I love Quilting

August 02, 2012

I really do enjoy fine, handmade quilts. The patterns and texture of fabrics carefully arranged into infinite varieties of patterns and the incredibly detailed stitching that hold them all together is quite remarkable. But what I really love is quilted wood.

Some of the most intense quilted wood can be found here in Oregon from what is commonly called  Big Leaf Maple. When I first saw the flitch cut section of tree, I thought it was from a Big Leaf Maple. The owner had been storing the wood for a special project but unfortunately he never got the chance to bring out its latent beauty. I bought it from his wife and told her I would try to use it well. After further investigation I determined that it was actually Madrone or Arbutus menziesii. It was rough cut but had evidence of some nice quilt figure. This has been a bit of re-introduction to the wood I am using for the panels.

Unfortunately, the wood was not wide enough to get single, whole width panels from but since it was flitch cut I was hoping to get some nice matched panels anyway. I surfaced the madrone  and you can read about it here: The Plane Truth. The next step was to joint the edges and glue them into panels. I used a Stanley #7 to true up the edges of two boards at a time.

Since I managed to lose my pictures of the next steps I will just simply say that after carefully edge jointing the panels I glued them together using Titebond #2 and allowed them to dry. I have been running exceedingly short on time lately so rather than using a panel saw and plane to square up the panels I used a panel cutting jig on my table saw  and I used a dado cutter to make the initial rabbets for the back side and a cove cutting router bit for the raised panel section.  There I said it. I was fully inclined to use only hand tools but the dark side grabbed me when I wasn't strong enough to resist. Maybe that is why there are no pictures. I did try to use some round planes to cut my coves but when I was going cross grain i was getting so much tear out that I gave up. I need to learn how to put the finest of tune-ups on my round plane. I have my order in for Matt Bickford's new book on Molding Planes. Maybe for my next project!

I finished the panels with a sealer coat of super blond shellac and then applied several coats of an oil varnish mixture. (These are the back sides of the panels so the grain does not match as well)

I am sorry these pictures are not the best. But stay tuned, they will get better!

If you are interested in highly figured wood from the Northwest area be sure to check out Northwest Timber they have some crazy stuff.

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