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View halfmoon's profile

which is a good wood for a relatively large project?

by halfmoon
posted 10-01-2020 01:59 PM


25 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3495 posts in 2711 days


#1 posted 10-01-2020 03:34 PM

I have no idea what your answer is. Most will go to the lumber yard and look to the wood for guidance I don’t see how a perfect stranger can know.
I do think it’s cool that you’re lumber yard have Deodar cedar. ( true cedar)

Good Luck

-- Aj

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2136 posts in 3706 days


#2 posted 10-01-2020 06:06 PM

Sycamore will rot quickly. The cypress in the Midwest is rot resistant, I don’t know about monterey cypress.

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1179 posts in 816 days


#3 posted 10-01-2020 07:00 PM

Why would you choose a live edge wood for carving a Celtic cross? The outline of the cross should be the edge of your carving. Re: the wood: I have a large outdoor carving that has survived nicely for twenty years. It is “Redwood” (actually Cedar) from a Big Box store. Design the cross and its placement to shed rain water.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3827 posts in 2407 days


#4 posted 10-01-2020 07:33 PM

Hmm, Let us look these up:
https://www.wood-database.com/wood-finder/

Black Acacia is generic name.
If it is ironwood, it is rock hard, tough on tools, and near indestructible outside.
If it is black wattle, has about same properties as walnut – not so good for being outside all time.

Bay Laurel is Myrtle species and not very good outdoors.

Cypress and Cedar have similar outdoor durability and bug likeability. Work OK outside. They are softer and would be easier species to carve on list.

White Oak is great outdoors, but red oak is not very good as it open pores.
Most of the S. CA oak I have seen is California black oak which is cousin to red oak and listed as not durable outdoors?

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View drsurfrat's profile (online now)

drsurfrat

207 posts in 100 days


#5 posted 10-01-2020 07:40 PM

I don’t think nearness to the center has to do with the cup or warp of a board. I have found that right at the pith is very unstable. The angle from the center of the tree is the better pursuit. Radial (i.e., quatersawn) is the most stable.

Will it be inside? outside? planted in the ground? Big differences to the life of the cross.

Useful general guide, (your woods are not listed, though).
https://www.rockler.com/wood-species-guide

for stability:
https://woodwright.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Stability-Wood-Flooring-Chart.pdf

rot resistance:
https://robidecking.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/USDA-rot.pdf

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View halfmoon's profile

halfmoon

5 posts in 56 days


#6 posted 10-05-2020 04:20 AM

Many thanks for the advice and resources!
I’m using a live edge slab simply because that seems to be the only way to get a single piece of wood wide enough that isn’t glued, as I need to avoid glue as it will be outdoors. I live on the central California coast where we get much more sun than rain and it will be under a tree. I may put it under cover when a storm is on the way. I’ve thought about redwood but don’t think it will take as much detail as I’d like to get. I’ll either make a separate replaceable stand or make holes in the bottom for stakes to stand it up with.

Thanks again for the help!

View drsurfrat's profile (online now)

drsurfrat

207 posts in 100 days


#7 posted 10-05-2020 12:25 PM

Ok, if you will put up with more opinion, I grew up in So Cal. I don’t think you need to worry about stability, it’s a single piece and will move all together.

Rot resistance will be more important, the suggestion of white oak seems like a good one and apparently valley oak is one of them.
from Wikipedia: ”Taxonomy Valley oak is of the white oak evolutionary lineage, which is officially known as the subgenus Lepidobalanus.”

I think the most important part is termite resistance. We had a redwood deck turn to powder from them. They are terrestrial “dry wood” termites and can survive in wood down to 3% moisture. Make sure that there is no direct path from the dirt to the wood. Setting it on steel posts works. If you can, seal the bottom with Henry’s roofing tar. It’s incredibly messy, but eventually hardens to a pretty impenetrable barrier. Your aesthetics will be important, but these things might help it last.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2776 posts in 1076 days


#8 posted 10-05-2020 07:16 PM

HalfMoon – welcome to the forum !!
when you get the wood on hand and start your project, please make a project page
for it so we can follow your journey.
will you be carving it by hand, router, or CNC ???
do you have a design or sketch on paper yet that you can share ?

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1179 posts in 816 days


#9 posted 10-05-2020 10:09 PM

I would suggest not carving the Celtic cross with only vertical grain. Even with the ring, the arms of the cross are cross-grain, making them easily broken.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View halfmoon's profile

halfmoon

5 posts in 56 days


#10 posted 10-13-2020 03:54 AM

Thanks again for the replies. I viewed the slabs today, they’re ok but something thicker than 2 1/2 inches would be nice. When I first looked for wood I searched for something 6-8 inches thick and 20-24 inches wide and found nothing, but perhaps I wasn’t looking in the right place. I need at least 4 feet. Any suggestions?

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2136 posts in 3706 days


#11 posted 10-13-2020 01:11 PM

Keep looking. Find a small mill or a woodmizer owner and have the slab cut to order.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

5932 posts in 2300 days


#12 posted 10-13-2020 01:33 PM

The problem with using a slab that includes the center of the tree is that the juvenile wood at the center is likely to crack and warp. If possible, you would be better off finding a slab that does not include any of the first 10 or so years (rings) of growth. Juvenile wood at the center of the tree shrinks and swells at a higher rate than mature wood and is what causes the worst cracking and warping in wood. Assuming it will be displayed vertically and not in contact with the soil, it will be much more durable than say a table top, especially if it is protected from direct sun and doesn’t have frequent wet and dry cycles. Also, with it going outside, you probably don’t need it to be kiln dried so you might check on Craigs list or FB Marketplace for local sawmill or even just a guy with a mill selling slabs and see if they can cut you exactly what you want. It is likely to be cheaper than a lumber yard. Air dried wood may be easier to carve as well.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View drsurfrat's profile (online now)

drsurfrat

207 posts in 100 days


#13 posted 10-13-2020 03:40 PM

https://woodmizer.com/us/Find-a-Local-Sawyer
this list has icons telling who sells slabs.

http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/directories/sdd.cgi

http://portablesawmill.info

https://woodfinder.com/search.php

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View PBWilson1970's profile

PBWilson1970

142 posts in 306 days


#14 posted 10-14-2020 04:48 PM



I would suggest not carving the Celtic cross with only vertical grain. Even with the ring, the arms of the cross are cross-grain, making them easily broken.

- Phil32

I agree strongly with this. Will you add some sort of mechanical fastener to keep the arms attached?

You could also think about using a half-lap, Lincoln-Log-style of attaching the cross piece. A well-fitted joint with Titebond 3 or a marine epoxy (West Systems is a great choice) will withstand the elements. Heck, Epoxies are used in boat construction and will see more moisture than your project will ever see.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View halfmoon's profile

halfmoon

5 posts in 56 days


#15 posted 10-14-2020 10:10 PM

One sawmill has offered a 4-8 inch thick fresh sawn slab, undried. I assume it may split or warp over time, correct?
Plan A was to get a thick dried slab, and have the ends of the crosspiece extend no more than 5 inches out to the sides from the ring. I was thinking after carving it would still be at least 3 inches thick and that would be sturdy enough, despite the cross grain issue. Still a concern?
I was wanting to avoid glue for durability, but it sounds like epoxy may last. Is there any reason (other than cost) to not glue 2 pieces of 2 1/2 inch slab together with the grain running 90 degrees to each other to make a 5 inch thick slab? I would avoid having to notch out a channel for the crosspiece that way, which if it does separate over time would be in a bad aesthetic spot. It would be 2 pieces of slab glued horizontally.
I expect to oil it regularly, rather than polyurethane sealant, if that makes any difference on the durability of glue.

I really appreciate the help y’all are giving here.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

5932 posts in 2300 days


#16 posted 10-15-2020 12:49 PM

Grain on slabs glued at 90° angles to each other will not hold well with changing moisture content or as it air dries. Wood doesn’t expand and contract much on its length but can change dimension significantly on its width. This may cause all kinds of contortions or it may just break itself apart.

If the undried slab has the immature wood from the center it will likely split and warp as it dries. It may not take long to find out how much but a 4-8 inch slab will literally take years to air dry completely, or at least reach equilibrium with the outside humidity levels. The fewer rings from the center you have the better. If it does split on one side but not so bad that it is at risk of breaking apart, you could fill the crack with epoxy and put that side toward the back side if there is one but you might have to wait a while before it dries enough that any significant movement has happened.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2776 posts in 1076 days


#17 posted 10-15-2020 02:05 PM

HalfMoon – can you show us a draft, sketch, drawing or plans for this project ?
it seems like we are grasping at straws in the dark to really address your concerns.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View theart's profile

theart

231 posts in 1467 days


#18 posted 10-15-2020 07:22 PM


Many thanks for the advice and resources!
I m using a live edge slab simply because that seems to be the only way to get a single piece of wood wide enough that isn t glued, as I need to avoid glue as it will be outdoors.

Think about it this way, how often have you seen wooden exterior doors that are made out of a single slab? Don’t fear joinery. If you start the carving with an assembly held together with mortise and tenon or lap joints it’s going to hold up fine outside.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3495 posts in 2711 days


#19 posted 10-15-2020 09:29 PM

Not very often are doors made with a single slab. Not a good idea if your planning on living the the house and using the door on a regular basis.
It’s not uncommon to have a great idea for a project. It’s also common to choose the wrong material or fall short with the skills to accomplish the idea.
I call it pipe dreams new woodworkers have them a lot.

-- Aj

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2136 posts in 3706 days


#20 posted 10-16-2020 02:24 AM

Maybe a single slab of mdf or particle board.

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1179 posts in 816 days


#21 posted 10-16-2020 05:17 PM



Maybe a single slab of mdf or particle board.

- ibewjon

The OP says he wants the cross to be 2-1/2 to 3 inches thick in a single piece. I don’t think that is possible with mdf or particle board.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2136 posts in 3706 days


#22 posted 10-16-2020 08:48 PM

No, not the project. I was referring to above post about a large one piece door being mdf or particle board. And old woodworkers have the same pipe dreams about projects. Those dreams keep us moving forward.

View halfmoon's profile

halfmoon

5 posts in 56 days


#23 posted 10-22-2020 05:34 AM

Okay, hopefully the sketch shows up. Looks like it’s going to be sideways, sorry about that. To think at one time I was destined to be an engineer….

Obviously, a rough sketch, the various parts aren’t perfectly to scale. I don’t want to put in the time to do the real thing until I have the wood and therefore the dimensions. It will be 20-22” wide, 32-35” tall plus a 4×6 base.

Plan A, if I can get a single piece of hardwood wide and thick enough (at least 4” thick) calls for the outside radius of the ring to be 8 1/2”- 9”, inside radius 6”- 7”, so the horizontal arms would extend a couple of inches past the ring and be 4” wide (vertical dimension). Knot work to be carved on the front will be 1/4” -3/8” relief on the cross itself, then another 1/4” down to the ring. The center of the ring won’t be carved all the way through but will be carved out another1/4” or so in depth. The back will have a different design involving 1/4-3/8” relief over the whole thing. So the carving will result in a loss of thickness of about 1 1/2”. Horizontal surfaces will be curved to shed water, and if we’re expecting a lot of rain it will be brought under cover, and I’ll be oiling it every year. There are two sources who may have lumber 5”x 22” (one is quartersawn), hopefully I’ll know soon. So the question about Plan A is, are the ends of the horizontal arms at risk of cracking? They’ll extend out from the ring a couple of inches, being 4 inches tall and (hopefully) at least 3” thick.

Plan B, by suggestion, is to notch and glue the cross piece, to minimize risk of splitting and cracking of the ends of the cross pieces. I assume to make the horizontal piece the dimension of the arm where it expends beyond the ring.

Thanks again for the help!

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1179 posts in 816 days


#24 posted 10-22-2020 04:21 PM

The risk of cracking is greatest where the end grain is exposed. With your Plan A design, the top of the main member, the upper curve of the ring, and the upper sides of the cross member, but also the inner part of the lower half of the ring. The relief design within the borders of the cross should also shed rain with down sloping edges.

On Plan B the cross piece would be stronger, the ends would be subject to cracking, and the relief design would have to be adjusted for the cross-lapped joint.

All of these matters could be handled by thoroughly sealing the wood, especially the end grains.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View dschlic1's profile

dschlic1

491 posts in 2882 days


#25 posted 10-22-2020 04:54 PM

Gluing multiple boards together with a water proof/resistant glue will work in an outside application. My recommendation is to purchase 12/4 white oak boards and glue then together into the desired slab size. You can also use loose tenons between boards for more security.

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