Bushlore Topics > Woodcrafts, Carving and Art

Some of my woodwork

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Alan R McDaniel Jr:

When I'm prepping mesquite logs for the mill I try to cut off the limb bumps and make these.  #1 wife has first refusal.  She hasn't let very many go.

Mesquite bench with walnut legs.  My dad actually started this bench and died before he completed it.  I finished it out.

another view of the same bench.  The small bowl on the book is another one of mine.

I use a lancelot tool for the rough shaping and then work to progressively smaller grinding wheels until the final sanding.  The sanding is what takes the most time because none of the surfaces are uniform.  I left the piece on the side of the top bowl to give kind of a waterfall look.

I also made the tressle table that the bowl is sitting on.  It is cypress from an old cistern from our ranch.  It had long ago served its purpose and had fallen down.  One of my predecessors had stapled chicken wire to the inside and grouted it to get another 20 or so years of use out of it.  I could not get all the staples out and it was Hell on planer blades getting it planed.  It was tapered, random width and beveled also.  I worked with alternating ends to get it sorta square and had to jointer every piece on both sides to remove the bevel.  Seems like I'd hit a staple on every pass.  I planed it down below the staples, sharpened the blades and ran it through one more time.  #1 wife wants me to refinish the top after raising three boys and having grandkids beating on it with silverware.  I jsut can't seem to bring myself to wipe out those marks. 

I love trees and love wood.  Mankind did himself a great disservice when he stopped making his everyday things out of wood. Plastics do nothing to bring us closer to the Earth.


Old Philosopher:
Nice work!  I agree with you about the "battle scars" on the table.  They tell a story, and are the legacy of a family heirloom.

Nice stuff Alan.  Really like the bench.

We don't cut many trees either.  Some of them along the property line are full of fence staples or nails and play hell with my chainsaws and anything else you cut them with.   

Alan R McDaniel Jr:
For my woodworking I used trees that have been down for a while.  That way there is minimal drying time.  I a live mesquite tree is cut for lumber and you don't have a kiln, it takes many years to dry even in south Texas conditions.  A dead downed tree was drying before it fell and it'll lay on the ground for lots of years before I find it.  People ask me all the time if I want trees they've cut out of fence lines or from around old barns or houses.  I very politely and graciously offer to take the tree but tell them that I won't cut it for lumber because of the possibility of nails, staples, and such, not to mention a horse shoe or two that got stuck in the crotch of a young tree and then grew over.  It only takes one nail or piece of barbed wire to ruin a bandsaw blade.

I was cutting a dead oak tree for firewood once with a chainsaw and saw sparks.  I pulled the bar out of the cut and the chain was mangled.  I sharpened it and tried from the other direction.  The chain was toast but I finally gnawed through the tree.  The culprit was a steel core from an AP round.  Long ago, someone, was shooting milsurp ammo and hit the tree.  It sat there and waited for me to cut through it at that exact place.  An inch higher or lower and I'd never have known it was there.

#1 son cuts trees for a living and sells firewood.  He uses carbide tipped chainsaw blades for most work.  for fenceline trees he puts on junk chains.  Those big carbide tipped blades will run $80- $100 and all it takes is one nail to turn them into scrap iron.  They can't be sharpened.

I'll cut a live tree if it is dangerous or is genuiney in the way.  Otherwise, it grows.


Awesome looking work.  It is so great that you were able to finish the bench that your Dad started.


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