removable mouldable material? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-09-2017, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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removable mouldable material?

This might not be relevant to most of you, but I thought I'd ask anyways.

I like to work with rough boards and maintain their irregularities and imperfections throughout the building process. This makes it difficult to perform certain operations accurately because there's no such thing as a straight, square, or flat on these boards, and I don't want to mill away the original surfaces to make them so. For example I just made a table stretcher with long tennons on each end, and it was difficult to cut the tennons in-line with each other because the stretcher is crooked, twisted, and cupped. I had to eyeball it, and let's just say my eyes aren't that accurate!

So I thought, what if I could mold something that would harden like clay around parts of the boards to provide more practical "reference" surfaces to use while processing, and then peel the material off before finishing.

Has anyone heard of this being done before, or have suggestions for a product/process?
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-09-2017, 05:42 PM
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precision machining "rough" lumber

Interesting concept, but it crosses two disciplines, hand tools vs machine tools. On a rough sawn twisted board there is no reference surface like on one that has been milled and squared up, so you will have some issues. I don't think that artificially filling and leveling a surface to get a smooth and square reference surface would be my solution, however.

When dealing with rough sawn boards, the visual senses are used more because there is no reference plane that can be assumed to be parallel and in line with the first set of lines. You have to transfer them visually not mechanically down to the other end of the board and duplicate them. There are devices like hand levels, strings, winding sticks and even scabbing on a level board that will help.


It's part of the challenge and the joy of working with hand tools and rough sawn lumber that "wood machinists" don't get to deal with or have to deal with depending on your point of view. Instead of dealing with the twists and curves we just machine them off until they are no longer an issue, making the board shorter and smaller. But since wood moves in spite of man's best intentions a twist can "reappear" causing unexpected problems..... just deal with them and move on..... shave little off here ....., force the twist back the other way , etc.

I have no instant cure for your issue, except Bondo, an automotive self hardening body filler, but I am opposed to that in principle.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-09-2017, 05:49 PM
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Just a thought, what about joint compound? Then when you're done, just hose it off.
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-09-2017, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertsp View Post
This might not be relevant to most of you, but I thought I'd ask anyways.

I like to work with rough boards and maintain their irregularities and imperfections throughout the building process. This makes it difficult to perform certain operations accurately because there's no such thing as a straight, square, or flat on these boards, and I don't want to mill away the original surfaces to make them so. For example I just made a table stretcher with long tennons on each end, and it was difficult to cut the tennons in-line with each other because the stretcher is crooked, twisted, and cupped. I had to eyeball it, and let's just say my eyes aren't that accurate!

So I thought, what if I could mold something that would harden like clay around parts of the boards to provide more practical "reference" surfaces to use while processing, and then peel the material off before finishing.

Has anyone heard of this being done before, or have suggestions for a product/process?
You would be better off building a cradle to hold your material to machine it. The twisted board could be shimmed and clamped so it sits the way it will be put in the project.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-10-2017, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Great responses, it's interesting to hear the more philosophical differences between machine and hand tooling. I can see how with rough wood a different type of precision comes into play. Not necessarily that less precision is tolerated, but more irregularity might be. I need to come to terms with this while also developing the ability to "read" the wood.

I hadn't thought of bondo or plaster. Probably what I'd do is coat the rough wood with a release compound (shellac?) before applying this stuff. It would have to be applied in a mold.

Steve, your idea is probably the most realistic. I could probably create some reusable fixtures where boards can be clamped into them with shims. Having those ready to go would encourage their use, whereas now I get impatient and try to clamp and shim against my work surface. The problem with this is that every time I go to move the board and need to reclamp/shim the alignment ends up slightly different. Fixtures would avoid that problem.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-10-2017, 06:55 AM
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the need would change with each cut and each job, so you may have to tailor your method for each. what comes to mind would be to attach a straight board with screws and reference off that. then fill the holes when done.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-10-2017, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertsp View Post
Great responses, it's interesting to hear the more philosophical differences between machine and hand tooling. I can see how with rough wood a different type of precision comes into play. Not necessarily that less precision is tolerated, but more irregularity might be. I need to come to terms with this while also developing the ability to "read" the wood.

I hadn't thought of bondo or plaster. Probably what I'd do is coat the rough wood with a release compound (shellac?) before applying this stuff. It would have to be applied in a mold.

Steve, your idea is probably the most realistic. I could probably create some reusable fixtures where boards can be clamped into them with shims. Having those ready to go would encourage their use, whereas now I get impatient and try to clamp and shim against my work surface. The problem with this is that every time I go to move the board and need to reclamp/shim the alignment ends up slightly different. Fixtures would avoid that problem.
Yea, it would be a pain to construct a jig for each joint you make with a warped or twisted board. That is why the rest of us flatten and true wood before building with it.

As far as doing tenon work you could make a router sled like people use to flatten lumber to machine one side of the tenon. Then turn the board over to machine the other side.
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-13-2017, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TimPa View Post
the need would change with each cut and each job, so you may have to tailor your method for each. what comes to mind would be to attach a straight board with screws and reference off that. then fill the holes when done.
That's a much better idea than coating the board with goop (and trying to remove it all later)!
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