Working with the grain

We’ve had some rough weather recently.  Here’s the River Wharfe in spate, the bankside alders are getting rather more than just their feet wet.  But today the sun came out and gave me this sunny view of the river.

I think the little birds must be a bit happier without the wind and rain:

Here’s one of the many coal tits that come to eat the sunflower seeds from the workshop bird tables.  They are fearless these days and ignore my thuds and hammerings.  This table is about 6 feet away from the workshop stove.

I’m currently making another of my rustic-style garden benches, this one’s in oak, the shavings and the work are quite different from ash, which is what I mostly work in.

Oak is somehow brittler than ash, and the shavings oxidise a pinkish tinge in the air.

I’ve split out the legs from a single log:

They then have quite a growing form as the shape is dictated by the way the log split along the grain:

After splitting I axed off the bark and sapwood, then worked them smooth with the draw knife.  The tenons are made with a Veritas tenon cutter which makes a very sound 1 1/2″ joint into a mortice in the seat made with a scotch-eye auger.  Here’s the seat before the holes are drilled.

I’m drying the leg tenons a little at home before fixing and wedging them into the mortice holes as the seat had been milled for a couple of months whereas the legs have been left “in the log”.

I also milled some ash today with some very colourful decay.  The two inch slabs must be good for table tops I reckon.

At last the days are lengthening again, and I was surprised by my own shadow as I was milling after luncheon, the sun shone through the leafless trees to the West.

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2 thoughts on “Working with the grain

  1. If you would like the fotos you take to more closely represent the image the brain “sees”, slip a lens from polaroid glasses over the camera lens. One, it will compress the range into something the sensor of the camera can send to the memory source as digital is not as broad as a good film, two it will knock down many of the highlights that are just points of light with no definition. It isn’t for every shot but your river would have better definition and outline with that help and it isn’t an expensive option which a photographic filter would be, for what it’s worth.

    • Hi Terry,

      Thanks for the hint, my photos are just snaps, but if I can improve them all the better.. I do have a polarising lens, but hardly ever use it – I originally bought it to take pictures through glass. I’ll try it next time I get some sun on the river. I knew it was going to be tricky because half the river was in sunlight and half not, which as you say, looked good to my eye.

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