Step 1: Getting Started
• Section of a log
• Sandpaper (various grits starting at 80 and working up to 120 or more – depending upon the type of finish you intend to apply to the wood)
• Finish material. Depending upon the wood and the look I want to achieve I’ll use Danish Oil (neutral) or diluted polyurethane varnish.
The list of tools you will need is also pretty short:
• Bandsaw capable of cutting your log section from any angle. I use a 14” bandsaw with a 6” riser block. This allows me to slice wood that is up to 12” thick.
• Two bandsaw blades, one wide and one narrow. I typically use a 5/8” blade for the rough slicing of slabs and a 1/8” or 3/16” blade for cutting the curves.
• A sander (I use a 5” random orbital palm sander)
• A Dremel tool with a sanding drum attachment.
• A variety of clamps for the re-assembly process.
Because my customer for this box wanted only cedar heartwood, I had to split off the sapwood. If you look at the first photos you will see the heartwood of this log is a distinctive red color. The sapwood is white. Because this is cedar, the wood splits easily. I use a 1 inch wide chisel and a mallet to split the sapwood from the log.
The sapwood and bark are saved for fire starters. Yes, I feed my wood stove my scraps. The nice thing about working with wood is any mistake can feed the stove and nobody has to know how badly I messed up my first (or second) attempt.
Once the sapwood is mostly removed I’m ready to lay out the cuts I intend to make.