Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Steaming...
Response To:
Tree centers, "the heart" ()

david weaver
I understand the issue of the heart itself as it's normally described - the core of the tree used for its vertical strength (though not stable) in 4x4 posts, and prized in some japanese chisels to have centering in the handle.

I don't have a clue where my reading was, but this was a different discussion, as there would've been no reason to mention it if only the core of the tree was discarded. The sentiment was that makers had a preference for the sap layer around the outside of the tree used bark out. There must've been a reason to mention it, but it's probably lost.

If it was in whelan's book, I had that in PDF but was being a good citizen when it went back to reprint and discarded mine. I very well may have bought that book, too, which would've made it dumb to delete the PDF, but I don't remember.

The other planemaking books that I have are WPINCA, etc, and about the NY planemaking industry. I don't think it was in those, because I haven't read them in a really long time.

As far as steaming, horizon did steam some of the beech, and others they may not have. I would guess mine is probably steamed. The real issue for them is that the drying process is so slow with 16/4 that they ruined some trying to speed it up and decided at this point that it's not worth their trouble, so the last wood I got from them was european, probably from eastern europe (it's available cheaply by the cubic meter for anyone willing to get it at a terminal. $200 or something per cubic meter from eastern europe).

Using euro beech just isn't something I want to do much of. Not because there's anything wrong with it, just because I don't like the way it looks and we're making planes in the united states. I have been informed of all kinds of idiocy on my youtube page, though, such as "beech isn't a good enough wood for planes, it's only used for cheap planes in europe. Cherry is used for the better planes" (this is based on the lignum soled planes as somehow being definitive), as well as "american beech is much softer than european beech and not nearly as good for planes".

You cannot convince people who haven't actually done what they're asserting, and it's a waste of time to try.

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