Beech wood box with lid, part one

26 Sep 2015

Scavenged Beechwood project, part one

I started today on my first woodturning project that starts from the very beginning - a tree felled by a storm on my mother’s property in rural New Hampshire.

In October 2014 I cut off a 4-foot section of the trunk and brought it to my studio in Brooklyn. I let it cure outside on the fire escape for a year.

Beech log chucked up

Heh, I also put it on the fire escape because it had a lot of little bugs living in it, and I hoped to starve them out as the wood cured. Well, it seems like most of the teeny-tiny little bugs are gone, but when I was cutting the trunk into blanks (finally using the semi-terrifying portable bandsaw I bought myself with some consulting money) I saw a couple pillbugs crawl out. Hopefully this will be the last you hear about them.

I need to learn to cure wood much more competently if I continue doing this - over the course of the year the log developed some deep checking that may end up making it entirely unusable. I haven’t had a piece explode on me in awhile though, so I might as well press ahead with this one (with, of course, very conservative speeds and safety gear).

Beech blank checking

I read on the woodworking Stack Overflow about filling cracks with wood glue (Titebond III, which I happen to have on hand, is also foodsafe, which matters to me). Here are some photos of the glue stuffed into the checks; I had good luck just putting the nozzle right to the wood and applying gentle pressure until I saw glue peek out of other areas of the check.

Beech log chucked up

I’ll post more one the glue has cured and I’ve done the next couple steps.

Published on 26 Sep 2015