Generally, cut a bead on the edge, so there's a multiplicity of
sight lines in parallel; a ding only interrupts one of the
lines, the visual effect is minimized. Fluting of legs,
concave and convex beads, lots of scratch-plane
decoration, is all an attempt to make it look good after
the (inevitable) damage occurs.
Big expanses of softwood (fir or hemlock) flat trim is seen on
home-improvement shows, but it ONLY looks good when new.
Oldfashioned intricate mouldings will look good for centuries.
:> So what's the trick to stabilizing a live edge (in this case, on maple) to:> prevent damage after a piece is finished?
: Generally, cut a bead on the edge, so there's a multiplicity of
: sight lines in parallel
That's hard to do on a live (aka waney, bark) edge -- it's the edge
on a board that isn't trimmed from the original mill cut of the log.
-- Andy Barss
Sorry Tim, I should have offered up a little more. I'm talking about an
edge on a plank that still has the bark attached. I want to incorporate the
bark/live edge into a coffee table design and I was looking for advice on
how to make sure it (the bark) stays as intact as possible. To that end,
the design puts the bark in the center of the table top, surrounding an
opening that will be purely aesthetic. this way, it won't get banged into
(like it would if it was on the perimeter of the top), but I still need to
be sure that I take into account the possibility that it won't just fall off
on its own for whatever reason. One reason I've thought of, without any
experience, are degredation of the heartwood/sapwood/cambium layers. Any
other advice would be appreciated.
I keep on forgetting folks can't read my mind when I'm posting.
As Lew said in another post, 'you're pushing a rope' there...
There's no way to ensure it'll stay there indefinitely on its own. You
could try pinning it w/ small but even then it may well break/separate
on its own as the piece dries. At that point you could try a
cyanoacrylate and see if you get a decent bond.
Bruce Hoadley has a section on the futility of slabs/bark, etc., ...
Lew has already weighed in on this but I'll try something that his
previous advice made me think of.
What happens if you dry the piece to the point where the bark simply
falls off au complet? If the bark had been predrilled with a small bit
(say brad sized bit) for re-alignment, then the bark reattached with
epoxy, using the brad holes and/or brads for alignment, wouldn't that
end up being the same thing?
Once the epoxy starts to set, the brads can be pulled out and you can
call the holes worm infestation that you meticulously fumigated for
prior to the project commencing.
Maybe this is impractical with maple. The bark is pretty thin. I think
it might very well work with oak tho.
I think you also want to cut the tree in October, November or December
to have the best chance of success. Sap starts to run in Jan/Feb and
that will not help any. It can be done though, I've owned old wood
bowls with bark on them and have seen plenty of wood novelties, cutting
boards and so on with bark on, and seemingly firmly attached.
I've cut enough fire wood to know some wood, probably cut in spring or
summer, the bark falls off almost intact. Perhaps this is better if you
are going to glue it back on after everything is dry.
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: So what's the trick to stabilizing a live edge (in this case, on maple) to
: prevent damage after a piece is finished?
If there's bark attached, I'd recommend asking on rec.crafts.woodturning,
or searching the Google archives (good luck!) for that group -- turners
often leave such edges on natural edge bowls. (Search for that term).
What comes to mind is thin cyanoacrylate glue, but
there may be other tricks.
If it's without bark, just finish like the rest fo the wood, I would think.
-- Andy Barss
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