time to get a good finish. It takes time for finishing and staining products to dry between coats, and it takes time to work your finish to a classy sheen. Give yourself time to do it well.

Need Ideas? Here Are Sample Small Tables from our Customer Gallery