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Thread: Working with rough condition slab - Need advice

  1. #1

    Working with rough condition slab - Need advice

    Canyon Oak.jpg
    So I was going camping last weekend and ran across a small sawmill with slabs displayed outfront. Of course I fell in love with the one in bad shape... a piece of what they called Canyon Oak or Live Oak. It is in very rough shape...lots of checking, bug holes, splintering. I have absolutely no experience using wood like this and was hoping to get some advice. Going to be an entry table.

    My plan is to....
    - Plane the two faces with a standard slab / router jig...currently 3" .... need to get down to at least 2.5" to make it not look top heavy. (and hopefully get to more stable wood)
    - Then I am going to apply Total Boat Penetrating Epoxy, thinned out as much as possible. Soak as much as possible into wood.
    - Then rip the edges of the board and trim the ends, idea being that the epoxy will keep the edges from splintering
    - Penetrating Epoxy over the new cuts
    - Epifanes Varnish over the sanded epoxy

    Smaller piece basically the same procedure...but I will soak with epoxy to stablize then cut off 3/8 " veneers for drawer fronts

  2. #2
    I posted a build in the projects forum of a walnut credenza. There are a couple of photos showing how I stabilize lumber with character. It's a little more involved than just filling with epoxy. https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....alnut-Credenza

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Do most of the work on this oak before you build any other part of the table. You might find your plans change depending on what the oak lets you do.

  4. #4
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    Dean it sounds like you know what you're doing. Just like with any wood, you'll get a feel for how it machines once you begin. I've found live oak to be often extremely hard, but it can look wonderful.
    Post some photos when you get somewhere with this.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Thanks for the info

  6. #6
    Good point....was actually my plan....I have no idea what the thickness will end up being

  7. #7
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    Dean, what you're going to do first is test the moisture content... But you knew that! This is especially important for "backyard wood sellers" offering up slabs that are quite often pretty darn green, if not sopping wet. There's no harm in surfacing it toward where you want the thickness to be (taking the same amount from both sides as much as possible), but don't move forward with final surfacing and the resin work until the material is down in the 10-13% MC at least.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
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    I'm watching this thread for my education. Would there be wisdom in sealing the ends before starting with the work Jim Becker mentions above? If the MC is already at the 10-13% level would that not even be a consideration? Thanks!!
    earl

  9. #9
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    Be careful with that CPES...its nasty stuff and it'll rot your lungs without ventilation!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Earl McLain View Post
    I'm watching this thread for my education. Would there be wisdom in sealing the ends before starting with the work Jim Becker mentions above? If the MC is already at the 10-13% level would that not even be a consideration? Thanks!!
    earl
    The wood is bone dry....I think they cut it out of a tree that has been down for a while. I think I am going to fill checks on the side of the board for stability before I start machining the faces

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by James Jayko View Post
    Be careful with that CPES...its nasty stuff and it'll rot your lungs without ventilation!
    I read that...that is why I am going with the Total Boat version that has no VOCs.

  12. #12
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    Total Boat has some really nice products...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Dean, what you're going to do first is test the moisture content... But you knew that! This is especially important for "backyard wood sellers" offering up slabs that are quite often pretty darn green, if not sopping wet. There's no harm in surfacing it toward where you want the thickness to be (taking the same amount from both sides as much as possible), but don't move forward with final surfacing and the resin work until the material is down in the 10-13% MC at least.
    Jim
    You reminded me that I need to get a moisture meter.
    Five years ago I bought into two walnut trunks that have been milled to 2" thick slabs. I have stacked, stickered, and banded them since I got them home.
    I think it's time to do some walnut projects.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  14. #14
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    Hi Dean
    You may machine a lot of character off that piece. Maybe just wire brush it and varnish.

  15. #15
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    Agree, start with the worst side and try simple things first.

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