Stock preparation / what do we discard?

Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Stock preparation / what do we discard?

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #7661
    Florian
    Participant

    Hello,

    after rereading the short chapter on wood and it’s properties in Paul’s Book I realised that I might have taken wood that was not adequate for making a cabinet. My recent project was a huge box out of pine. I started with a rough board with bark and I only took as much off the width to get parallel along the length.

    Now I read that we usually discard all the sapwood and wonder if the box I made will suffer from that because I took the full width?

    Yesterday I bought a rough board of european larch for my next project. Before the start I wanted to be sure if I was on the wrong path with the pine box.

    Best regards

    Florian

    I enjoy working wood in Germany.

    #7663
    George Bridgeman
    Participant

    I’m interested to see what others say about this. I’m reading “The Foundations of Better Woodworking” right now and the author says that, other than colour, there’s little difference between sapwood and heartwood when building furniture, at least in hardwoods.

    The sapwood is responsible for transferring water, sap and other resources around the tree. The heartwood is the structural part of the tree responsible for keeping it upright. Once the tree is felled and dried, there’s little difference between the two.

    Quoting: “After a certain number of years have added more and more outer layers, the now-inner layers transition from being active transporters of nutrients to more of a structural role in the tree. This defines the difference between sapwood (the active transport component near the bark) and heartwood (the inner, structural wood), which often have different colors both in the tree and in the wood. While this difference is functionally significant in the tree, and can result in very different relative moisture levels between heartwood and sapwood in a freshly cut board, by the time the board is dried, the differences are mostly cosmetic.”.

    (It’s a really good book, by the way – I’m about half way through it and have learned a lot already).

    Hope this helps!

    George.

    "To know and not do is to not know"

    #7664
    JerryH
    Participant

    Interesting point, I await to hear from the more experienced members as I have no clue as to the potential pitfalls of using Sapwood. I would guess that sap wood may move more than heartwood but then that is not based on any facts that I know of at my level of experience.

    #7666
    Florian
    Participant

    Thanks, George! Considering planing I found that the lighter sapwood in pine planed a lot easier than the wood towards the center where the beautiful texture is. Before christmas I had to fell a small yew *in the garden of my mother because the administration of the house found it was not suitable (….) and I experimented a little bit with the green wood and made two bows with my nephews. I liked the huge contrast between light and dark. It was two thin for getting reasonable boards but I put it to dry to make some nice bows when the wood is ready.

    *an eldery man was passing by and offered his chain saw and couldn’t understand why I thankfully refused 😉 then another man came past and asked what I was planning to do with the trunk. I said he could have it if he liked and so he came in and we sawed together. Although the saw was a little dull this worked really well!

    I enjoy working wood in Germany.

    #7668
    Justjoe
    Participant

    Without purposefully trying to bring Sam Maloof up in every conversation, I read somewhere that he uses sapwood in his furniture. I know that the sapwood is usually less resilient to rot and disease. All the disease fighting things, cant remember what there called, are for the most part kept in the heartwood. So perhaps sapwood is fine on indoor furniture, as it appears to have adequate strength, but not on outside furniture as it could be more prone to rot? Maybe.

     

    Lincolnshire, England
    www.joesleightwoodworker.co.uk

    #7669
    Joseph Sellers
    Keymaster

    I would not say I am an expert on this topic but I would make a couple of points.

    1, ‘Sapwood’ varies tremendously from variety to variety. In some woods the sapwood is a totally different texture from the heartwood and I have seen cases where some woods separate along the line where the sapwood meets the heartwood.

    2, In Pine there is a large amount of sapwood and although there does seem to be a noticeable difference in texture and density I have never seen a structural problem caused by use of sapwood. In all woods you should account for the sometimes huge change in colour that can take place when using sapwood. Sometimes when you are constructing a piece the wood may look visually quite even with little difference in colour between the the sapwood and the hardwood. However, as the wood ages and changes colour (as pretty much every wood I have ever worked with does) the sapwood may not change much in colour while the heartwood can change dramatically.

    This can be especially striking in woods like Walnut where I have seen it very successfully fixed by staining the whole project with walnut stain. Initially this seems silly because the wood is already ‘Walnut coloured’ but it means that later it stays a more even colour.

     

    I hope these points help.

    #7671
    Florian
    Participant

    Hey Joseph,

    thanks for your experience!

    Florian

    P.S.: the next stock preparation video is highly welcome 😉

    I enjoy working wood in Germany.

    #7673
    George Bridgeman
    Participant

    All the disease fighting things, cant remember what there called, are for the most part kept in the heartwood.

    Extractives?

    George.

    "To know and not do is to not know"

    #7679
    Justjoe
    Participant

    Joe Sleight wrote:
    All the disease fighting things, cant remember what there called, are for the most part kept in the heartwood.

    Extractives? George.

    Yes. Extractives. Cheers

    Lincolnshire, England
    www.joesleightwoodworker.co.uk

    #7682
    Florian
    Participant

    I started rippping the larch board this afternoon and found that I need a stronger rip saw for tasks like that. The blade seems to be a bit thin and  9 tpi is probably too fine. It started well the first 7″ than I got stuck and I drove a small wedge in the start of the cut. Then it was working pretty well again on the remaining 5 ft. How many tpi do you use for ripping thicker boards (1 1/2 and more) ?

    The wood is nice but pine smells better 🙂

    I enjoy working wood in Germany.

    #7687
    theoldraker
    Participant

    I started rippping the larch board this afternoon and found that I need a stronger rip saw for tasks like that.

    Don’t forget an ax sometimes. If I only need a bit ripped off a board, I just grab the ax, and hew it off, Scrub down a pass or 2, then plane to the line. Obviously this is only useful if your offcut is trash, but its fast as hell once you know what your doing.

    #7688
    Florian
    Participant

    I agree, Christopher. I did this too but – as you said – it’s not for the trash this time. Does anyone use a froe to split boards to width instead of ripping or is this used more to split to thickness?

    I enjoy working wood in Germany.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.