Preparing timber

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Peter Sefton

Wood Workers Workshop
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Threshing Barn, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcs WR8 0SN
I wanted to share a few images showing some of my timber from buying to drying and working down to size.
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I have been planing up timber in preparation for the next few months short courses. I usually go out and select my own boards and then after delivery I leave it to settle in the dry storeroom for a couple of weeks.

I have machined this down to around 4mm over it's finished size, I usually leave it in stick or stacked so air can get around it for final acclimatisation to the workshop at 9-11% MC. This process also allows any tension to be released and should help the timber stay stable in the long term.

Commercial workshops may not have the time to go through this procedure but this does help students as working with cupped or twisted timber makes life a whole lot more tricky.

Cheers

Peter
 
I wanted to share a few images showing some of my timber from buying to drying and working down to size.View attachment 127263View attachment 127264View attachment 127265View attachment 127266View attachment 127267View attachment 127268View attachment 127269View attachment 127270

I have been planing up timber in preparation for the next few months short courses. I usually go out and select my own boards and then after delivery I leave it to settle in the dry storeroom for a couple of weeks.

I have machined this down to around 4mm over it's finished size, I usually leave it in stick or stacked so air can get around it for final acclimatisation to the workshop at 9-11% MC. This process also allows any tension to be released and should help the timber stay stable in the long term.

Commercial workshops may not have the time to go through this procedure but this does help students as working with cupped or twisted timber makes life a whole lot more tricky.

Cheers

Peter
Hi Peter
where is the timber yard you sourced it from?
 
@Fitzroy English Sweet Chestnut but it is Ash in the background of the pic with the chisel in it. The Chestnut is easy to work and used on the beginners course, the Ash is for a table making course next month.

Cheers

Peter

Not done any work with Sweet Chestnut, looks lovely timber. Will have to add it to the list.
 
I got some chesnut from my brother, was nice to work with. On some bits i found odd yellow stains.... and when i first got it, i didnt check the moisture levels, it was supposed to be dry, and having just got a morticer i made a set of legs ( not pictured ). 6 months later, after being in the workshop through summer, those legs are all kinds of bent and twisted!!!! Lesson learnt
 

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Much like setting aside wood for guitars - especially if wanting to use flatsawn materials. The horizon might be a little longer, but the process much the same.

Learned the hard way that one cannot rely on well sawn or split wood and visual grain alone.
 
@Fitzroy English Sweet Chestnut but it is Ash in the background of the pic with the chisel in it. The Chestnut is easy to work and used on the beginners course, the Ash is for a table making course next month.

Cheers

Peter
Very different to the French and Italian sweet chestnut I buy regularly. Much lighter. If used outside does it drip buckets of brown tannin stain?
 
I reckon that looks like quality wood. so much easier when it's possible to use most of a plank. faults always seem to occur in the most awkward place.
I love quebec yellow pine but spend a long time cutting around giant knots.
 
I got some chesnut from my brother, was nice to work with. On some bits i found odd yellow stains.... and when i first got it, i didnt check the moisture levels, it was supposed to be dry, and having just got a morticer i made a set of legs ( not pictured ). 6 months later, after being in the workshop through summer, those legs are all kinds of bent and twisted!!!! Lesson learnt

I have seen yellow staining a couple of times, the other issue that also crops up is ring shake (splits following the annual ring) but only had it in a couple of boards. The first delivery I had for the beginners course twelve years ago bought wood worm into the workshop, this article from the old British Woodworking talks about it.

https://www.peterseftonfurnitureschool.com/media/1177/peterseftonitsabugslifearticleaug2010.pdf
 
Much like setting aside wood for guitars - especially if wanting to use flatsawn materials. The horizon might be a little longer, but the process much the same.

Learned the hard way that one cannot rely on well sawn or split wood and visual grain alone.

Flat sawn wide boards can be challenging, these X 6"x1" Ash are flat sawn and resting ready for re-machining for table tops on next months course.

Students will be planing and edge jointing 3 together (frown and smile) to keep the table tops flat.
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Note the de-humidifier to keep the workshop nice and dry.
 
Very different to the French and Italian sweet chestnut I buy regularly. Much lighter. If used outside does it drip buckets of brown tannin stain?

Not used it outside but it is said to be very durable.

The high tannin content can stain the students hands purple but soon remedied with a bit of lemon juice, which also helps find any slight cuts in your hands!
 
I reckon that looks like quality wood. so much easier when it's possible to use most of a plank. faults always seem to occur in the most awkward place.
I love quebec yellow pine but spend a long time cutting around giant knots.

The boards weren't overly wasteful, I took marking rods to try and set out as much as possible between the knots. As the pieces we are making are only small at 450mm and 850mm long and between 65mm and 100mm wide. I managed to get everything out of narrows and shorts which pleased the timber yard as most customers ask for wide and long boards, always get better pricing when you are helping the yard clear stock!

This image shows my rods for getting maximum yield from each board.

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but this does help students as working with cupped or twisted timber makes life a whole lot more tricky.
Thats protecting them from reality, I find that aspect of woodworking the biggest challenge I had moving over from metalwork and everything would be so much easier if the wood I was working with remained the same as I last left it rather than some twisted piece of artwork.
 
I got some chesnut from my brother, was nice to work with. On some bits i found odd yellow stains....
The cause of the yellow staining in oak, walnut or chestnut is reckoned by some researchers to be by “metabolization of tannic acid by the fungus Paecilomyces variotii” (Gard, 2010, p6). Here is a reference source. Slainte.
 

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