Firewood Desk For My Mother
Firewood Contest for Reddit.
It actually started with my mother. She moved to a new house by the lake and needs furniture and I had promised to make her something. Her first request was a desk for her laptop and to write on. Coincidentally there was a new reddit contest using firewood (wood meant for fire measuring less than 24" in length) and since constraint frees creativity I thought I'd give it a go.
I found my greatest limitation to be the length requirement, since a short tiny desk is sort of useless. Plus a lot of it was wet, and full of bugs. It was a bit of an awful project to work, to be honest, unstable short pieces that have no straight edges and no way of knowing what they look like when you pick them up. I wanted to bring those difficulties out in the piece, using live edges wherever I could and gluing up a butcher block style top to resist warping and awfulness.
Delivered and set up. My mother is ready to write and rock out, or whatever the equivalent of rocking out is if you listen to primarily country western.
I think this qualifies as firewood. I had a lot to choose from, but have no idea how to choose. It's like, I just grabbed the stuff that had the coolest color and looked the easiest to get big pieces out of.
I wish I had a truck, but this will do. I found a lizard like 3 days later, let the little guy go out near the shop, probably an invasive species and I have doomed us all.
First pass to get a flat spot. Always the most interesting part. I started out by joining them down until there was a flat spot, but that took to long and felt to safe, so I just bonzai'd it through the bandsaw.
Slice. Slice. Slice. Slice.
Stacked for a few days to let the pressure out and see what I got. It's like a Kinder Egg, but bark tastes a little better.
I draw lines in order to not cut them straight anyway.
I was getting excited about pieces like these. Great markings and it's a good amount of material to work with. But...
Bugs. Gross. I'm suppose to make a desk for my mom out of this stuff, but there's no way I can bring termites in. I also ran into bore post beetles.
My normal solution would be to kill it with fire, but, um, that's a little counter productive.
Big slabs slabbed out. I'm saving the big piece for something, it's all burl-y and cool looking.
Straightlined on both edges. It's finally starting to look like wood I would normally work with.
Little pieces for the top. It was a very time consuming journey to this point, and you better believe they twisted and warped in every direction as I relieved the pressure from them.
Starting the big glue up. It was probably the most stressful glue up I have done in a long time, I barely got the pieces in while the glue was wet, and even then some of the smaller pieces decided to try and be free as I tightened the clamps.
I swear I worked the gaps before I left to dinner waiting for the glue to dry. When I came back, hella gaps.
First decking. I used a CNC router, I have used everything from hand planes to skill saws to flatten a large piece like this, nothing is quite as easy as just using a big mill. However, I started to get really worried about my top thickness. I started at 1 1/16" and just to deck the thing I was at 7/8". By the end after sanding, I was barely hair over 5/8"s. Scary.
Biscuits! I wish there was gravy.
Filling the holes and cracks with Resin. Mostly just to make sure that things didn't fall apart, and also to make sure no one had to accidentally touch bug carcasses.
Death to gaps. It just makes it look so much better.
Mocking up the legs. You can see here a classic example of why not to use a dull blade. Nothing a pass over the jointer can't fix.
Glue. There's so much glue, I didn't use many fasteners at all. I was a lizard person for about 2 weeks straight.
Structure! I wish I was able to add structure to my life like this.
Sanding. Resins sands pretty easy but man does it eat sandpaper.
Rough sanding done. Always save the sawdust to mix with glue and use as filler.
With a poly wally eurathane all the day.
Like a bowling ally, but more raw and slightly less beer stains.