Tuesday 21 February 2012

Getting Back to Sawdust

Many of my unfinished projects are trim projects.
That is to say, I finished the job, but I didn't cover the mistakes.
Fit and finish is important to me so I am always happy to complete the final touches.

The kitchen has outstanding trim to be completed.
I renovated our kitchen the last time I was on parental leave.
I didn't finish up by the time I had to go back to work.
It's long overdue.

Fortunately, I have a big pile of red maple flooring here.
Locally cut, milled, and dressed by Romard Lumber promard@live.com
I did our kitchen with it and my Dad was going to do his house with it.
I turned out to be too rustic for my Dad's modern house so he gifted his pile to me.
The great feature of red maple is the variety of colours and hues that can be found, at least in this batch.
That means I can pick and choose colours depending on the application.
Having the right tools available means that I don't have to use the flooring for it's intended purpose.

This is an example of reusing material.
If you were to scrounge a big pile of wood, you would want to be able to use it.
If it is flooring and you need siding, that's not too much of a stretch.
If it's flooring and you need trim, then you'll need some gear to make it happen.
Most likely you will find reclaimed lumber like 2x4s or 2x6s.
That's great for building, but if you want to use the wood as a finished product, then you need to be able to manipulate the wood however you best see fit.

Today I worked on the window trim.
Ideally, windows should use cedar, especially if they are poorly made windows like ours.
The reason is to prevent wood decay from condensation or ice dam flooding.
The windows build up condensation when the action is heavy in the kitchen.
Yes, and from cooking.
Our kitchen is mostly maple.  The floor, the counters, the trim.
Cedar looks nice but it's expensive, and doesn't really go along with the maple motif.
I had a little bit of scrounged red cedar on hand but it was in rough shape.
It was enough to trim around the windows but not really thick enough to work well, never mind the looks.
What I needed was the cedar with a layer of maple on top.  That would solve everything.
What do I have?  Maple flooring.
No problem.  This is how it goes.

First, a reminder: 
 If you are a homesteader, then you are a jack-of-all trades. 
 And that's that!

Then, here's some tips on setting up.

The table saw:    If you have an old table saw, then you need to measure the fence every time you move it.
                          The newer ones lock straight, usually.

1)  Measure from the fence to a saw tooth at the back of the blade arc.
2)  Measure from the fence to the same tooth at the front of the blade arc.(Move the tooth to the other side)
3)  If you aren't meticulous then something unsafe will happen.

The radial arm saw:  Notoriously inaccurate if improperly tuned.

1)  Use a large square to square up the blade travel to the fence.
2)  Use a razor blade to scribe the cut line.  This limits small slivers that come off and leave unsightly marks.
3)  Don't let go of the saw carriage...ever.

Ripping is the term used for cutting with the grain.
I ripped the tongue off of the piece of flooring.
Then I ripped the board in half, halving it's thickness, not it's width.
This is a rough maneuver, but it's super handy for making otherwise expensive dressed products from simple building lumber.
You'll probably have to run the board through twice depending on the blade diameter.  Just to cut all the way through.  Mind the center.

Then I had two thinner pieces from one piece of flooring.
They were is rough shape from the ripping so they went through the thickness planer to even them out and make them smooth.  Also to bring them to the thickness that I wanted for the job.

Then to the jointer to make one edge straight and smooth.
Back to the table saw to cut the final width.  Put the jointed edge against the fence.
Cross-cut to length with the radial arm saw. (You'll probably be using a mitre saw).
And voila!  Maple veneer.

The cedar was used to trim the windows.   Then the maple went on top of the cedar to even everything up, and for the sake of aesthetics.

Being a jack-of-all trades usually means being a master of none.
When your buildings skills are imperfect,
 it pays to have a good handle on trim.


These posts are intended to inspire ideas and techniques.
If you are actually going to use these posts as instructional material, make sure you feel comfortable with the amount of information here.  If you are not, then contact me and I will help out with some better details.

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