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Beech chopping board advice

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Herman

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Hi,

I have loads of beech, oak and cheery. Logs, trunks etc.. So I thought I would do something with it.

I plan to start very small and just use the router to make a beech chopping board but I was hoping to get some helpful advice.

What age wood do I use? And if it's very well seasoned how do i cope with all the tiny fine cracks from drying out?

Also any advice on the type of cut for best look / durability? I could just go across the grain or rip cut lengthwise, or diagonal or I could even go through a large join where 2 boughs fork maybe that would look good.... etc...

Any help much appreciated.

Thank you.
 

MikeG.

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Properly dried (seasoned) timber won't have fine cracks. Have you planked these logs and left them in stick to dry?
 

Herman

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No - and this underlines why I need to seek advice...

They have just sat whole under a large lean-to outside for a couple or years.
 

John Brown

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End grain choppimg boards are the norm. The knife cuts don't cut through the fibres that way, merely separating them like a dart in a traditional dattboard.
I'm not sure I'd want to use beech, though. I have a beech worktop, finished in Osmo top oil, and it's a nightmare. If anyone leaves a pool of water the staves swell up overnight. I've had oak, and even birch worktops which were fine. Jusr my experience, I'm not a wood expert...
 

MikeG.

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Herman":c6pyk9lq said:
No - and this underlines why I need to seek advice...

They have just sat whole under a large lean-to outside for a couple or years.
In which case, how do you plan to convert the logs into something usable for woodworking?
 

MikeG.

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John Brown":odv9u41c said:
End grain choppimg boards are the norm. The knife cuts don't cut through the fibres that way, merely separating them like a dart in a traditional dattboard.
I'm not sure I'd want to use beech, though. I have a beech worktop, finished in Osmo top oil, and it's a nightmare. If anyone leaves a pool of water the staves swell up overnight. I've had oak, and even birch worktops which were fine. Jusr my experience, I'm not a wood expert...
Beech makes the very best chopping boards. IMO, of course.
 

Herman

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Well I 'was' going to simply go through it with the chainsaw about 70mm thick, flatten it with the sled down to about 50mm , trim / smooth the edges in a way that takes my fancy and oil it.....
 

MikeG.

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No, no, no....... :lol:

When they're sliced into rough sawn boards, they'll need to be dried. This takes about one year per inch of thickness, so if you cut them to 70mm (not a useful size, BTW), then you'll have to stack them (with "sticks" separating each board) for 3 years before you can do anything with them. Sensibly, you'd cut some to about 30mm, and some to about 55mm, so that you can end up with inch and 2" boards in a couple of years time, but your chances of success using a chainsaw are pretty slender (and besides, the wastage is enormous). You also have to seal the ends of the logs before you start drying, otherwise you'll get splitting at the ends as they dry.

If it were me, I'd look for a local sawmill and take the logs to them. There is more to planking logs than you'd think.
 

John Brown

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MikeG.":3akltkeg said:
John Brown":3akltkeg said:
End grain choppimg boards are the norm. The knife cuts don't cut through the fibres that way, merely separating them like a dart in a traditional dattboard.
I'm not sure I'd want to use beech, though. I have a beech worktop, finished in Osmo top oil, and it's a nightmare. If anyone leaves a pool of water the staves swell up overnight. I've had oak, and even birch worktops which were fine. Jusr my experience, I'm not a wood expert...
Beech makes the very best chopping boards. IMO, of course.
As I said, I'm no expert. I made a couple of endgrain oak ones over ten years ago which are still going strong, but the beech on my worktop would have opened up half the glue lines after a month. Maybe it's a crappy worktop.
I though Sycamore was prized for it's antibacterial properties.
 

guineafowl21

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Herman":1xwudcw6 said:
Well I 'was' going to simply go through it with the chainsaw about 70mm thick, flatten it with the sled down to about 50mm , trim / smooth the edges in a way that takes my fancy and oil it.....
I did this many years ago, probably my first woodworking. While cutting firewood, I saw a big log I fancied and cut it lengthways about 65mm thick. The resulting board, with two live edges (bark) was planed true and pressed into service as a chopping board straight away. It got a couple of coats of veg oil, and nothing since. That board gets abused - in the dishwasher, or washed up and dried on the stove, chopped into with cleavers... It warped a bit initially, but got planed flat again. No splits. It’s some sort of pine.

You know what everyone says when they see it? “Oooh, I like your big, thick chopping board with the bark on - can you make me one?” It’s about 8 years old.

So I get your idea of having a go with those logs. Don’t try to cut right across or along the grain with the chainsaw - go at an angle such that the teeth are going with the grain. The saw will produce ribbons of wood. Have the log roped up to a workbench.

Now, I’ve been on the internet for some time. I know the next thing to say, having mentioned the word ‘chainsaw’, is this:

“Ohmegod chainsaw! Kickback! You should NEVER use a chainsaw with... without... In fact, just never use one. Don’t even look at them and never speak of them again.”

Hold the log steady, the (sharp) saw firmly, keep your wits about you and don’t touch the top of the bar tip to the wood. 95% of chainsaw safety in one sentence, and not a whiff of internet hysteria.
 

Herman

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Great thanks all.

I am an experienced chainsaw user for many years so I am happy that I'm going to keep all my limbs. Plus I've got a limitless supply of all the wood so a little bit of wastage isn't going to bother me - must be 4 tons of beech alone.

Sure I've got a large can of OSMO Polyx oil in the back of the shed so that will do for the sealant.

I think I will make some cuts and see how it goes and see what I like. I do think I will get the router on the edges though.

As you say if one warps then I can just flatten it again - or even enjoy making a new one.
 

D_W

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John Brown":256kgw2m said:
MikeG.":256kgw2m said:
John Brown":256kgw2m said:
End grain choppimg boards are the norm. The knife cuts don't cut through the fibres that way, merely separating them like a dart in a traditional dattboard.
I'm not sure I'd want to use beech, though. I have a beech worktop, finished in Osmo top oil, and it's a nightmare. If anyone leaves a pool of water the staves swell up overnight. I've had oak, and even birch worktops which were fine. Jusr my experience, I'm not a wood expert...
Beech makes the very best chopping boards. IMO, of course.
As I said, I'm no expert. I made a couple of endgrain oak ones over ten years ago which are still going strong, but the beech on my worktop would have opened up half the glue lines after a month. Maybe it's a crappy worktop.
I though Sycamore was prized for it's antibacterial properties.
beech can dry exceedingly fast, and probably is problematic because of it. The year per inch of thickness rule is general, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that beech dries four times as fast, but the speed of drying also causes differential problems (cracking), and even kiln dried beech unfinished will check, sometimes years after it was dried. Not sure of the humidity changes over there, but here the swings are extreme between winter and summer. I've got five year old billets that can be trouble after a single night of 0 degree temperatures outside (that's 0 F here in the states). The ends of all of mine are sealed, but they can side check even at that age. It's exceptionally good at passing water through itself, sometimes with exceptionally bad results.

when I've made long planes from it and wished they were heavier, I've blocked the mouth and filled the plane mortise with linseed oil. It takes less than a night's worth of hours for the oil to appear 12 inches away weeping out of the end grain. If the billet isn't perfectly sawn and there is runout, it will weep out of the billet wherever the grain runs out.
 

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