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From rough cut to resawn lumber

Several stacks of resawn ambrosia maple lumber.

These boards are for the panels of the Barn Door project shown on my Furniture page, and I built them at The Scenic Space in Western New York. Check out their work — it’s pretty great!

He likes ambrosia maple, which we used to call wormy but that doesn’t sell as well, so “ambrosia” it is. We got the lumber rough-cut, so it all needed to be surfaced and the panels and cross pieces needed to be resawn. It took several hours to pick through the piles at the lumber yard, but I found enough to build the doors and not lose too much to waste.

Ambrosia maple is soft maple that was bored by worms, who left holes and discoloration along the grain. Pretty discoloration. The Wood Database explains it nicely here.

We bought the wood 5/4, which means it’s rough-cut to 1-1/4″ thick, which usually means you can get just over an inch of thickness out of a board. In our case, that’s helpful.

Once they were surfaced on three sides I re-sawed the panel pieces so they’re just over 1/4″ thick. These will be framed in by members that are just over an inch thick, giving us around 1/4″ depth difference between the panel and the frame: nice. Having thin panels will also keep the overall weight of the doors down. Because 6′ x 6’8″ of maple door is a bruiser.

Four steps to milling one side of a board. It takes patience and earplugs. This side actually took five passes, as you can see that there’s still a bit of roughness in the last picture.

A picture of a cart full of clean pieces of cut ambrosia maple lumber.
Surfaces are milled and ready for re-sawing
A picture of a stack of re-sawn lumber with a larger stack in the background, yet to be milled.
One board done… lots to go
A pile of resawn lumber, seen from the ends, with each piece clearly labeled as to how it will be placed in the final panels
Label your panels, my friends. You don’t want to untangle this mess later.
Several stacks of resawn ambrosia maple lumber.
About 10 hours of milling later…

…more about this project in subsequent posts…