Finding the Desk Parts

Two months have passed since I last wrote about the desk project. The black walnut planks for the desktop have been equilibrating to the shop atmosphere. The client has had an opportunity to see the planks in person, and all systems are go as I begin to shape the wood. I used a jig saw to cut the desktop planks to rough length.

You may have noticed all the letters marked on the planks. These are the reference points I used while monitoring the moisture content of the wood. The goal was to ensure that the wood had fully equilibrated its moisture content relative to the conditions in the shop. The meter I'm using below is noninvasive, allowing me to take measurements without damaging the wood.

Below you can see the twenty-two data points measured each day over the last two months. The moisture has been stable for almost two weeks, so things are looking good. The actual moisture content isn't particularly important, only that it has leveled off.

I thought the bark was going to be a real bear to remove, but it turns out that jarring it with light blows from a small hammer was all it took to remove 99% of it. It will require some touch-up, but it's looking good so far.

There are several areas where the insects have gotten under the bark and done a fair amount of tunneling. I'll need to soften these edges, but I plan to retain all of these natural features as much as possible. I'll only smoothen them enough to prevent clothing from getting snagged on wayward wood fibers.

This is where it gets interesting. The desktop slabs have cupped a bit more than I had hoped while they dried, however, upon studying the situation, I realized that if I removed a portion of the convex surface first, that this would allow the plank to relax back to a flatter profile. I did just that on the Forest Products Supply CNC machine, and I  couldn't be more pleased with the results. I'll be setting the planks aside for the time being and do the final flattening when I am closer to having the stand completed.

Here are the planks I'm pulling parts from for the desk stand. They are all from the same section of log.

After some careful mapping of the planks, I'm ready to begin cutting.

A combination of jig saw and band saw were used to cut the planks.

I'll further refine these roughed-out parts in stages over the next few days, letting them settle for a bit after each time I mill them down, closer and closer to their final sizes.

The color and grain in the black walnut is beautiful. I love it when a plan comes together.

Hej då, and happy shavings!

Craig