Simulating a 200 year old slab - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-14-2019, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Simulating a 200 year old slab

I don't want to give the impression that I'm so advanced that THIS is what's on my radar.. I'm still figuring out which tree has something interesting inside it, and why I can't use a 37$ band saw and my own hands to cut in the direction my brain says to cut.

I would like someone to show me a tabletop that simulates a single slice, but it's not a single slice, or give technical advice on such an endeavor.

Not just seamless joinery, but assembled such that a Sawyer would do a double take at least.

I'm trying to plan this. I've been collecting pieces for the attempt.. I think my planned technique will have good results but I would like a sanity check please.
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-15-2019, 08:54 AM
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welcome aboard - where are you from ?
do you have a size to the "slab" you have in mind?
and - what will the finished slab be used for ?

Edit:
Quote:
I'm still figuring out which tree has something interesting inside it,
and why I can't use a 37$ band saw and my own hands to cut in the
direction my brain says to cut.
are you talking about finding a standing tree and cutting it down yourself
and milling your own boards ??? or - finding some kiln dried lumber to assemble
to fabricate your slab. . . . need way more information than you have given.

hope to see some photos of your project once you get started.

and speaking of sawyer: some of the old sawmills used some pretty big saws.
after fabricating your slab, some hand carved sawmarks and other milling
textures and imperfections would help mask any modern joinery techniques.

.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 10-15-2019 at 12:26 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-15-2019, 09:02 AM
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Welcome to the forum! Add your location to your profile so it shows in the side panel. Add your first name to your signature line so we'll know what to call you.

Maybe some photos or sketches of something close to what you're after might help get some responses.

And we like photos so show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.

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post #4 of 9 Old 10-15-2019, 10:38 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

I use red oak a lot and one of the things I learned about red oak is that the grain is usually fairly straight and not much color change. It doesn't take much effort to make a a few boards look like a single piece. Sometimes it's a matter of staring at the pieces for a while and just looking for matching edges. If that is your goal, you usually have to start with fairly long pieces and a lot of shifting. If all you have is several small pieces, your probability is greatly reduced.

I have never had a need to try this technique but i will throw it out there. Photograph the pieces and print them out and then move the prints around until you get a match.

Anyway, bottom line is that you will have to select your wood and buy more than enough (in longer pieces). If you have a predominantly dark piece, sometimes there is a light colored streak. Look for a similar piece and join the lighter colored streak, or the other way around. The process is a lot easier if you get straight grained wood.

As for the $37 band saw, I have no idea what you are talking about.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-15-2019, 10:50 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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One issue at a time .......

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleWalnut View Post
I don't want to give the impression that I'm so advanced that THIS is what's on my radar.. I'm still (A) figuring out which tree has something interesting inside it, and why (B) I can't use a 37$ band saw and my own hands to cut in the direction my brain says to cut.

(C) I would like someone to show me a tabletop that simulates a single slice, but it's not a single slice, or give technical advice on such an endeavor.

Not just seamless joinery, but assembled such that a Sawyer would do a double take at least.

I'm trying to plan this. I've been collecting pieces for the attempt.. I think my planned technique (D) will have good results but I would like a sanity check please.

(A) No way to know until you cut open the tree. A look at the ends of the butts sometimes will reveal color and grain pattern as in the case of Flame Box Elder.


(B) A $37.00 bandsaw will be lucky to cut 1 1/2" thick stock. A Alaskan chain saw mill type would be better for wider slabs. A bandsaw mill is best and saves the most material because the kerf is much more narrow. To run with the "big dogs" you need big, powerful machines.


(C) Your closest configuration to a single slice will be a "book match" where two slices are glued opposed about a center line where the grain is a mirror image. If you really want a single slice look, the you would need a very wide slab and that will be expensive. Faux grains and applied colors can be done for the "look", but it still ain't the real deal. How important is this look in the overall scheme of the project?




(D) What is your approach? You left this part open to speculation.


There are many You Tube videos showing the use of a router sled to flatten large slabs and it does work quite well. Thickness planers wider than 24" are reserved for huge lumber milling operations and again are very expensive. Even getting a 24" wide slab off a bandsaw mill requires a large machine. So, just how wide is the slab or slice in this project?

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 #6 of 9 Old 10-17-2019, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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I thought that a bunch of "I have this and this and this" would be too much like bragging but thanks to the responses I can give enough of the info you asked for. I'll update my profile in a bit.

Regarding the $37 band saw, that was my way of trying to say I have my weak spots in the ol skillset. That 1980's Sears 10 inch bandsaw isn't going to be used on "slabs" as I called it.. it's for balsa wood under an inch thick .. it was just a skills reference, to something I got frustrated with that day. I spend at least an hour at night, almost every night, in "the sawmill building" if that tells you a bit more. A slab to me is a slice of a tree. I've finessed crotched pieces up to about 29 inches wide and curved ones technically wider. One prize is a 8 inch thick 28" wide, 8.5 ft long pine picnic tabletop. It's sister is 4" thick and is my outdoor workbench on sawhorses. The facility is unheated, has one 15amp circuit in it, and various entry/mid level secondhand machines in it including the latest, a 34" capable surface sander with variable speed feed. I have a 72 inch hydraulic grapple on the loader arms of my JD 5 series that can do 4000 lb logs. I'm not sure where to stop listing the stuff.. it already feels pretentious. Anyone using a shopsmith? Years ago I started using my 1946 9" metal lathe to pump out billyclubs and bats in 1/10th the time it took my neighbor and I started doing more and more with wood.. now I have a collection of drying slabs of various types sizes and character and starting to think about the next steps. I have about 30% of the pieces I need to make an indoor workbench top. They're residual pieces but sometimes I purposely choose to sacrifice furnature grade cuts in order to make another 'oops' for the hardwood workbench.

To answer about my planned technique.. here's what I think is a start..

I have a couple of nice wide live edge candidates in black walnut that of course each have some amount of center, cathedral pattern and as your eye approaches the edges, the bands get tighter and tighter.

I first thought to simply slap on tight straight grain edge wood onto the left and right edge of the center board to add years to the slab but I think that would look too artificial even if I could line up the pattern parallel.

I'm now thinking I can combine a few tricks to get it to look less detectable

I can't use a center core to start, if I use a center board that's slightly off center (a higher slice) then the bands don't tighten up so quickly (or wider wood, less ring lines) and when I add edge, the final product will look more interesting.

Further, if I mirror two north facing halves, and/or two north high slice halves AS the center, I'll simulate an even wider center section containing less years, then I can use another north half on one side and a South half on the other... Then two South's . One of those things that any one of YOU may actually appreciate noticing in a piece. I like the idea that in 200 years someone seeing it may make a crooked smile and not even tell anyone why.

If you're still with me (my fault not yours.. ) I have another part of the plan that can give me width that I want, but not the age.. is to incorporate, on one side of the center board.. a simulated enveloped branch. A branch that grew from near the base of the tree and grew together aside the trunk and eventually was totally enveloped.

I don't want to use any epoxy but I know I will have to either leave flaws or tastefully deal with them. I want to leave the color and texture as natural as is practical for an heirloom. I've personally taken down, and cleaned up.. most of the trees I've sliced. I've bought only two ever and that felt like cheating.

To answer one of your other questions, a dining room table top is what I want to make. For me. I also want to learn and achieve. Oh and not die by a 168" blade through the gullet .
See, more info makes the post unattractive to read. I'll stop here.

Last edited by PurpleWalnut; 10-17-2019 at 10:59 PM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-18-2019, 02:54 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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I also read your second post here .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleWalnut View Post
I don't want to give the impression that I'm so advanced that THIS is what's on my radar.. I'm still figuring out which tree has something interesting inside it, and why I can't use a 37$ band saw and my own hands to cut in the direction my brain says to cut.

I would like someone to show me a tabletop that simulates a single slice, but it's not a single slice, or give technical advice on such an endeavor.

Not just seamless joinery, but assembled such that a Sawyer would do a double take at least.

I'm trying to plan this. I've been collecting pieces for the attempt.. I think my planned technique will have good results but I would like a sanity check please.

My impression is that you ARE more advanced than most of us here.

And what you are trying to do ... matching 200 year old growth rings and color would be above the scope of virtually anyone here. Adding width by gluing on a different section of a different tree only further complicates the issue.

My solution is simple. You need to figure this out on your own by checking, rechecking, flipping and turning the various pieces you have on hand. When it looks right to you, that's when it will be right. We would have no clue, at least I don't. Obviously you have a sawmill or access to one and that's an "advanced" machine for all but a few here. I've done some log milling on a vertical bandsaw, but that's the extent of my personal experience. I have had portable sawmill come and mill limber on 2 occasions for several days where I ran the 4710 John Deere with the forks to load the mill. More fun than I've had in years and the smell of fresh milled wood is like nothing else.


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)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-18-2019 at 02:58 AM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-20-2019, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Woodnthings, I appreciate your reply Very much. Believe it or not, I envisioned the process without thinking that I might need more pieces handy than just the few I planned to use. Thinking about this now though, basically it means committing stuff "from the stack" to the most ambitious project, thus removing material from consideration for other projects. Perhaps I can plan on making a "leftovers" table .. or the bench top.. yeah.

So I'll target making up more pieces for the purpose of laying them out and trying different things.

I'll say again I'm new to any of what I call REAL woodworking. I've never dyed or steamed, never used a chisel smaller than an inch, and the last tabletop I glued with liquid nails &#x1f633;

Ok it was a pine underlayer for an forest table to make it too heavy to steal

Thank you again. I hope this post stays and isn't deleted.. I'll put pictures up once in a while no matter how awful things go.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-21-2019, 10:51 PM
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have a look around this site


https://heritagesalvage.com/furnishings/
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