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An Interesting Slab

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  • An Interesting Slab

    While visiting a friend you're offered a slab of cut wood. It looks nice. Your friend thinks it's some form of cherry. You've never carved cherry wood before - -

    So you take a piece home. Now what?

    Here's a slab of "cherry" that I was given a week ago. It is 2 inches thick and about 5 feet long - rough, with bark on the edges. Before I think about what to carve, I need to assess just what I have. I try a few trial cuts with my tools (gouges) - fairly hard, but cuts cleanly. Not completely dry. There are a few checks (cracks). Is it done, or is this just the start of the process of stress relief? I will need to watch it for a few weeks, maybe months, and seal the ends (or entire surface) if the checking continues. When was it cut? (Don't know.)

    Maybe I should cut a piece from one end and try carving something. It may "self-destruct" or it may turn out nicely. I'll let you know.


  • #2
    I would cut off and seal the ends. Then let it sit for awhile and see what develops.
    Keep On Carvin'
    Bob K.

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    • #3
      Call me nuts but I would sand and finish it and leave it just like it is. I am crazy about the beauty of the grain.
      Every day should be unwrapped like a precious gift.


      • #4
        Yes, Papasar, I see a lot of "free-style" side tables with slab tops. Often the defects are filled with clear resin with bits of turquoise. Good idea!


        • #5
          I wouldn't hurry. I don't quite see anything in the wood yet.
          Paint some glue on the ends and take your time looking at it.
          What's on the back? Bark or another sawn surface?
          You will see something. Maybe not so soon.
          Brian T


          • #6
            It's a rough sawn surface on the back. I did see a cutoff nail in the middle - managed to pull that out. Phil


            • #7
              Very sinuous. Turn it end-for-end for a while. Organic, maybe body form.
              Very nice piece to contemplate ( do nothing and call it a master piece?
              Brian T


              • #8
                The bottom end looks like it has core or cracks down the softer core. The top seems stable being sawed off center. Seal the ends. Most moisture goes that way. In / out. Nominal out the length. I speak of turning wood and picking up firewood and using it. I have some O-sage Orange - Horse Apple - That yellow wood that is hard. It took 15 years to stabilize from a 4" limb. I put it on my metal lathe and turned a spindle cylinder and took it off keeping the ends sealed and it seems solid. Now something to do with it. But it is ready for someone.


                • #9
                  It would make great flat clocks, benches, tables, etc. Love the grain. You could also do some pyrography on it. Carving would be near the bottom of my suggestions.

                  Of course, my brother would use it in the fireplace. Caught him burning cherry and black walnut...smells nice, he said.
                  Living among knives and fire.



                  • #10
                    Hi Phil , I have a Slab of Wood that is similar to yours . I don't know the kind of Wood it is but it is Heavy. Mine is about 4 Ft. long and 5" thick. It is dry and has a Knot in the Middle , it looks like it would be nice Grain when made into a Carving , but cutting into pieces is a Problem. Someday I'll get the Son-n-law with a Chain Saw to cut it in sections. When I saw your Slab it reminded of Mine. Take a look , What do you think ? Merle 1-IMG_0024-001.JPG2-IMG_0025-001.JPG


                    • #11
                      Wow Merle - very similar. I was given a large chunk of sycamore a few years ago. I cut it into slabs with my chainsaw, then into turning rounds on a bandsaw. I turned several plate blanks that I later used for chip carving.

                      For this slab I want to use at least part for carving - maybe a stylized animal. Most of it may become a table, with the tapered legs tenoned all the way thru and wedged.


                      • #12
                        Hi Phil, we are thinking along the same Lines . It would make a Great Bench , all that's needed is Legs and a lot of Sanding . Our Slabs look similar and my Barber gave me this Slab and didn't know what type of Wood. I'm sure we will find a good use for these Gifts from our Friends in time. Merle


                        • #13
                          That slab of yours could be a variety of walnut. It's difficult to see the details of the grain, but the sapwood is clearly lighter than the heartwood. Looks like it was cut from a major crotch of the tree. The outer surface is bleached from long exposure to light, weather, etc. How does it respond to your tools?

                          My friend who gave me the cherry slab also had more than a dozen slabs of cedar, some 24 inches wide and 12 feet long. They are drying in her barn.


                          • #14
                            Hi , Phil , you are right it has been out in the Weather for years and is Bleached from the Sun. It is Hard and the Tool cuts like it might be Walnut. My Barber gave me pieces of Walnut and this might have been part of the Pile. When I cut a Chip out it didn't have a Smell at all. Maybe being out in the Weather washed the smell out .
                            My pieces were in a Shed for years to dry out but the Shed leaked , that's why the pieces that I used were Rotted on the ends , I still used them for Plaques . Thanks for your input . Merle