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Brazilian Walnut, despite what many folks say, is all but impossible to glue. The wood as a chemical (lapacho) that wicks to the surface and creates poor gluing even with epoxy. Mechanical fasteners are the only way to hold the stuff together. It makes a great deck, but I’ve seen little else you can use it for. It dulls any tools that it comes in contact with.
Cherry is NOT a good wood for outdoor use. You need something that holds up to UV rays, water and bugs + does not leach sap – Cypress, teak, cedar, and redwood are your best choices for natural finishes. Yellow pine can be used if it is primed and painted.
It is called a ‘torsion box’ – just Google it, you’ll find plenty of information.
Two keys to success:
- They are best used with a drill press — but you can still use a hand drill.
- You must “pump” the bit. Drill a little than bring the bit back up the hole, then back down to drilling position. This action is necessary to clear the wood chips from the hole. You’ll need to blow the chips away as well so that they don’t slip back into the hole.
You can treat the toys in the same manner you would for a cutting board, utensils or turned bowls – there are several options.
FIRST…DO NOT use vegetable oils they can become rancid after a period of time. You can use a specially formulated cutting board oil or salad bowl finish – they are safe for food contact after drying.
- Walnut oil: It is available grocery stores or some mail order woodworking supply stores. Nice thing about it is that is a true drying oil that reacts with the air and hardens. Oils are generally safe for food or toy use after they’ve dried for 30 days. I’m not sure Walnut Oil can cause a problem with “nut” allergies however..
- Pure Tung Oil. It has no driers or solvents. It is essentially just a vegetable oil but produces a nice finish that won’t go rancid. Use only Tung Oil that is “pure”.
- Watco® claims its oils are suitable for food or baby use if they’ve been allowed to dry for 30 days or more. They say it takes this time for full polymerization.
- Rockler’s Toymaker’s Finish
- Shellac: Those who think shellac is something that once coated furniture and has been replaced by polyurethane should think again. Shellac is one of the oldest substances for food coatings. A resin secreted by a tiny, female beetle as a means to hold her eggs to the bark of a tree, shellac is produced in India or Thailand. After shellac is harvested, it is used to formulate confectioners glaze, which lengthens shelf life by providing a glossy finish for pan-coated candies such as chocolate covered almonds. Pharmaceutical companies actually use it for pill coatings.
- Most water-based polyurethanes are often non-toxic when dry BUT check the label to make sure.
- Latex Paint. Some paints claim to be non-toxic when dry, but again–check the labels.
- You could just leave items unfinished.
In any event, if you are unsure about any finish you plan to use, contact the manufacturer and request the information. You can also request an MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet).
Only use what blade you need. Keeping the blade about an 1/8th of an inch above the stock when cutting reduces wear and tear on the blade and makes for a more accurate and smoother cut. The more blade you have exposed the more vibration you’ll see and the more non-cutting area of the blade makes contact with the wood, the more heat is produced.
If you don’t go by the 1/8″ rule, just set the blade so the gullet of the cutting tooth is a hair above the stock.
Mix the glue and saw dust into a paste and apply with a good clean putty knife. It is a good idea to protect the area surrounding the hole with masking tape so you only get the hole and not the “area.”
You won’t be able to match the finish “out of the can” – the quality and source of the wood has just as much to do with the color and hue that comes with finishing. I suggest you remove a door from one of the old cabinets and take it with your new door and go to an independent paint store (e.g. Sherwin & Williams ) and have them help – they can use their experience and product knowledge to get you pretty close. Check with area professional painters for the stores that they buy their paint & supplies.
Without looking over your shoulder it’s hard to tell. That said, the most common reasons that come to mind are:
- a dull blade
- trying to make too tight of a turn, too quickly
- trying to cut green or wet wood
- incorrect blade for the cut or material to be cut
- improper tension set on the blade
- trying to cut faster that the wood will allow
When all else fails, read the owner’s manual that came with your saw.
A table saw is the best tool for ripping wood. That said, your description of the task is not that of ripping but “re-sawing” and neither radial arm or table saw is the right tool for that job – only a band saw is up to the task. Resawing 4″ thick stock will require at least a 14″ model. Those bench top models you see on sale all the time ( Home Deport, Lowes, etc.) for $99.00 are 9″, 10″, 12″ and can only do 2 to 3-7/8″. A 14″ saw will do up to 6 inches. It is a sizeable investment however. Good saws in the in the $400-$600 range
A few recommendations:
- Grizzly G1019 14″
- Grizzly G0555 14″
- Grizzly G1148 Heavy-Duty 15″
- Craftsman 14″ Professional
To do the job safely, you may also want to consider reading ‘ The Bandsaw Book’ by Lonnie Bird.
There are two schools of thought on carving pine:
- Only carve kiln dried wood, because it is stable and cracking/hardening has been controlled or stopped.
- Only carve green wood or pine that is soaking wet (like pulled right out of a bucket of water).
If you are getting pine from the source (the tree), try to use the sap wood (closest to the bark). Soaking will limit the cracks there.
Worth mentioning is that BASSWOOD is often the wood of choice for most carvers not pine.
This isn’t really in our area of expertise (identifying insects). That said, you can hire a pesticide person to gas the wood with methyl bromide or, you can kiln dry it with a finishing temperature of 160 degrees for a few hours.
If the wood will fit in your oven, you can do this KILN thing at home. Just place it in the oven and then set is at 170 (since most ovens only go down to 170). Keep it in there for 3 hours. That should kill the little critters. If not check your area to see where the folks who cut down timber take their wood to be kiln-dried and have them do it for you. I hope they (the worms) were creative and give your piece some character… Good luck!
Metal and wood blades don’t mix – even the slightest contact with metal will dull a wood cutting band saw blade. Use a blade that is designed to cut non-ferrous metal. That said, a metal cutting blade doesn’t turn your band saw into a power hack saw. Your band saw needs to have adjustable speed settings – wood and metal are cut at different speeds.
Your nail gun’s safety mechanism may not allow you to nail where you want and at the angle you want. That said, this is a case of the right tool for the job. A Dewalt 51275 is not the right tool for this job – a floor stapler like the Bostitch Mark III FS is. They are available from rental stores (Home Depot, DIY, Nations Rent, Lowes, etc). It uses a 2 inch long 1/2″ wide 15 gauge staple.
Your gun – is great for light work and trim, but not installing hardwood flooring.
Warping is a function of moisture change not clamping. Clamps may affect the joints but they won’t warp the wood. That said, it is possible your job is not warped, it just looks warped.
If the laminated board just isn’t flat, that does not mean its warped. You could have over-torqued the clamps and “pulled” the edges up so that the joints were not true. a 1/32 error across 10 boards = 10/32 of rise (corner to corner).
A little trick that we always use is to do the clamp up on an old sheet of 3/4″ ply. “Just snug” the boards together, then clamp all 4 corners to the ply. Then cinch up the cross clamps to get the seams tight. We also use biscuits at the joints. To glue up multiple boards and get a good flat laminated board, your need to (not having any of these can cause your job to appear warped):
- edge the boards,
- alternate the grain (see illustration – Figure 1)
- have uniform moisture content in all boards,
- good glue coverage on the joints, and
- a nice tight (not too tight) clamp job.
Of course it is a bad idea to cut wood at 14 deg! Tools are not made to run a low temps. Most lubricants in sealed units tend to degrade at 40 degrees. Hand tools are a bit tougher, because they are made for outdoor use. But not 14. Wood also contains moisture–which freezes at 32 degrees. So its a function of both. You are making the saw work harder with less internal protection. Besides, don’t you find it difficult to concentrate on woodworking at 14 degrees?
A Drill press – works every time! But if you don’t have one there is an easy jig you can make to handle right angles. Just drill through two pieces of 1/4″ hardboard, than separate them with a scrap piece of 1 X. Line the holes up and tack the hardboard to the 1X and you’ve got a jig. Clamp it to the board you need to drill. You can do the same thing for other angles, it just takes a little more effort.
Setting the blades is more hazardous than difficult, since the blades can slice your fingers while handling them. And that’s where a jig comes into play. You must set all blades the same height – roughly 1/8″ . The actual height is not as important as getting them all the same – some planers are 1/8″, a few are e 3/16″. You could fabricate a jig yourself. The purpose of the jig is to set the blade height at 1/8″ and hold the blade in place (without cutting your fingers off) until you can tighten the set screws down. The best option however is to buy a jig. They are magnetic blocks that set the blade height and hold the blade in position. They are about 2.5″ by 6″ in size. For a 24″ planer you need three (3).
They run about $69.00 each and you can get them online. The nomenclature is Woodstock International G1755 Planer Pal® – Standard Each
Cypress takes all finishes quite nicely. I suspect your problem may be one of two things:
- The wash you made was an oil based mix (turpentine+)?? and it needs at least 30 days to dry, or
- The poly you used was old or not mixed well – the hardener was all at the bottom of the can.
Cypress is always a good choice for outdoor projects – it offers good stability and excellent decay resistance. It’s also reasonably easy to work with although it tends to be quite “knotty” (It is even referred to as Gopher Wood). You will need to take extra care when sawing, jointing, or routing to prevent chip-out on end-grain.
No special glue is required. Basic rule of thumb – outdoor use requires exterior grade glue. I prefer polyurethane glues for exterior work. If your local hardware store doesn’t stock it, you can get “Titebond” from Rockler.
“Titebond” also makes a less expensive wood glue and is great for all uses. It is their Titebond™ III Ultimate Wood Glue, also available from Rockler.
Tip: Take care when gluing — try not to get it on areas that are to be finished, Cypress does “show” glue stains more than some other varieties wood. Sometimes I even treat glue just like paint and mask off areas that I don’t want the glue.
For the combination of price + good results + availability, MINWAX products are a good choice. For exterior woodwork, I like their Helmsman Spar Urethane. First thing is remove the old coating (shellac, lacquer or varnish). After you have the door cleaned-up and sanded (the grain was raised during the stripping process) apply a Tung Oil finish to add additional oils to the door surface before applying the urethane.
- Let the Tung Oil cure for 30 days.
- Lightly scuff sand the door with 220-grit sandpaper.
- Remove sanding dust using a soft, lint-free cloth dampened with pure mineral spirits.
- Let mineral spirits evaporate (door dry off)
- Apply 1-3 thin coats of urethane following the label instructions
I’m guessing that you are using a battery-powered hand drill. The key to drilling clean holes for your shelf pins using the JIG IT® Shelving Jig or any jig, for that matter, is ‘drill speed.’ Corded drills work best for this task. Let the drill get up-to-speed (highest RPM setting) before plunging it into the plywood. Many of the battery operated models just can’t crank the RPM required or a low batter condition prevents it from getting up to the proper speed for a clean cut.
Speed is usually an issue. We usually recommend cutting these bits at a speed somewhere between 16,000 and 18,000 RPM. The chip out most likely is being caused by running against the grain instead of with it. You’ll need to read the grain lines on the face of the stock and determine which direction will allow you to go with the grain instead of against it.
I suspect the product you used was outdated. Yes, glues and finishes have an expiration date. The clock usually doesn’t start ticking until you open it and let the air in – but it will definitely go bad. Wipe-on poly should flow like oil, not like syrup, which based on your description, sounds like what you experienced. If any finishing product is cloudy and pours slowly, properly dispose of it and buy fresh.