Becoming a Galoot #8: Rot and Rattlers

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Blog entry by scruboak51 posted 06-15-2014 07:55 PM 1593 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Prepping for the Big Cut Part 8 of Becoming a Galoot series no next part

My efforts to get a nice slab cut from this beast was met with failure, but it was not without a good effort. I took every opportunity to sneak out in the garage this week and work on the big cut to rip this redwood root down; even if for only 5 minutes. Every little bit of effort adds up and makes the task seem less monotonous.

I had made good progress and loosing our DSL connection on Thursday gave me an unexpected excuse to duck out of work and get some garage time in. By Friday afternoon I had succeeded in getting 75% of the slab 100% detached; as they say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

There was a big seam of rot which, while not unknown, I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. I had hope to be able to get a full sized slab from the off-cut, but will now have to be content with using it for smaller projects. The double whammy is that far from making the remaining cut easier, loosing the top half made things much more difficult.

Once I get deep enough, I usually throw a couple shims in the top of the cut to reduce friction and the off-cut helps act as a guide and prevents the blade from binding. Without that off-cut, the blade kept binding. I tried to flip the log in various orientations but nothing seemed to work.

My frustration got the better of me and I grabbed a hammer, wedge and mallet and split the remaining piece of off-cut off the primary log. I was very far from the clean cut I had imagined at the outset.

Ah-well, win some loose some; I’ll call this one a frustrating draw; I had plenty of wood for the primary project and the time and frustration saved using brute force was probably worth it.

I got a second nice win while setting up my router jig. After some head-scratching at trying to figure out how to make my work bench both longer and wider I found some scrap 4×6 from a failed project. A few years back, in either a burst of wisdom or stupidity, I tried to tongue and groove them with a chainsaw. It kind-of worked, but way too much tear out to be used. I since cut them down and have been using them as spacer blocks to level out projects, jacks things up, etc.

Turns out they were about the right height for my project and the groove would allow it to be clamped to the table without having the clamp interfere with the router sled.

The router work with the sled went pretty quick, until I hear a scream and see my girlfriend run past the garage. That was one impressive scream, as it managed to penetrate my head-phones, ear-muffs, and the fan and router which were both running. I go out to inspect and find this beautiful speckled rattle snake had curled up under the trashcan lid.

I safely relocated him to the back yard, twice, because apparently the first time was not far enough away. No sooner then I get back to work than my girlfriend re-appears pointing to the side of the house. Another rattler, this one a really fat southern pacific rattlesnake. It was the fattest snake I have seen, for reference that PVC pipe he is laying across is 1.5 inches.

I wouldn’t be too surprised if another of these snuck into the garage, this pair were no more than 10 feet (3 meters) from the doors I had open all day to help with the dust.

Well, that’s about it, I put a pretty good dent into the bench; one more big cut to make then lots and lots of sanding. I am pretty excited about the color and figure; even rough-cut it’s pretty spectacular.

4 comments so far

View ejvc's profile


107 posts in 2474 days

#1 posted 06-15-2014 08:04 PM

Redwood = good. Rattlesnakes = bad. Hope you have more luck tipping things positive next time. The last picture is great.

-- Building stuff with my daughter (6). Pretty new to woodworking, I mostly sew...

View RandyinFlorida's profile


257 posts in 2581 days

#2 posted 06-15-2014 08:34 PM

Wow! What a day. I’m still envious.

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View TZH's profile


558 posts in 3654 days

#3 posted 06-15-2014 08:47 PM

Good thing you didn’t wind up with snakes on a “plane” – router planer that is.

Great story. Love the process. Thanks for sharing.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 2145 days

#4 posted 06-16-2014 06:22 AM

I love that piece of wood, been following the progress on it as if it was my own, hope you get ‘er done!

The snakes is a different issue, we only have 2 species of snakes in my neck of the woods and I run screaming and yelling like a little girl even if I see the non-venomous type.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

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