Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Resawing on a large scale
I have a couple of large boards of really old Honduran mahogany, ones that my dad bought in ghe 1960's. Ring a bell? Yup that's right - the same as my old number one soprano was made of. Also a couple of others, most notably number 29 which went to my good friend Milo. They're 15 mm thick, a good two metres long and taper in width from 300 to 400 mm. I want to use them but the bandsaw is up shit creek with no paddle, still. And it wouldn't have accepted the width anyway.
But equipped with the marvellous inventions of Tom Fidgen I took them on. I cut a strip off along one edge to save for sides, I like one piece rims so I didn't want to shorten them yet. Then I cut off a length that will give me tops and backs, again one piece jobs.
First I used the kerfing plane to score a deep slot all around the edges. I set the width so the board would yield three pieces.
Then I started out with the frame saw, also a design of Tom Fidgen's. The slot guides the saw blade so it doesn't wander sideways. I did this on cherry last year and found that species to be more difficult, perhaps the grain lines are stronger and want to steer the blade. Mahogany didn't, but it was hard work.
This took me over an hour! The surfaces are a bit hairy but overall the thickness is quite consistent. By now my back was a bit sore.
So let's do it all over from the start! My family was away so I could take all the time I needed in the shop.
And the result, after a looong time and much sweat. Three panels roughly 4 mm thick. Couldn't have gotten a better result, although I keep thinking about splitting the next one into four pieces.
Then I did the same for the side pieces. I split that one in three as well. Next up is planing and sending it all through the drum sander, then a few ukes will be made. I think I will replicate number one and build at least one with all parts from the same board, blocks, patch and braces from mahogany.
It's not commissioned but I do have a plan. If you find yourself in a rural part of England this summer, be sure you buy what is called "raffle tickets".