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261990 "Joseph Sullivan" <joe@j...> 2017‑03‑16 From log to Cradle, a Galoot adventure





Great Galoots:


As some of you may recall, several years ago an old friend and I cut some
wind-topped or downed walnut and oak trees on my mother's property and took
them to the sawmill.  He is still sitting on his half of the lumber to see
if it will hatch or multiply.  I on the other hand have made a few things of
which by far the most difficult have been two cradles of which the attached
pictures show the second.  I originally designed the cradle from scratch for
my elder daughter's first child. As it happens I finished it when her second
child was two months old.  Similarly, the one in today's attached pix was
intended for elder son's firstborn, but is finished today within 24 hours of
his second child's 2-month birthday.  I guess that is my natural rhythm.


For reasons not clear even to me, I really wanted to make it  lyre-form.  I
was raised on the classical Greeks and Romans, and imagine that was behind
it.   The 19th century lyre-form furniture is pretty but used a lyre shape
that is too pot-like for my desired look.  After some research I found just
the item.  It was a lyre in the arms of Apollo in a 4th century BC marble in
the Berlin museum.  The artist was Praxiteles (if you are going to pirate a
design, might as well steal from the very best).  I scaled it out from the
photograph using dividers, and then laid out a paper pattern taking into
account strength and infant head safety.


The primary wood is the walnut that I cut.  The floor and highlights are
curly maple, mostly from a Minnesota lumber yard near our cabin.  There are
some design differences between this and the first cradle; I felt like
having a bit of fun.  In the first, the highlight medallions are crotch
walnut, and there is no medallion in the stretcher bar.  It was also
designed with pinned through-tenons at the stretcher ends that could be
unpinned and knocked down for storage.  However, that proved to be a design
flaw as it keeps working loose on its own so I did not do that in this Mark
II model. It has through-tenons, but is firmly glued.  The lyre-ends are
doweled to the sides.  I'd prefer mortises and tenons, but with the curves
and varying thicknesses it is beyond my skill to do that with this item.


The whole thing was a challenge especially if something had to be corrected,
ahem, because once it was cut out there were no square points of reference
left.  In one picture you can see the main pieces of my two lyre-ends
clamped together inside surface to inside surface so I could work them into
nearly identical shapes.


The other big challenge was the coopered joint in the side.  The sides are
cut from a single wide plank of walnut, which was then cut and coopered to
allow for the curve.  It has worked for me twice now, but is remains a
little unnerving until I see the solid, successful joint glued and ready.
There is a picture of that joint attached.  Inside it is a shadow line that
adds character. Outside it is nearly invisible.  To see it, you'd have to
look for the very small break in the flow of the grain in the most curved
part.  I really wanted that look because as I have fine walnut boards 12" to
18" wide, there is no point in making it look like it has been pieced.


Nothing is glued for thickness.  The 8/4 stand is made from 8/4 lumber. 


I used very little sapwood, but left it unstained.  This was air-dried
walnut with lots of color.  To me the sapwood added a marbling effect
everywhere except inside one lyre-end where it is a stripe that does not
bother me.  In today's steamed, colored and termite-barfed furniture world,
I thought that in addition to the marbling effect, I like the idea that this
is obviously prime walnut timber.


I used my 13-inch planer to prepare the mill-rough lumber to thickness.  A
band saw and a saber saw were used to cut the curves.   Long rips were done
with my Festool track saw.  After that, everything  done with hand saws,
hand planes, chisels, and rasps.  The finish is four coats of blonde
shellac, wet sanded, with a diaper-proof top-coat of Behlens Rock Hard
varnish (my last still usable can of the old alkyd formulation) with a dab
of purple trans-tint dye to reduce the amber of the varnish.  After curing,
which took TWO MONTHS at winter temperatures in the  garage, the whole was
wet sanded at 1000 grit and then rubbed out with Black Bison wax in dark
walnut, and 0000 steel wool.


There are a couple of visible screw-ups that make my teeth itch, but I can't
do anything about them.  Elder son and his wife are both architects.  I feel
sure their trained eyes will spot everything I messed up.  I would imagine,
though , that they will make allowances for a guy who is doing the best he
can at occasional cabinet work in the garage, and doing it as a gift for
that matter.  Or so I hope.


This is the second of a MAXIMUM of four, to be made only if needed because
of the imminent expectation of babies.



Joseph Sullivan
261992 "Joseph Sullivan" <joe@j...> 2017‑03‑17 Re: From log to Cradle, a Galoot adventure
Try this link.  Seems I was giving you the link that I use but I needed to
use one that is set up for sharing.



Joseph Sullivan
261993 "John M Johnston (jmjhnstn)" <jmjhnstn@m...> 2017‑03‑17 Re: From log to Cradle, a Galoot adventure
261995 Ed Minch <ruby1638@a...> 2017‑03‑17 Re: From log to Cradle, a Galoot adventure
Great sequence - how did you brak down the log?  Best picture is the last one.
What kind of truck is that?

Ed Minch
261996 Archie England 2017‑03‑17 Re: From log to Cradle, a Galoot adventure
Certainly, that last pic is the best shot! Congratulations on both creations...

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261998 "Joseph Sullivan" <joe@j...> 2017‑03‑17 Re: From log to Cradle, a Galoot adventure
Ed , the log story is interesting.   My parents never log the place.  In
fact, 50 of the 65 acres is a private forest preserve owned by them but
under an easement to the State of Illinois.  These walnut trees and several
white oaks were in the part not covered by the easement.  The oaks had come
down and the walnuts were topped by a storm and dying.  Still, we had to be
minimally disruptive; heavy equipment on the road only.   We cut the logs
with Stihl 026 chainsaws (no longer made, but really great)  Hired a big
fork loader and ran chains from it down to the logs, pulling them a bit at a
time with the loader backing down the road as far as it could without
turning the log, and then back, re-chain and do it again.  Then the loader
would lift them onto the truck.  The truck is my old friend's pride and joy,
and is a Unimog.

We took about 16 or 18 logs to the mill.  Most were oak.  I asked the sawyer
to cut the walnut for quality, flat to rift, at 5/4 and 8/4.  I asked him to
quarter-saw the oak mostly at 4/4.  He did as asked with the walnut.
Somehow, I got NO quarter-sawn oak at all.  Normally you'd get a few boards
of it just by-the-bye, but nope, not a board.  I also took a couple of small
logs of black oak, and from those I did get a handful of quarter-sawn boards
They are low quality due to cracks and rot, but there are several  good
parts that can be cut to make smaller A&C stuff.   Interestingly, much of
the white oak was down for a couple of years and has very interesting worm
holes that I am using to advantage in design.  The walnut rages from good to
superb.  The best of it is about a dozen  boards that are 16" to 18" wide x
5/4 x 10', perfectly clear.  My late father in law who had been in the
hardwood business said he had never seen such boards. 

I am now making a small chest or footed box for younger daughter.  The sides
are made of a single board.  Lots of labor because it is too wide for my 13"
planer, so using scrub, jack and jointer planes to prepare the lumber.

Joseph Sullivan
262003 Ed Minch <ruby1638@a...> 2017‑03‑17 Re: From log to Cradle, a Galoot adventure

Thanks for the story

Ed Minch
262009 Charles Driggs <cdinde@v...> 2017‑03‑19 Re: From log to Cradle, a Galoot adventure
Good ending!  

On Mar 16, 2017, at 8:15 PM, Joseph Sullivan  wrote:

Try this link.  Seems I was giving you the link that I use but I needed to
use one that is set up for sharing.



Joseph Sullivan

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