Sunday, April 14, 2013

(The writeup) Taking it slow and getting started (Part1)

Woodworking Experience
         Firstly, I'm a seasonal/novice/amateur woodworker. Don't know if I used the term correctly but I only craft a wood project when I'm passionate with what I see.  I will then allow myself to sacrifice a little bit of my time and funds for this project. Funds?! Now that's a very important issue here. Without funds, woodworking would not even be possible for people like me who resides in an urban area. Everything little thing in woodworking intertwine with money. Hence, I have a simple budget set forth  for this bench project.  
         Starting a woodworking project is time consuming and cumbersome. Before these process of initiating, following up, and completion of a project, I've to consider the possibility that I may have   crafted yet another piece of junk furniture that occupy space. Matters such as places to get raw materials, material availability, ordering lead time, and paying for custom taxes are just a few setbacks that require much thought and researching before getting the ball rolling.
  
                                                Materials :  Raw Wood (2"x4", 2"x5", 1"x4",1"x6")
        I usually  get my wood from  local hardware store or saw/timber mills.  Planed wood of various sizes are available but pretty expensive at my local hardware store. One major disadvantage of getting wood from these hardware stores is that you are not allowed to choose. So, you're bound to get some "unwanted" quality of wood (i.e: warped wood, non straight grain, etc).
    Saw mills on the other hand do not sell planed wood but rather cut raw wood and its much cheaper. It is more economical to get your wood from them if you're getting loads of it. But you'll have to do some extra wood planning yourself. Anyways, many of these saw mills are sole proprietor and they sell wood in bulk to various companies. Some of these timber mill owners are pretty nice though. If you ask nicely they are  willing to custom cut any required wood length for you with no extra charge.
   For instance, couple days ago I was at a local saw mill to check on wood availability for my required bench legs (2" by 5"). I ask the owner if he has some readily available cut 2" x 5" woods. Acknowledging that he does not cater for individual buyers, he's willing to custom saw some 2" x 5" woods for me. Being a perfectionist myself, I was dissatisfied with the quality of the sawn 2" x 5" (well, he provided me with 2 types of different wood, pic1, pic2). Hence, I requested if he could saw me another set of 2" x 5" with the same type of wood hardness (with full payment of course). And I end up with these good quality "Balau Wood" (of Shorea genus, Dipterocarpaceae family) for the same price (given that Balau wood is a hard dense wood) pic1, pic2.
     The only disadvantage of saw mill woods is that they (wood) are still moist and wet. The tendency for wood warping is almost certain to occur on these conditions. I would store my wood in a cool dry place with some super heavy stuff (i.e dumbbells) on top of the wood. This way the wood is allowed to dry rather slowly and uniformly on the ground. It is never a good idea to air dry outdoor, acknowledging  local temperature is about 34 °C daytime and 24 °C nighttime. After about a week of drying in those conditions, here are the results "no drying", "3-4 days drying", "1 week drying".

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