Friday, January 17, 2014

Legacy Redwood Project: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

After a flurry of activity in the shop at the end of the year, I finally got a chance to take the next step on the legacy redwood project. That entailed reloading all the big chunks I had cut back in November into the truck and taking them out to Dave Merchant's milling operation at Out of the Woods in Bonny Doon. 

Dave's got a great set-up, with several types of mills. 

The purpose of this trip was to remove the weathered outer surfaces of the chunks to try to assess how much sound, usable material the was in each one. My "smaller" chunks, the ones less than about 25" in width were sliced on a computer-controlled Woodmizer band mill - essentially a giant horizontal band saw.

The larger chunks that didn't fit on the Woodmizer were moved to his Lucas mill. This mill uses a large circular blade that can be rotated and used in both the horizontal and vertical positions. On these chunks, material was removed in roughly 6" wide pieces.

Now that each piece has a clean face, I can assess which ones still have significant rot, which will yield usable large-scale wood, and which might yield thinner panel material. Some of the pieces look pretty promising, with some really great burl figure, but others were a little disappointing in their extent of weather-related checking, and rot.

Stay tuned to see what develops ....