One month into my latest workshop project, I am surprised to say I'm making good progress. You may recall that I've decided to tackle the construction of an entertainment center using, among other things, some reclaimed lumber from an old barn in the area. Jeff, my woodworker buddy who sold me the sycamore floorboards that he scavenged from the old barn, reminded me that a)not only will this wood make for a beautiful piece of furniture and a good story but b)horses, cows, and perhaps an occasional goat have been peeing and pooping on this wood for over a hundred years. Mmm...smell that history.
Working with the stuff has been an interesting challenge. As demonstrated yesterday when I tossed a few scrap pieces into the fireplace and watch them erupt into flames, this wood is as dry as the Sahara. Every time I cut a piece on my table saw, I nervously expect the piece to disintegrate into dust. But so far the wood has held together quite nicely. It's also been a challenge cutting down boards in such a way that I don't end up with giant knot holes or nail holes, although a few nicks and scrapes here and there make for nice character.
The project is proving to be a good learning experience, as well. For example, I learned you really shouldn't put the back of a bookshelf on before putting the face frames on. If your back isn't quite square, the face frames ain't gonna fit. I also learned that a biscuit joiner is a very cool tool to have in the arsenal, because it allows you to screw up and get away with it. I've also learned that I should have bought a random orbit sander years ago, using Gel Stain is a lot like spreading chocolate pudding, and I proved the old woodworker's saying that you can never have enough clamps.
So, here's my progress so far:
The original design:
Just checking to see how off-square I am:
Bookshelf #1 complete (well, aside from shelving and lighting of course)
The sycamore has some really cool grain patterns to it:
I think I need more clamps.