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Monday, March 18, 2013

Planing Wood

Yesterday was "get to know your planer" Sunday.

Scrap teak pulled from storage
Among the many bits and pieces that came with the boat were old teak cabinet parts like drawer faces, drop boards and shelving. Ranging form 3/4 to an inch thick, all pieces were dirty, water stained and scratched. Some had heavy coats of finish (varnish or cetol). While I sold of most of the parts that came with the boat, I kept this "scrap" teak thinking I could at least play with when woodworking time came. Well, that time is now.
Before (left) and after (right) 
After cleaning each piece up with the shop vac, I squared up two opposite edges on the table saw and ran it through the planer to remove any finish, scratches and stains. Each pass removed 1/64 of in inch at a time. After two or thee passes through the planer, the surface looked like fresh milled wood. A pretty nifty and easy to use tool for a woodworking neophyte like me.
Shelves of small hardwood bits
By the end of the afternoon I had a couple shelves of hardwood ready for use. These pieces do not exceed 24 inches in length and are maybe 5 to 6 inches wide. If figure these will work as good "practice pieces" as there will not be much use inside the boat. Maybe for some short trim molding.

Tip: When planing a previously used piece, check for any pins in the wood. Pins will damage the planer blades and will require replacement. Ask me how I know!

1 comment:

Rhys said... don't look sound like a beginning woodworker. I've salvaged teak from the boat club bins on the sound economic and ecological basis that I never want to pay for the stuff new. Knowing as we do (my wife is a biologist) that the last stands of teak forests are coming down and flattening or frightening off orangutans in the process, I prefer to "repurpose" the tons of teak cut in the '60s and '70s.

A more sustainable source of boat wood (and I don't particularly like wood aboard boats) are North American species such as oak and black cherry. I happen to have a 120 year old black cherry tree in my backyard, and it requires fairly severe limb reduction to correct a bad list to the south. It's a simple matter to ask the arborists to cut specific lengths of branches for further reduction into, say, 24 inch planks. You could even spin a foot-thick section of branch for veneer. Jigs and routers yield gear boxes, small shelves and attractive panel covers...and no primates are harmed.

Old gumwood, oak and mahogany doors and office furniture are also great candidates for planking as few have the patience to take off nine layers of lead or "milk" paint. Frequently, you can score these things for free by offering to clean out basements or garages. "New", they are quite expensive.