Ok. So the architect called for a 26' douglas fir beam rough hewed into
a shallow arch as an accent piece for our front porch. About 22" deep
at the ends arching down to ~10" in the middle. About 6" across.
Impossible to find in the east so we put in an LVL and I figured I'd
veneer it with two by spruce all glued up to look like a one piece
beam. Lots of work later, it's almost done. Problem is, it looks like
veneered glued up spruce. So I bought a steel brush for my drill and I
tried roughening it with the brush. Sort of works but lots of work.
Then I thought, ok I'll wet it down with a concentrated brightening
agent and let it sit for a while eating away at the wood - then use the
brush. Or perhaps rent an angle grinder and get one of those wood
carving attachments. But I think that maybe those cutters cut too
smoothly so it won't have the desired effect.
So I'm asking for advice. What is the most effective method of turning
milled lumber back into rough cut?
I don't think the angle grinder would work - I've used the wood cutters
in mine and it does leave a pretty smooth surface. Plus you'll have
small swirls instead of what you're after.
Are you after the large saw blade swirls plus the fuzz? Or just the fuzz?
You could try a floor sander with very coarse grit disk - 24 grit or
heavier still - pulled along the length of the beam - then pressure wash
it to raise the fuzz.
Test, test, test before attacking your glue-up!
How about an adz or a broad axe?
Or a scrub plane. Or a jack or smaller plane with 1/8" of crown
ground into the blade.
If you are going to buy a tool to put a rough hewn
surface onto wood, why not buy a tool commonly used
to roughly hew wood?
I think Doug needs to get his description in
order. the subject says rough sawn and the he
talks about rough hewn. The two are not
synonymous and certainly don't look the same. Not
sure why anyone would want a rough sawn surface--a
flat surface that consists mostly of stringy
pieces of wood that are 1/4" or so long. Hewn
wood is mostly smooth, but not flat if it is rough.
Rough sawn is a common surface treatment in the western U.S. Available at
almost any good lumberyard, and frequently used as trim and siding.
I haven't really lived elsewhere, so I couldn't comment on what's
If I had to do this, I think that I would try to find a local saw mill and
get some "real" rough sawn lumber, then make a thick veneer out of it, maybe
by planning one side, and then cover the beam with it. It's quite difficult
to make a smooth board look rough sawn. You just can't get it that rough and
random looking enough so that it looks real, at least not without a whole
lot of effort and time.
"Doug" < email@example.com> wrote in message
I had to roughen some lumber to use for bat houses.
An angle grinder at a low angle works really well. It will take a little
practice to get it even, but I am sure it can be done. A regular grinding
wheel, not a woodcutting thing.
circular saws, and neither looks like hand-hewed or pitsawn. The answer is
to make the outer surface of your beam out of the outer surface of the
lumber that looks like what your client thinks is rough cut. One good
surface per board, miter to join almost invisibly.
Sandblasting and wire brushing, especially after charring, make nice
weathered looks, if that's what you're after.
OP first said the architect called for rough hewn. Later that was
morphed into rought cut which is not the same appearance. He first
must decide what he wants it to look like, then figure out how
to achieve that effect.
Scrub plane, with an especially pronounced crowned iron. if you don't
have one, make one from your roughest #4. Break all the rules of planing
and work short strokes, varying the pressure to make long scallops, not
a smooth surface. You're trying to emulate adze work.
You can also use a Japanese spear plane (like an engineer's scraper) but
this is _the_ most difficult-to-use-well hand too I own! A curved
spokeshave or travisher might do it too, but the scrub plane is easier.
Don't wire brush or blast it. That will make it look _weathered_, not
rough-cut. The shaping will follow the natural resistance of the timber,
which in most softwoods means that annual ridges effect.
Didn't they chop or saw down a bit, at right angles to the long dimention,
at intervals of a few feet, then take a broadaxe and work lengthwise to
knock off the chunks?
So maybe hit it with an axe or saw every 2 or 3 feet, and then take the
scrub plane idea people have suggested and hog off some wood - leaving
traces of those right angled cuts.
Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments,
Restoration of my 1919 Herreshoff S-Boat sailboat, and Steambending FAQ
We had to do this once on a much smaller scale. We were trying make a
6" x 12" x 8' mantle look rough sawn. We took a hand saw and holding
on to both ends of the blade, dragged it down the length of the beam.
You have to keep repeating this over and over until things start to
Something as large as you have, I might try dragging a chain saw as
someone else here suggested.
Put a worn out band saw blade on backwards and feed your stock
past it at a skewed angle (or something like that).
Many years ago when I worked in a millworks shop we milled cedar
and cypress parts for doors and windows and then I ran the stock past
the bandsaw blade to give it the rough cut lumber look.
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