Thursday, October 06, 2011

Cutting wide boards on a radial arm saw

The first session of my Adirondack chair was held this week - one of my favorite classes to teach! Here is the mini version that I use it as a teaching aide - it is built to scale, one quarter of a normal sized chair.

These chairs are incredibly comfortable, and easy to build. They're so gorgeous, students in the past have built them out of nicer woods and used them inside their homes. One student even built one and donated it to a fundraiser at a local hospital - her chair was one of the highest selling pieces in the auction.

But - there's always a "but" - right? ...they do take a lot of wood to build. I've got stacks and stacks of wood everywhere in the school, in just about every corner of the shop.

I love how these boards were labeled - perhaps they should have looked at this page first.

Not to sound like one of those oldsters who say "back when I was young..." but when I was in high school, there was an abundant supply of mahogany. Gorgeous mahogany - in wide boards, with gorgeous grain - all readily available. For a long time, you couldn't find any nice mahogany boards like those. Everything that was available was just lacking in certain properties - wider boards just disappeared, and when you did find them, the grain and color was ... blech.

Until recently.

Look at this beautiful piece of African mahogany, straight from the lumberyard.

You almost never find boards this wide - they're unbelievable! And the color is so amazing; I almost hate to cut into these pieces!

How do you crosscut a board that wide? If you're lucky enough to have a monster of a radial arm saw, then you put a sharp blade in it. Like this one.

This one just came back from the my sharpener. They put a dip on the teeth, to protect the tips after they're sharpened. It is sort of rubbery and wax-like, and it peels off, to reveal the razor sharp carbide teeth.

Mount the blade on the arbor

and tighten everything up. Of course, don't forget the blade guard!

This saw just eats wood - and makes quick work of crosscutting these wide boards.

When we get a little further ahead with our Adirondack chairs, I'll post some pictures.

1 comment:

Michael Paxton said...

Some days, your blog is just flat out wood and tool porn!