Diversion: Wood Extraction Attempt

There I was, milling away for the nightstand project, when I felt like I’d really like to take a break. I remembered a recent thread over at Dan’s Shop where I mused that I really ought to do something with that madrone that I had gotten back at Bagathon. My idea has been to make a handle for my “dream dovetail saw” that I’ve had in mind for a while, so I picked up a chunk, looked at it, and then fastened it to the workbench:

Now, this piece hadn’t really been properly cut or dried or anything. It’s just a piece of a log that Larry had sitting out, and by the time we got to it, it was plenty dry. Tom Holloway and I split it up and several people took pieces home. I have two of them. The other one is thinner than this one but it might be a little more straight-grained.

And so there it was, sitting on my bench, and I was wondering if its checks were too many and deep to get a piece unbroken enough for a saw handle. To find out, I started sawing. The first cut I took wasn’t too promising (pieces kept falling away), so I went in deeper:

It looked better, so I went in even deeper and got this far:

As it turns out, sawing this stuff is a pain in the butt. And I’ve been sawing beech for the last several months, and let me assure you that beech is not particularly pleasant in that respect, either.

I was far enough that I thought, hmm, maybe I have a shot at this. Maybe if it fails I can just get two smaller pieces and glue them together. But first, I wanted to split off some sections that I definitely knew were not going to be of much use to the handle but might be useful for something else. I marked them with a pencil:

Then I went outside with the wedge and small sledge (I can’t remember now, where did I get a wedge? Or the hammer?) and took a few swings. Then it occurred to me that the sound was propagating (loudly) all over the neighborhood and that it wasn’t really the time of day that I should be doing that kind of thing, so I went back inside to finish the job. I managed to find a spot that has even worse lighting than the shop, resulting in this bizarre 8-second exposure:

Hey, it worked though. I should warn you, though, that my foot is not transparent in real life.

Then I sawed away some more and now still wonder if I have enough wood in there for what I want. I know that it’s close. And I also wonder why it is that I’m doing this, exactly. After all, I have pieces of apple, cherry, as well as a near-infinite supply of beech, and I supposedly don’t care too much about the way my tools look, anyway. I think I probably just want to reduce my wood supply.

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