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 Post subject: A yew log project
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 6:56 pm 
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Location: Skagit Co WA
While rummaging around in Tom's shop I came a cross a not very well secreted log of Pacific Yew, about 10-12" in diameter and perhaps 5' long. Judging from the obvious glazed look in my eyes, Tom graciously offered me a chunk.

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Truly unfortunate, and through no fault of Tom's, the log has become severely checked along its entire length. Yew is one of the wood species that if the pith is removed will generally not check this bad if at all. But ... that's another story.

First step was to determine how to best utilize the piece. I've opted for a smallish hollow form with as tight a hole in the top as possible to reveal and display the creamy sap wood against the rich coppery heartwood. Since an end grain piece wouldn't be all that successful given all the checking, I decided to rip out (literally) the pith and go for a side grain piece.

This is the half log with a circle template I use (have several sizes) for roughly marking a circle on the convex side of the log.

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Yes, it would be easier to mark the circle on the flat side but then that's a much higher pucker factor operation at the band saw.

I use a yellow china marker to mark the circle which is easier to see than a pencil line

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And the finished rough bandsaw cutout

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Since the hollow form opening will be at the top of the piece, I drilled a pilot hole for what One Way calls its 'wood worm' which essentially turns a scroll chuck into a screw chuck handy for mounting odd shapes for roughing out. Not the high tech (blue masking tape) depth gauge on the drill bit.

Marking the center along the length of the blank is easy, of course, but the width across it ... I measure the width on the flat side, then transfer it across using a square on the bench

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I prefer to do this at the drill press to get something of a perpendicular pilot hole. Now the blank is ready for mounting on the lathe

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Best take a look at what we have before we start spinning the thing around

HHhhmmmmm ...

Not good

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Egad ... worse

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Oh-well, no guts no glory as they say. No, Tom, the checks, other than this one weren't so deep as to require stabilizing with CA. Just this one bad one. I don't spin these things that fast and for sure I don't stand in the 'firing line' of the lathe when I do.

OK. got the back side faced off

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And the bad split turned away

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But ... there are unfortunately several small branch inclusions that look suspiciously like trouble waiting to happen. We'll leave this on the lathe for the time being and see where they go. If they don't open up too badly, I'll get with the CA and fine sawdust and see what we can make out of it.

Thanks, Tom.

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Cheers - Dennis


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 8:46 pm 
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Hey Dennis,

Wow! You don't waste any time do you? Thanks for the photos documenting the progress of your project.

I should have loaned you my circle cutter for the band saw, since you have the same saw as I do. It really makes roughing out a breeze. There's plenty of that log left over, so if this works out, I may be inspired to try one myself.

Re: The small knots. I have not had any problems with them. I think that whole log is about as stress relieved as is possible. It's about as close to equilibrium as it's ever going to get.

Keep up the good work,
Tom

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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 10:30 am 
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I'm beginning to realize that for the form I was planning on making I cut the blank way too big round. I'll either have to turn away a lot of wood or return to the bandsaw (better choice) to eliminate more material.

RE: circle cutter for the band saw - I've had making one on my round tooit list for quite some time. Perhaps you could post a coupla photos of yours for stimulation.

Oh ... I'm finding you need to keep your tools really, really sharp and use a technique called shear scraping to keep from tearing out a lot of the end grain in this stuff. Very light cuts at a high shearing angle.

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Cheers - Dennis


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