Shunned at the Lumberyard
This has turned out to be one of our hottest questions, with lots of readers providing opinions and their own advice. Chris, the originator of the question, wrote back to tell us he liked Michael Dresdner’s suggestion of finding an alternate source; felt that Lee Grindinger’s response was less helpful; and Rob’s response was like a person consoling a child. He felt that all the responses had the same certain “professional” attitude that caused him to write in the first place. Larry D. Lilly has also found the help in lumberyards to be anything but helpful. The whole lumber places he found in the yellow pages, however, were a different story. He found an excellent variety of wood at one-third of the cost at a yard, got free samples, and even picked up a piece of 4 x 8 sheet of 1/4″ birch ply for free … just because it had a 2″ gash from the shipping strap.
Non-sanding Solution to Blade Burn?
According to Steven Olsen, cherry and a few other woods are simply prone to blade burn despite the best of precautions. A solution he’s come up with is to first cut the board 1/32″ or 1/64″ wider than finished size, then run the board through one more time to remove the rest. It’s quick, and there’s no burn because the small remaining amount turns to sawdust.
Though still sharp, Jim Hilson’s Forrest blade also started burning everything just after a little use because it had picked up some sap and gum. But all it took to get back to its brand-new, non-burning condition was a good cleaning!
Equipment or Design Failure?
Bill “Hickory” Simpson wanted to pass along his recent solution to a similar problem that had long plagued him. After making a circle-cutting jig for the bandsaw, he was able to make a couple of perfect circles. So far so good, but after a while, the blade began drifting, and the circles began to spiral in toward the center. First he thought the alignment was drifting and tried moving the center more forward and then back, but the problem continued until he changed the blade and noticed the cause. The sap-rich dust from some pine boards he’d cut was collecting between the blade and the rubber wheels. As the sticky dust built up on the inside of the blade, he began losing the set in the teeth and the blade began to drift outward … toward the center of the circle jig. His solution was to clean the blade with an oven cleaner. That fixed the drift, but he came up with another idea to prevent it from happening again. Now, before cutting any sap-rich woods, he covers the inside of the blade with a coating of Teflon® or cooking spray.
Turning Dry Wood
Since the original poster didn’t care for the bone-jarring experience of turning pecan, Dan suggested trying mesquite. Though tools still need to be sharp, he described the high luster that could be achieved with its “glorious” deep reds, oranges, and browns. On the downside, it’s often checked and cracked, so blanks need to come from reputable sources. Since fire ants (yikes!) are also fond of mesquite, he suggested that the initial rough out be done outdoors!