Working with Live Edge Wood / Live Edge Slabs: Money Saving Hacks for Woodworking Part 6

Natural edge or live edge lumber has become a quite a trend in the past few years and many lumber stores are now offering a variety of species that are either single or double sided live edge. Unlike purchasing ordinary lumber, and selecting it for grain, color, and type of cut, natural edge lumber is unique because every board is different.

Often the cost of this natural edge lumber is premium priced, and of course, there are all sorts of different choices in how the edges look so, first of all, finding a piece you like at any one of the lumber stores who offer it, then getting the optimum usage from that natural edge plank is imperative. 

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/qz6UjJoRKVc

Probably more than any other kind of lumber, you really need to have a good idea what you are going to make and the dimensions of it before you even start looking for natural edge lumber ... unless of course, you are just buying lumber on "spec" which I do from time to time, then hope it will fit what I want to do with it when the time comes ... I still have some pieces that haven't found a use yet ... but one day  .... one day ....

Making a 3 Legged Milking Stool

Sometimes I like to make things just for the experience of learning how to make them, which is exactly what I did with this Milking Stool. I have made some stools in the past but not like this one, and so I understand the techniques and how the spline wedges that will hold the legs in place need to be placed at 90 degrees to the angle of the grain of the top of stool otherwise the pressure will often crack or split the seat of the stool.
What I had never done before was to use Arbutus or Madrone or even Madrona as it is also sometimes called, (species name- Arbutus Menziesii) in making the legs. Working with Arbutus is always a challenge, and in this case the wood was aq bit green so I wanted to see just how it turned and how much shrinkage there would be when it dries.


Watch this and other similar videos on YouTube - https://youtu.be/ynQN1Yfa28M

I have worked a bit with Arbutus in the past. When it is dry it is very hard and tends to be chippy to work with. In my experience it doesn't often crack as it dries, as long as it is allowed to dry slowly, and depending on the thickness, this can take months or even years to air dry fully. It's that dense a wood.

Making 2 Arts and Crafts Style Bedside Tables

I  can't remember the first time I saw Arts and Crafts style furniture, but it was love at first sight. I'm sure I must have been 9 or 10 years old, I didn't even know it had a name, I just loved the furniture that my Grandparents had ... and as it turns out, it was Arts and Crafts furniture. I wish I had it now.
There is a huge following of people like me who love the look of this bold, square furniture. In this video I am making a pair of bedside tables from the plans from a book by Robert W. Lang called "More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture" - 30 Stickley Designs for Every Room in the Home. ISBN 13 - 978-1-892836-14-4 and should be quite widely available in book stores and often in better woodworking stores as well. I do not know where the drawings came from or how they got into this book. I have not been able to find a picture of these exact bedside tables so perhaps they are in a private collection somewhere, but I would love to see what the Stickley version of these look like.

Watch this and other similar videos on YouTube - https://youtu.be/FBI6U55_sy8

Although not in the traditon of A&C, the tables I made will feature some splated alder that I collected myself from the forsest ... you can watch that VIDEO HERE


Watch this and other similar videos on YouTube - https://youtu.be/GB9Z3L0Ie1M

Like most Stickley furniture, in an ideal world, these should be made from Red Oak but in my case I used Red Alder as that is what I had on hand and it's a wood I love to work with ...

Building a Natural Edge Wooden Sitting Bench

Sitting benches have been around in various forms for perhaps thousands of years. They may well have been one of the first forms of formal seating as they can be made from very basic materials and utilize a many different kinds of options for legs or supports. I have long held a love of live edge wood and try to incorporate it in as many things as I can, and especially when the project lends itself to using this kind of wood. This build, the natural edge sitting bench has been on my list for quite some time but finding the right piece of wood for the top was more elusive than I expected.  When I spotted this spalted maple, live edge board I immediately envisioned a sitting bench with contrasting woods.

 
Watch this and other similar videos on YouTube - https://youtu.be/Rduh4YoFPZU

The board was still fairly wet when I purchased it and wasn't much longer than it is now so I didn't have a lot of wood to waste on the ends. It already had a small crack in one end when I got it, but hoped that drying it slowly would preseve the crack from creeping. .... It did not .... the crack continued to grow as the board dried ...

Make a Wall Mount Tissue Dispenser

For me, woodworking is about building things and having fun doing it. I'm lucky in that most of the things I build are items that I have choosen to make, but once in a while I get requests for things that are either hard to find or are not easily available other than to have someone build them. This seemingly simple tissue dispenser turned out to be a lot of fun, I got to use a whole range of tools, even on this small build, and I did something I have never done before which is to purchase commercially available molding and use it for creating or augmenting something  I build.
I have seldom spent much time looking at molding in the lumber store and was surprised and how little variety there was when it comes to wide material with any kind of sculpture design. There was lots of plain molding, but not much in the "fancy" category, but I selected a couple that I thought might work. One was a baseboard molding which I  finally decided against, the other was a crown molding piece molding with a bit more charcter to it.

Watch this and other similar videos on YouTube - https://youtu.be/g0wrzAfsauc

My challenge was to make a wall mount kleenex or tissue holder and dispenser and someone even gave me a tiny picture as an idea to help me with the build. I had no idea on sizes so went out to purchase a tissue box. To my amazement there are many different kinds and all sorts of different boxes, and none of them exactly the same ... similar, but not the same. I decided the best way to do this was to build for the largest tissue box and that way it would accomodate the smaller boxes too.

Making a Splayed Leg Side Table

Some furniture pieces are timeless and such is the case with these little splayed leg side tables. They are still as popular today as they were decades ago and little has changed. They seem to fit many decors with their tapered legs and small size, they can easily fit in a blank corner, or become a stand or showcase for artworks, plants or pictures, and they are not difficult to build despite their somewhat complicated look with the splayed legs.
Like all small tables, these want to at a comfortable "sitting height" which puts them around the 24 to 25 inch height so they are comfortable to use for anyone sitting down, which is another reason they are often called side tables, as in a table beside a chair or sofa. Most of what I have seen have been a solid color for whatever the wood they were build with, but in my  case I decided to make something a bit more showy by making the legs and the top of different colors.

 
Watch this and other similar videos on YouTube - https://youtu.be/n6gszgwQQG0

I stared off with the legs that were 25 inches long and 1.25 inches square. I set these up on my tapering jig on my table saw so that the blade would leave about a 3/4 ionch square at the bottom and disengage from the top at of the leg about 6 inches from the top. then carried on a cut all 4 legs with this taper.

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