Sunday, 27 November 2011

Ashes to ashes

Well maybe not to ashes but certainly into the steam box.

Here is the English or Desert Ash that I split in readiness for the upcoming Continuous Arm Rocking Chair Class that we are teaching at the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking. What makes this class special apart from being a rocking chair instead of the usual arm chair is that Peter Galbert is coming out from Massachusetts in the U.S. to teach it.

In fact he will be teaching three chair classes in the time he is here, and they are all full.... Stop Press- as I was typing I've been made aware that there is one space that has become available on the Continuous Arm Rocking Chair class. If you are reading this and are interested or know someone that is, get in quick it won't last long. Go to to register your interest.

Anyway, back to the log. Ash has a good reputation as a fine wood for chair making. It turns and steam bends well and is worked easily when green, with edged tools. As you can see by the photo above it also splits very well. This 6 foot log almost popped open on the first split. A good straight log obviously helps, but this is probably the best log I have split to date.

Following the rule of thumb to always split in halves, this Ash again showed itself to be a good choice for the long continuous arm crest rails that we intend to make from it. These need to be a continuous line of grain from one end to the other. Eliminating 'grain run out' by splitting timber, ensures strength after being steamed and bent around the bending form. So here is the raw product, from the tree, in a few weeks I'll post the results of the 12 crest rails that have come from it and will be put into 12 beautiful hand made windsor rocking chairs.

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