I cut down a juniper tree yesterday. Mainly for firewood but I did cut a
couple of pieces of the trunk into longer pieces thinking to slice em up and
try to make something out of them.
Anyone know what I can expect from juniper wood for use in woodworking?
I already know that it makes for fine firewood.
Is there any reason why I can't do the rough resawing on a table saw, mainly
cleaning off the bark and attempting to square the trunk off/
I don't own a bandsaw yet.
"when hatred calls with his package, refuse delivery..."
Depends upon how much you value fingers. Unless you *firmly* afix it to
a guide board.
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Easern Arinatuc Red cedar, the stuff used to line closets, drawers
and chests is a juniper.
If the juniper you have is similar it will have a very sharp aroma
you will have already noticed, the wood wil be soft, brittle and
have a busy colorful figure. It will probably also be rot-resistant.
Like all rot-resistant wood it will be toxic, much more so than most
wood and prone to inducing or exacerbating alergic reactions, asthma
and contact dermatitis (skin rash). So sensible precautions like
respiratory protection (breathing mask will be important. This
is not much of an issue when cutting down the tree as the sawdust
is coarse and damp, it is the finer particles produced in the
woodshop and by sanding that will get you.
Shellac will probably be a good finish. Should make some nice small
to moderate sized boxes, chests, window boxes and such.
Squaring logs on a table saw can be done but is pretty dicey,
if you can flatten one side with a jointer, jointer plane or
a draw knife first that will help a lot. The bandsaw is the
preferred tool for making boards (resawing) but the juniper will
be soft enough that the table saw should be able to handle it.
You can also make a sled for securing the logs for ripping on
either the table saw of the bandsaw.
This kind of thing is lots of fun. I've done this with Bradford
pear and arborvitae (a decorative cedar. The latter made my eyes
water when resawing, just from the odor.
The sawdust is highly allergenic , it might not bother you at first but
trust me many people develop an allergy to it , sometimes reacting
severely to it. So take precautions and wear a real good mask with fan
blowing the sawdust away from you.
The wood itself is very often twisted and full of knots so clear
straight lumber is not the norm. Once dry the wood is stable. It is
best suited for small projects It carves nicely . The purplish color
fades in time
John Emmons wrote:
You're not maximizing your opportunities. The correct procedure is: Turn to
wife and say, "This is a great piece of wood, but it wouldn't be safe to cut
it on the table saw. I'm going to have to get a band saw as a safety
measure. You wouldn't want me to lose a finger in the table saw, would
Yeah I know, I tried the more subtle approach, "let me try this without a
band saw, of course a band saw would make it much safer...;^)"
Truthfully speaking, as much as I'd like some more big electric tools, I
still need to tear down the existing shack that I'm using and then build the
real workshop before I start thinking of new iron.
Get the tools first. Then you can say "it really isn't safe using
these tools in such a small space..."
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and
bring something to kill"
There's a guy in Mitchell, Oregon, who works mostly in juniper and his
stuff is quite striking. My dad's been making walking sticks from
juniper for years-- with just an oil finish the wood looks great. I've
never had a large enough piece to actually work with, but I imagine
that if you do there'd be no reason not to make something from it.
Small box? Table top? Finish it with super blond shellac or just BLO
and I bet it would look great.
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