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Thread: Ever looked closely at your wood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Ever looked closely at your wood

    Subsequent to my sharpening all my planes i decided to try unadjust all of them and then try different wood and see how i do smoothing it out and adjusting the planes.

    Well all went fine and since i had the 10X loupe out at the time decided to examine the pieces of wood to see how the cut was taking place.

    It was very very interesting to me. See when the cutting edge is properly sharp its sort of like having a shave with a clean blade. The result is silky smooth.

    What is really interesting is the way the wood fibres which are like straws get shaved open. You then see remnants of minerals and gum in the tubes.

    I took Mahogany , Cherry and Red Oak and gave them all the smoothness treatment on all four sides. What a delight i urge any woodworker to really get their plane or planes trully sharp, flat and setup finely and try it out.

    I could actually put the wood down on the jointer table and no light from the underside. Sounds crazy but i have never had this luck free hand planing what was a rough piece of wood.

    So i thought i would try and use macro and capture the wood finish to show you guys for interest sake and discussion.

    Here are the pics as best as i could get them for the amount of time i messed around trying.

    First up the mahogany , its not quiet as clear as when i get to zoom this picture in photoshop then you can see more of the tubes and the resin or gum in the tubes. Thats what gives it that black speckled marks.

    This is cherry and from different sides. Interesting to see how the pattern changes and the one pic here looks like the surface is rippled but its actualy silky smooth that is just the way the light is reflecting of the movement in the wood.

    The best one to show the planing effect off is the Red Oak. Here you see how the blade has sliced those tubes open.

    Also you see what i understand to be the ray fleck on the surface

    Ok so i have some questions for the finishing guys and other Neanders.

    When it comes to finishing something like the mahogany and the red oak those open tubes obviously require filling in or sealing up. I take it this is where Shellac is an aid ?

    Next the smoothness achieved on practice piece of mahogany gave me the confidence to think of taking the vanity tables pieces and taking an extremely light shave across them as opposed to sanding. Any thoughts here or should i leave well alone. I mean when i look at how clean and smooth the surface was after the smoothing plane with translucent shavings coming off, it was easier than what sanding is going to take.

    I welcome any comments and insight that can be added to these pictures. This was sort of experimental for me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    This is an interesting analysis Rob. So what does the end grain look like when planed properly?

    It was my understanding that the Shellac sealed the fibers in the wood to reduce them from expanding and standing up (like five hour stay on topic ). I've never used a filler, so I'd be interested to know, does the filler cause more of the stubble to happen?

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Very interesting pics, I can relate them very well as the sort of finish I get when I carve with properly sharpened and stropped gouges. The feel and music changes a lot with/against grain or right or left traverse cuts.

    Thanks Rob, sometimes we need to have a closer look to the great material wood is.
    Best regards,

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