Amateur woodworker fighting with Live oak


Vonkrause
 Share

Recommended Posts

Thanks guys.

I am using a craftsman rotary tool (dremel essentially) with the router attachment to do the carvings. The live oak has already chewed through a diamond tipped bit and a tungsten carbide bit. So hard stuff for sure, that and I’m sure my inexperience with the material isn’t helping the bits out.

Its surprisingly difficult to find a slab of wood large enough to do a Viking chair without laminating multiple pieces together or going for a flimsy/smaller design. Seen some people use 2x10 lumber and I don’t see it lasting too long. Stuff I got is almost 2x13 after I cut the live edge off. Would of liked to keep it but it was splintered and coming apart and was only the one side.

As I have worked it I have discovered two optical illusions, the top carving is centered with less than 1/8th of an inch of error but seems WAY off center. Bothered me so much I spent ten minutes with a square measuring it to be sure. The other illusion is the line going through the wolf’s nose, that’s not a chunk missing it’s actually a black grain imperfection in the wood. It was one of the reasons I chose it to be the top part of the chair. Wanted to showcase the wild grain pattern front and center, can’t wait to oil this piece and see what comes out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, Brendon_t said:

Holy crap.   Yeah, have fun with that man. 

 

22 minutes ago, Tom King said:

It's maybe twice as hard on the Janka chart, but I don't think they had any of the really, old air-dried stuff when they were doing the testing.  That stuff is closer to granite, than wood.

Yea this stuff is DRY, it’s spent 3 years in a werehouse in Houston air drying not to mention the summers stay around 90-100’F well into the nights. It’s been a fight for every millimeter for sure, had a lot of smoke while carving which is new for me.

I didn’t know how dense it was till after I started, did a whole bunch of research on it after the fact. It’s actually how I came accross this page, someone was asking for info on live oak planks for sale back in 2012 and I posted in it as it was updated not long ago and decided to stick around after looking over the site.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, Vonkrause said:

 

Yea this stuff is DRY, it’s spent 3 years in a werehouse in Houston air drying not to mention the summers stay around 90-100’F well into the nights. It’s been a fight for every millimeter for sure, had a lot of smoke while carving which is new for me.

I didn’t know how dense it was till after I started, did a whole bunch of research on it after the fact. It’s actually how I came accross this page, someone was asking for info on live oak planks for sale back in 2012 and I posted in it as it was updated not long ago and decided to stick around after looking over the site.

Smoke while routing (Dremel) is generally a bad sign that you are building up too much heat which perfectly explains why you are chewing through bits.  Extreme heat dulls cutting edges very quickly. 

A couple thoughts to remedy would be to slow down how fast you are pushing through material, remove waste before hitting the Dremel with a bigger bit that dissipates heat faster( looks like you could is a real router with 3/16 or 1/8" straight), draw fast cool air over the bit to remove waste after cutting. With how hard it is, you very well may still have some burning but I wouldn't want to be buying a new bit for every square foot.  

Look forward to seeing the finished product

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was just listening to some Amon Amarth I think i might have to put it on again after seeing this.

I think your carving is going well. Don't worry about the illusion on off center or the wolf nose. They don't pop out as being defects or mistakes to me they look right. In my opinion having it look too perfect will look bad. A lot of viking stuff was made with crude ish tools.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Live Oak, used to be used for the keels and ribs of the old sailing and war ships in the 17th and 18 century. They used it because it was so hard, and it's somewhat repellent to water.  That's because of the density.  Keep your sharpening stones close, your gonna need them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Brendon_t said:

Smoke while routing (Dremel) is generally a bad sign that you are building up too much heat which perfectly explains why you are chewing through bits.  Extreme heat dulls cutting edges very quickly. 

A couple thoughts to remedy would be to slow down how fast you are pushing through material, remove waste before hitting the Dremel with a bigger bit that dissipates heat faster( looks like you could is a real router with 3/16 or 1/8" straight), draw fast cool air over the bit to remove waste after cutting. With how hard it is, you very well may still have some burning but I wouldn't want to be buying a new bit for every square foot.  

Look forward to seeing the finished product

I’ve been learning a lot as I work with this piece, starting at a higher point and letting gravity sink the bit to depth seems to work better than trying to go at it like a router. It’s not as precise but my 3rd bit seems to be doing better for it. The material is so dense any pressure at the current depth on the walls of the cut cause a little whiff of smoke. As it is right now I think I have found a happy medium. Thanks for the tips though it’s how I have learned all my woodworking knowledge. :)

1 hour ago, K Cooper said:

Justin, Welcome to the forum. Where in Houston did you source this piece?

Thank you, I got the 2 pieces as it was one plank about 15’ long and cut in two for storage from BC woodwork at 4426 Pinemont. Real small operation but I liked what I saw and the guy is a real cool dude. Love being able to keep this to a local business thing and I will be going back when others in my camping group build theirs.

bcwoodwork.com

1 hour ago, Chestnut said:

I was just listening to some Amon Amarth I think i might have to put it on again after seeing this.

I think your carving is going well. Don't worry about the illusion on off center or the wolf nose. They don't pop out as being defects or mistakes to me they look right. In my opinion having it look too perfect will look bad. A lot of viking stuff was made with crude ish tools.

It looks slightly off but like you said it’s to be expected to a certain extent and I know due to measurements it’s good it’s just funny how the grain has forced the illusions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Vonkrause said:

It looks slightly off but like you said it’s to be expected to a certain extent and I know due to measurements it’s good it’s just funny how the grain has forced the illusions.

I get entertained when that happens. I built a cabinet and the panels gave the illusion that the whole thing was curved.

Trash Storage 005 Share.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh wow that is tripy! That level of woodworking is out of my realm of experience and tools for the moment but the goal is to get to that level. Looks great.

Closest I’ve gotten was a pallet pantry I made several years ago. It has issues and some things aren’t square. Learned a lot and it serves its purpose since our house has no pantry. Biggest thing I learned was dowles should be drilled out with some kind of jig. I somehow got the top close enough freehand drilling to make it work.

88C428AF-8765-447E-84CA-E0FA9C49E17C.jpeg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cleaning your bits frequently will extend their useful life. A soak in Simple Green or a  commercially available blade cleaner then a quick scrub with a toothbrush will get the resin build up off. Resin build up adds to heat that dulls edges. If you have a couple of bits in play switching to a fresh one lets you keep working while the other gets to soak (or wait then do both).

Very interesting project ! Please keep posting your progress.

You might get some more use from your old bits by cleaning them but if they are beyond saving it's at least a little practice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For having burned bits you're managing to avoid having burned wood, which is something. The carving looks great & I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the chair. As for the pallet furniture, you are obviously  capable of far better stuff :) 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

While that's some hard wood, it's not the hardest hardwood. It's definitely not normal for wood to chew through carbide so quickly.  suggestions:

- Do shallower passes moving faster to minimize heat

- Clean the bits as frequently as you can, and definitely as soon as you notice there's buildup you can't remove with your fingernails

- Don't bother with diamond bits for wood, they'll just overheat and the bonding will fall off. Keep the carbide.

 

The carvings are looking great!

5 hours ago, Chestnut said:

I was just listening to some Amon Amarth I think i might have to put it on again after seeing this.

Same here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, RichardA said:

Live Oak, used to be used for the keels and ribs of the old sailing and war ships in the 17th and 18 century. They used it because it was so hard, and it's somewhat repellent to water.  That's because of the density.  Keep your sharpening stones close, your gonna need them.

They also used it as cladding on the outside, so cannon balls would bounce off.   Old Ironsides didn't have iron cladding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well After many hours, 20 minutes with the jigsaw, another 30 with a rasp and a bunch of sanding later I have the final pieces made and tested. I still have MANY hours of sanding to go and I still need to oil it but as of right now it’s officially a working camp chair

BF3707D5-CE46-4505-B3EF-9717FBB1B000.jpeg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, wdwerker said:

Any rounding of corners and scooping of the seat to be done ? Looks very good so far !

I plan on sanding the edges and corners to prevent damage to people and things. Thinking of keeping the square looking seat though, not sure about butt scoops yet. I sat in it for about 15 minutes and as it is it’s surprisingly comfortable for a hunk of wood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Who's Online   4 Members, 0 Anonymous, 146 Guests (See full list)

  • Forum Statistics

    29.8k
    Total Topics
    405.1k
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    22498
    Total Members
    3644
    Most Online
    ekatz
    Newest Member
    ekatz
    Joined