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Old 06-12-2010, 11:55 AM   #16
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wood slab for kitchen island


Jeremy, the wood will eventually dry with a slight curve on one side. If you can post a pic looking right at the end grain, I should be able to tell you which way it will go.

In any event, the side which is going to curve should face up. That way you don't end up with sitting water on it.

I see that there is some canker on the slab, completely normal for madrone.

I have loads of arbutus slabs here and at least half of them have the canker. It can look quite alright when it's finished.

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Old 06-12-2010, 01:23 PM   #17
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Jeremy, the wood will eventually dry with a slight curve on one side. If you can post a pic looking right at the end grain, I should be able to tell you which way it will go.

In any event, the side which is going to curve should face up. That way you don't end up with sitting water on it.

I see that there is some canker on the slab, completely normal for madrone.

I have loads of arbutus slabs here and at least half of them have the canker. It can look quite alright when it's finished.
Here are some photos of the end, where the "up" side is the one with more knots/defects. I just heard from the guy who sold it to me and he says it probably doesn't matter which side is up on this one because it is so close to the center, but let me know what you think.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:33 PM   #18
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I prefer the look of the less blemished side, but the differences in the photos may be contributing to that.

What is the stuff they use to finish butcher block? Is there a reason you are wanting a more "substantial" finish on this piece? I'm not questioning your ideas, I'm just curious.

What ever way you go I think this is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen.

Mind if I ask how much that piece cost you?
As for finishing, I'm really concerned about sealing in (and out) all moisture. Our house is in the redwoods, with thick fog and high humidity much of the time, and a pellet stove for heat in the winter (which sucks the moisture out of the air). So, I figure wooden boats must do a good job of sealing out moisture... Plus, I have some experience working with epoxy.

How much did it cost? I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Or is it, "then my wife would have to kill me"? Actually, I'm hesitant to say because I think I got a great deal and the guy who sold it has some more from the same tree that I'd like to get. So, I'll only tell you if you promise to say that it's outrageously expensive---just in case the seller reads this forum. Agreed? OK, so it was $360 plus tax and shipping. Fortunately, the seller is in Oregon and he makes regular trips to my area (Bay Area of California) to deliver redwood, so shipping was only $100. My total cost was $500.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:03 PM   #19
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Jeremy:

Having consumed many barrels of epoxy in the past !!
Wow! I'm a whiskey man myself!

Yep, awesome piece of wood. A few years back a friend of mine bought something similar and made an awesome bbq/bar out of it. Wish I had taken pics
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:45 PM   #20
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Thanks for explaining that. I figured there was a reason.

I too would want to protect the heck outta that piece of wood. And yes, it is a lot cheaper than I expected.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:03 PM   #21
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That is a nice piece of wood, I think the price is reasonable
Had a cousin who used to cut pine slabs when he was younger & make coffe tables from them
No idea what he sealed them with
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:16 PM   #22
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Jeremy, the slab is indeed cut very close to the center of the tree. If you look in the middle of the slab, you will notice that it has the curves of the grain with the cup facing up.

The edges of the grain are straight enough that you shouldn't expect much, if any movement, on the outside.

What happens is this. The curved sections of the grain will try to straighten themselves out as they dry. As that happens, the middle of the board will rise upward a small amount. The area in question is quite small, so I don't think you should expect much movement.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:28 PM   #23
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Jeremy, the slab is indeed cut very close to the center of the tree. If you look in the middle of the slab, you will notice that it has the curves of the grain with the cup facing up.

The edges of the grain are straight enough that you shouldn't expect much, if any movement, on the outside.

What happens is this. The curved sections of the grain will try to straighten themselves out as they dry. As that happens, the middle of the board will rise upward a small amount. The area in question is quite small, so I don't think you should expect much movement.
So, if I'm reading this correctly, ideally it should be oriented the way it is in those end grain pictures?

Also, I'm just curious as to what you see in the wood that indicates canker. I see some little black spots, but that's mostly just on the "good" side, and I don't know think those are really visible in the picture I posted.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:33 PM   #24
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Can anyone suggest a good way to get the bark off of the edge? I want to have a "live" edge, but it's taken me forever to get the bark reasonably well stripped from one edge---and the other edge has a lot more bark. I've been using a chisel and a wire brush (the kind that attaches to a drill). It's very slow and tedious.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:03 AM   #25
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So, if I'm reading this correctly, ideally it should be oriented the way it is in those end grain pictures?

Also, I'm just curious as to what you see in the wood that indicates canker. I see some little black spots, but that's mostly just on the "good" side, and I don't know think those are really visible in the picture I posted.
Yes, it's the right way up.

From the photo, it looks like the black marks might be small irregularly shaped holes. If so, that is canker. Can you get a direct pic tomorrow maybe of the black spots? I can take some pics here to show you what it develops into. Once the tree is cut, I believe that growth ceases.

The canker attacks essentially every madrone/arbutus tree in the Pacific northwest. The trees will continue to grow as though nothing is wrong, sometimes up to 100 feet in this area, very large trees, such as the slab you have might come from. I have been told that in Oregon and Washington there are even larger trees.

Here, in southern B.C. we are getting close to the northern limit of the tree. I don't know how far south it grows.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:07 AM   #26
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Can anyone suggest a good way to get the bark off of the edge? I want to have a "live" edge, but it's taken me forever to get the bark reasonably well stripped from one edge---and the other edge has a lot more bark. I've been using a chisel and a wire brush (the kind that attaches to a drill). It's very slow and tedious.
Jeremy, I don't know if this will work for your slab.

But here at the sawmills, they use high pressure water to remove bark prior to cutting. We do not cut madrone commercially here, but all the softwoods have their bark removed this way.

So, you might try a pressure washer. Somehow, maybe by taping some 6 mil poly to the slab, you would want to keep the water off the faces.

Alternately, I wonder if a heat gun would make the bark curl up and be easier to remove? Kind of grasping at straws here.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:30 AM   #27
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You need one of these rasps you can attach to a drill.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:34 AM   #28
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I think one of these old draw knifes would help too.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:08 AM   #29
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You can remove bark with a draw knife, as suggested, a sharp scraper (steel), or a block plane if you are careful. They all work well. I have never used a rasp, I suppose it would work, but I would be a little concerned about excess gouging with a rasp. A Surform with a curved rasp bottom might work.

As for the surface, I built a kitchen island top out of 2" thick cherry. I finished it with three coats of polyurethane, covered with butchers wax. I have no idea if butchers wax is considered food safe, I doubt it, but I don't prepare food on the island, simply eat there, so I am not too concerned. I have used West systems epoxy to build kayak and canoe paddles, it is a great product, but I have never used it for kitchen or furniture projects, not saying it would not work, simply have no experience with that type of application
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:12 AM   #30
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Yes, it's the right way up.

From the photo, it looks like the black marks might be small irregularly shaped holes. If so, that is canker. Can you get a direct pic tomorrow maybe of the black spots? I can take some pics here to show you what it develops into. Once the tree is cut, I believe that growth ceases.

The canker attacks essentially every madrone/arbutus tree in the Pacific northwest. The trees will continue to grow as though nothing is wrong, sometimes up to 100 feet in this area, very large trees, such as the slab you have might come from. I have been told that in Oregon and Washington there are even larger trees.

Here, in southern B.C. we are getting close to the northern limit of the tree. I don't know how far south it grows.
The black marks are not holes, but just small blotchy blemishes on the surface. The strange thing is that they are only on one side of the slab. When the light is a little better, and I get the energy to turn it over, I'll post a picture.

Btw, we have lots of madrone/arbutus trees here. In fact, the main road thru our neighborhood is Madrone Drive. However, they don't seem to get as large as the one this slab came from---or at least that would be extremely rare. It's an interesting tree that contorts itself into all kinds of weird shapes trying to get to the limited sun beneath the redwood/douglas fir canopy. As far as I can tell, around these parts, madrone trees only get used for firewood---kind of a shame for such a beautiful hardwood.

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