Timber Sale Scavenging

Had an early start to the day – heading down the peninsula to a “final sell-off of timber due to a lifestyle change” sale.  Opportunity for some bargains, so couldn’t resist.  Got in early to have a chance to see what was worth grabbing, and although it was very civilised, you couldn’t afford to be late to get the good stuff.  Not sure what it was like at the end of the day – might have been some real bargains at that end too of what was left.

As I first walked up the driveway, saw a “small” shed to die for.  This was to the left of the house, so really was the shed on the property.  The whole place had just sold for a bit over $1million – guess that is what you have to pay for to get a place with a shed like that!

This place would be a woodworker’s dream – to the left of this shed was a small building marked as furniture sales – having somewhere to display final products, separate to the workshop.  And the driveway between the two lead to the wood store, where the sale was happening.

I found a couple of saw horses, so started loading it up with what I had found.

Started off getting a Blackwood lot, with a fair number of boards for $60.  Followed that up with a similar pack of Merbau for $50. Some pretty large boards in both these.  Found a pile of Jarrah shorts for $10 (lower left corner of the photo below), and 8 pieces of Gerrongang for $35.

The whole stack here cost $155. Didn’t bother trying to bargain – what was the point!

So by 10am, the day had already started pretty well.  Could have potentially spent a lot more, but you have to be pretty quick to find the bargains.  Had looked at the Gerrongang early on for example, and been indecisive. By the time I made a decision, I had to wait while two other people had a good paw through it before deciding to leave it – grabbed it before someone else decided it was a good buy.  I assume it is – at that price you can’t go too far wrong.

It is also still very obvious that I need more experience with timber – not knowing what some things are or at least how they could be used, and their value means you just don’t know if something is a bargain or not.

I’m pretty sure that under the aged exterior of a lot of these boards that some very nice timber is hiding.

Again, the experience of doing the Hall Table course at Ideal Tools actually came though here.  Seeing the sort of boards that are worth starting with when making something really helped.

So that was my morning, before heading off to a house open-day.  Not likely to be able to afford to move, but the place I looked at included both a double garage, and a 12m x 8m shed with a decent roof height.  Sure would be nice to have more space 🙂 And storage! No idea where I am going to fit the latest purchases above!

A Finish with a Good Lick

I am not a fan of modern finishes.  I know with pens that I use CA glue, which is in effect an acrylic finish, but in that situation, it is durable and comparatively quick. In saying that, I am now wondering just how well this traditional finish would work.  It would require the pen to remain mounted in the lathe (or remounted for each application) for an entire week, but if the finish was perfection, that might be worthwhile.

But I’m getting distracted.

For some items a traditional wax finish works well, for others, an oil finish really brings out the lustre in the timber.  The (mineral) definition of lustre is very appropriate “a description of the way light interacts with a surface”, and some oil finishes on some timbers produces such a depth – a fully three dimensional effect in the surface of the timber.

I have wanted to try Tung Oil for a long time – I’ve seen it used on a finishing video by Jeff Jewett (Taunton Press), and it was an amazing finish for ‘just’ an oil. It is an oil that all others are judged by – a Tung Oil finish is used as a descriptor for other finishes, even those that have no Tung Oil in them at all.  China Wood Oil is another name for the genuine stuff, and dates back to China, and over 2400 years ago.

In the past I have gone for oils that have included Tung oil, but haven’t gone out of my way to seek it out in a pure form, so finding Organoil now have it on the shelf in Carbatec meant I couldn’t help but grab it.

Tung Oil

There was also Terpene, which is a distillation extracted from citrus peelings, and can be used in place of turpentine, including cleaning brushes, and for thinning Tung Oil.  Tung Oil is surprisingly thick, and is a nut oil that once it has been applied and has had time to cure (for want of a better word) it is both water and alcohol resistant – perfect for a hall table.

The citrus terpene allows better penetration of the timber by the Tung Oil, so I am using it for the first coat, but from then on will be using the Tung Oil neat.

The timber looks absolutely stunning, even with the first coat.  It dries to a matt finish, but additional layers (applied 24 hours apart) increases the gloss until a mirror finish is possible.

Mahogany table with a Jarrah river

Hall Table

And this is just the first coat of about 6

Even now, check out the contrast with the raw table state (before it was sanded obviously)

Raw Table

I’m feeling so inspired to finish this project off, and start another!  Once the finish is done, I still need to make a dovetail drawer and give it a lick of the Tung, but then I really want to see what else I can come up with.  Beating the procrastination with the leg of a Hall Table Fable!

So close yet so far

Had every intention today of picking up enough timber for either a small, or a normal sized workbench.  After all, it is been too long for me not to have a workbench in the shop, and my projects have been crying out for one.

Now I could always go the basic sort of design, MDF top capped with either thin MDF, or masonite.  Chances are, that is what I will end up with, at least for my first workbench, but I really have my heart set on having a solid jarrah workbench one day.

One of the site’s readers sent me a link to the Taunton Fine Woodworking site to see this workbench:

Taunton Workbench

Taunton Workbench

It is an Australian Woodworker, but his username on the Taunton site, afghh doesn’t provide me with any contact details to ask permission for his photo to be used here, so if he comes across this, a. sorry, b. can I have permission. c. if not, happy to remove the image! d. nice bench – how much did it cost, how long did it take? e. Is that you Fred? (There are not too many TS10L owners!)

What really struck me, is the tablesaw in the image is the same as mine – the TS10L, so it is obviously ideal for my shop as well.  It is a modification of the Lee Valley design.

Lee Valley Rolling Cabinet

Lee Valley Rolling Cabinet

When I priced up the Jarrah today at Mathews, it came to over $500, which floored me.  That much for enough Jarrah for a 1000x1000x65mm top?  I didn’t have time to recheck my calcs etc, so I ended up leaving without getting the timber I wanted.  I did pick up a length of PurpleHeart (5.4m x 150 x 50mm), which is a timber that I have wanted to have some of for ages for a few projects as a feature timber. That cost so much less (well under 1/2), so I keep looking at it and wondering if I should use it for the top, but then, is that really a good use for such a timber?  I suppose I was prepared to use Jarrah in that way, but that seems different somehow.

Perhaps I should just make it from gold – probably cheaper.

Episode 17 Dressing Timber

Episode 17 Dressing Timber.

In this episode, we are having a look at dressing timber so that it is flat/straight and square, ready for a project. In this case, we are using some reclaimed Jarrah from an old deck, but the principle is the same if you are preparing timber that is DAR (dressed all round) from a timber yard, or hardware supply shop, or even if you have prepared your own board from raw timber.

DAR stock can still have warps, cupping and twists, so it is definitely beneficial to go through the motions of actually dressing the timber yourself to ensure it really is straight and true (and square!).

The two units used here are the Jet 6″ deluxe longbed planer (jointer in the US), and then the Triton 15″ Thicknesser (planer in the US).

Nautical Weather Station

I think the projects that always challenge me the most, are ones that I am making for others. I find myself really thinking a project through, trying new techniques and developing new skills.

This Nautical Weather Station is one such example. I made this a number of years ago as a Christmas present for my wife, and learned a great deal in making it (and have learned a great deal since!) What I find really satisfying, is even though something like this was made so long ago, I still occasionally look at it, and wonder “how the hell did I manage that?!!”


It also started my passion for Jarrah (as mentioned in the video earlier today).

A few details then: The whole unit is made from Jarrah, and although it isn’t so obvious from the photo, the central panel is quite a lot darker than the edges. This was deliberate, as I spent a week oiling and buffing that panel (literally, morning and night for a week, applying another coat and burnishing it in until I got the colouring and finish I wanted).

The turnings on either side were produced on a $90 lathe (GMC), and were my first attempt at duplicating on a lathe.

The top is a moulding, produced on the router table, then mitred to fit the 3 exposed sides.

The finish is a combination of burnishing oil, then buffed with a topcoat of Ubeaut Shellawax Cream.

All in all, it was a great project, and I learned a great deal in the process.

%d bloggers like this: