Evening Steam

Well everything got clamped down and I didn’t hear any pops or cracks so maybe this will be the first successful bend of the Tasmanian Bluegum.  Find out on Friday.

While I waited for the steamer to heat up I I stacked the seat blanks that have been drying for the past year.  One of then had a split so I decided to froe it apart.  I can attest that once it drys, the interlocking grain is tough to split.

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A bit of chair progress

It’s been pretty light on woodworking recently as time and energy have been in short supply.  That said, last weekend I made a bit of progress on the stick chairs including the first successful crest rail bend.

After looking at the bending form I decided to smooth out the curve a bit and used the band-saw and spindle sander to make the adjustment. After the sander, it was finally time to use the compass plane I purchased years ago (the rear handle broke off first time I tried to use it, unscrupulous dealer hid a JB Weld repair) and it smoothed out the high spots quite well.


While cleaning the garage I found a piece of ash left over from the bench build and decided to use it as a test bend.  It worked perfectly.  Hopfully I can get a successful bend in eucalyptus soon.

Ipe Fence

I had big plans; my wife and kids were going to be out of the house for the month of august and I was going to knock out a few projects around the house.  Unfortunately, shortly before 4th of July weekend I got sick and it took 2 months to figure out what it was (I’m 98% back to normal).  On the plus side I lost a bunch of weight that needed loosing but on the downside very little got done.

Sunday I finally got started on one of those projects.  When we moved into our house I had the old retaining walls inspected and was told they had decades of life left so rather than replace them we planned to hide them: the right one with a bamboo hedge and the left with a decorative fence.

I had originally planned on using cedar for the fence but 6 months ago I found some Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) on Craig’s list and have been storing it in my garage ever since.  I had sunk the support posts a while back (the retaining wall has no footing) so I mitered 7 boards to length using my circular saw and pre-drilled screw holes (I’m using self taping stainless screws so predrilling was more about maintaining spacing) which was followed by walnut tinted deck oil on all sides.


The oil was taking forever to dry so they were installed with the oil still wet.  Once all of the pieces are installed and dry I will put on another coat on the face.

Another 4 or 5 boards will be added along with a return on the right side.

Stain testing

After getting back from Hawaii work has been crazy but it did sand down the cutoff test peice to remove the old finish and finished with a hand block at 220.  I wetter down 2/3rds and left it to dry.


After drying I lightly sanded the right 3rd, stired it up, and brushed on a coat of stain, making sure to work it into the grain.  After wiping away the stain the results were clear.  I had read years ago that raising the grain with water caused pigment stains to work better and the results are pretty clear.  Time to let it fray and add a seal coat of linseed oil.

My earlier work

This past week we have been at my parents house introducing them to their new grandchild.  While reading bedtime stories to my oldest ( who was sleeping in my old room) I realized the bookrack on the bedside table was a project from 8th grade shop class.  

This basic slanted book rack was one of the shop projects everyone at Kainalu Intermediate School completed and it was the only non-plywood project (I think it’s mango).  It’s basically my first project using hardwood.


My finishing skill are only marginally improved.