Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Milling Juniper Again

Made progress on the log pile over the weekend and afternoons this week. I am down to the last 7 logs in the pile I had cut. I milled somewhere around a dozen logs over the weekend, using my last sharp bandsaw blade. I resawed the 30+ flitches left from the posts and still have some sharpness left in the blade. I took a rare break and went fishing with my brother on Sunday evening. I haven't been fishing in at least 10 years, and it was nice to be out on the water. I took some photos of an interesting tree I cut down. The tree had exposed heartwoood on two sides. The sapwood was divided into two seperate sections all the way up to the limbs. I made a nice stack of posts and lumber that is nearly as tall as me (i'm not very tall). I rolled my last 7 logs down to be milled when the rain clears. I have been having problems with insects boring into my bark/sapwood, so I am trying to hurry through these logs before really warm weather.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Milling Persimmon Again

Finished up the butt log of the two persimmon logs I got out of the tree. There is a third top section still waiting to be skid to the mill. The log was around 14" small end, 16" big end before milling, and 17' long. The widest board is 14" and all is milled to 1x dimensional lumber. All the lumber is bastard sawn which is a colorful way of saying flat sawn. I sawed all the lumber into flitches, and then removed the bark by resawing on edge, for the maximum width boards possible. I started the milling on Sunday, and resawed on tuesday, and finally stacked the lumber for air drying today, on top of the other persimmon wood. I removed what was left of the bark with a drawknife. I finished my 8-way bamboo splitter today also. I plan to make some wooden handles out of poplar to go over the metal handles.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

4- Way Bamboo Splitter (takewari)

I made a 4-way bamboo splitter (takewari) yesterday. I welded it up from scrap metal, it isn't beautiful, but serves the purpose. I have a larger 8-way splitter halfway done on the workbench. The ones commercially available are made of cast iron and are quite costly ($27 for 4-way, $69 for 8-way). The cast iron ones cannot be struck with a hammer, mine can :D . It took about an hour to make the 4-way, and will have the 8 way finished with around 2.5 hours in it. I need to finish painting it tomorrow. I made it to overcome the problems of getting the long ~40' strips of bamboo I will need later on for making hoops for the wooden tub (ofuro). I am basing the construction off of what I learned from book on "The Tub Boats of Sado Island" by Douglas Brooks. The tub boats are also known as taraibune or hangiri.

I learned recently that bamboo continues growing internally year after year. The outside diameter is initially "shoots" up, and the distance between nodes will lengthen for the first year and a half. I believe what I recently harvested is a Japanese Timber bamboo known as Madake (phyllostachys bambusoides). Shown in the photo is a section of what would be a cane that came up last year, compared to a much older one, both with about the same outside diameter (2.5" and 2.75").

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bamboo Pens (Sumisashi)

I made bamboo pens (sumisashi) and ink/oil pots from some of the bamboo I cut last weekend. I bought 3 of the pens on ebay last year and paid $3-4 a piece for them. I found the ones readily available too narrow and short for me to hold comfortably, so several various sizes were made to try out. I made 75 tonight and must wait until they dry to finish them. I don't know of many sources for the sumisashi, and don't know of any sources of ink/oil pots, so I am going to try my luck at selling them once they are dried. I had a nice surprise in the mail today, 3 Japanese chisels from eBay. The two small ones (shoji chisels) were new old stock from a fellow Japanse Woodworking Forum member Sheets (thank you!). Some journey they had, Japan>England>Canada>Alabama, and thats just whats known. The big slick came from another person. It is slightly used and dwarfs my other slick, which is well used comparison.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Milling 'Simmon

I started milling on one of the persimmon logs on Friday, and finished it up Sunday. It milled surprisingly smooth. The wood turned a funky green after milling, then mellowed out after it dried a bit. It was cut into 1x lumber hopefully for face frames for cabinetry. I have no experience air-drying the species, but from what I have read, it is very prone to bucking, farting, and warping. My Dad and I drove to b.f.e. today and purchased a pair of non-running parts tractors to help keep mine and his alive, and maybe put together another tractor out of the pair. Photo shows the Farmalls right after being loaded up front is a 1946, rear is a 1940 model.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Truly Free Bamboo

After sending a friend of mine a link to this blog, he responded that he could get me "all the free cane poles I wanted". After tagging along with him to get firsthand directions, all the necessary connections were made to avoid any confusion. The fella had already hired a bulldozer to swipe a 100ft across his property, as it was invading his home and outbuildings. I am not sure what kind bamboo it is, but it is a timber bamboo of some sort and it is female. Some of the bigger pieces are around ~4" in diameter at the base, and the tallest was bumping 55', with averages in 45' range. I clipped them down with a chainsaw with a picco chain and cleaned the tops off with a nata hatchet (an extremely sharp and dangerous tool). Four hours of cutting was all I could handle on the somewhat steeply sloped hill, which required a 2 hour nap to recover from. I ended up clearing a 16'x16' area before becoming severly exhausted (asthma and arthritis). The landowner was super nice and I am very grateful for the bamboo, and will return again to get some more and some rhizomes soon.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Once a year snow

We got our annual snowfall today. It rained most of the day Saturday, and woke up to a white blanket outside this morning. By noon it was a sloppy muddy mess. I stayed inside most of the weekend, working on practicing mortises yesterday, and sharpening chisels today. My wife and I visited my grandmother and I got a chance to take a picture of a circa 1900 barn built with juniper posts on her property. The barn was built by either her father or her grandfather (I forgot which one she said) as the land it is on was homesteaded by her family. The barn has really went down in the last 15 years, as it has not been maintained like it formerly was.