Living On The Edge

So, I’ve stepped into a different realm of woodworking now and it has completely taken a hold of me. Live edge pieces have always been such a huge goal of mine to eventually get too. Whenever I was at the wood stores I would always admire the big slabs of wood, the only problem was the price. I drive by a house right around the corner from my place and I’ve sensed my own kind for quite a while. He had massive logs sitting on his front lawn and a big workshop. I finally just drove up and got a hold of him. Sure enough, his whole shop was filled with live edge slabs of all local salvaged wood. Something I really admired. The next best part was the price. He was very reasonably priced and he’s a really great guy to boot. Much better than the assholes I usually deal with at the local wood store.

Here is the link to his site: Paccione Construction

I had to buy something while I was there. I felt like it was a mortal sin to leave without a piece of wood. I found a reasonably sized piece of walnut and I thought I could build something out of it. I started thinking of some ideas and I settled on building a hanging light for my living room. I thought I could take the live edge slab, suspend some edison lights from it and then suspend everything from the ceiling.

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I cut off the end of it into 2 separate pieces just so I was left with a fairly uniform piece to make the light out of. Once I cut the pieces I figured I could make some cutting/serving boards out of them. I couldn’t run this through the planer and I don’t have a router sled (yet) so I thought I would put my hand planes and my arms to good use.

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I started using my new scrub plane that I got over christmas. I’ve used it a bit but what a huge difference it is having this plane. Makes incredibly short work out of cleaning up the drastic bulge in the center of the board. I followed up with my jack plane to level it all out and then finished it off with my smoothing plane. It cleaned up beautifully!

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I left the bark on it while I planed it just in case I thought I would like to keep it on but I eventually removed it and was a lot happier with it removed. I just dug it out with a thick chisel and then cleaned it up with my orbital sander. I think a drawknife would make quick work of this but unfortunately I don’t have one (yet).

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Here are the two slabs all cleaned up and ready to be made into the cutting/serving boards. I also still had to plane down the bottoms. The tops I left with a bit of organic curves, edges to them but the bottom I tried to get as level as possible so I could cut grooves for some feet as well as making sure they would sit level on a surface.

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I ran the board through the table saw to make shallow dadoes so that I could put a couple strips of 3/4″ walnut in. This part was fun and I kind of just winged it, but it turned out great. I just traced the outline of the live edge and then just tapered off the feet. I used a coping saw to give me the curve. I have a small bandsaw but because the curve isn’t consistent from side to side it would’ve been a little tricky on the bandsaw. I glued them in place and then used the orbital sander to flush up the feet with the slab.

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Getting glued up!

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Final touch was to finish it up with some butcher block oil (mineral oil). I don’t have any beeswax on hand but I’ll be getting some to finish it up completely.

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And here they are both finished up and in place as they were on the tree. My wife loved it so we’re saving one for ourself. I still have a fairly large piece of walnut from this and I think I’m going to make a couple more of these. If anyone is interested, I will probably make 3 or 4 more of them for sale.

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