From Slab to Stock | LONG FORM WOODWORKING VIDEO
- Published on Mar 5, 2018
- This is a long-form video (there will be a short-form version, too) to show exactly what I do, from start to finish, to get a large live-edge walnut slab ready for use, taking it "from slab to stock"--well almost. I go through nearly every step, live and (almost entirely) uncut. The only cuts I made were to cut out my walking around the shop and something I said at one point when I misspoke, but for all intents and purposes, every saw and plane stroke is captured on camera.
Now, a blunder I made is not bringing the slab down to a consistent thickness. I should have taken my time more to inspect which side I would use to make my reference side. By not doing this, I started by flattening what would end up being the NON-reference side. So I added a LOT of work to the process. Because of this, I had to flip over to the other side, flatten it and whatnot, and in the future, I will have to go back and bring the "waste" side down to a consistent thickness by referencing off the second side I planed.
Now, if this turns out to be a slab that I have to cut up into smaller pieces, I did NOT add any extra work because I would need to take those individual pieces down to their own thicknesses depending on their use in whatever piece of furniture I'm making.
Now, what exactly did I do? Here are the basic steps involved:
1. Determine a reference side by striking a chalk line and cutting.
2. Measure off that cut side to get a consistent width.
3. Strike and cut the other side.
4. Determine the best face (Yes, I SHOULD have done this, but I didn't)
5. Flatten that face using your hand planes, straight edge, and winding sticks.
6. Use marking gauges to mark a consistent thickness all the way around, measuring off of the face you just flattened.
7. Bring the other face down to the desired thickness.
NOTE: I'm pretty sure that craftspeople of old didn't take too much time to get rid of all tool marks on the surfaces that wouldn't be seen or touched (that's what I've heard on the Mortise and Tenon Magazine Podcast at least), so I wouldn't worry too much about getting the non-reference side too perfect if you are going to use it as the underside of a table top.
Please feel free to comment with HELPFUL and TACTFUL comments to help me and others out with similar processes in their hand-tool endeavors.
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