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Woodwork 

Winter 2013-2014

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Friday at Brad's Bench April 18th

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The Right Boards

 I've been planning out a bowfront wall cabinet with coopered doors for a few months. Originally, I was set on making it of walnut or cherry – two of my favorite woods to work with because they're very hand-tool friendly. I took a trip to the local lumberyard, and unfortunately, none of the walnut or cherry was very inspiring. A friend told me about some quarter-sawn, African ribbon-stripe mahogany that he'd be willing to part with, and said I should come and have a look. After a couple passes on the jointer to see what it looked like, it was clear that I had found my boards. The intensity of the colors and the subtle waves of the grain were perfect for my cabinet.

 The only drawback is that this type of mahogany, with its interlocking grain, is not as "hand-tool friendly." In fact, it screams for sandpaper! The interlocking grain is what gives these boards their shimmering, striped appearance. The problem is that with each "stripe" the grain changes direction, which is a nightmare for hand-planing. You'll see the results in an upcoming issue of American Woodworker. Wish me luck!