Hand Tools Archive

Re: Beech trees are dying, and nobody’s sure why

david weaver
I would feel comfortable making a plane, if I had the wood sawn in billets, after a year for 16/4 wood (beech). It might not be completely dry, but it would be close.

A couple of years ago, George Wilson told me that if I had a plane that I thought was too light, before sealing the ends, block the mouth and put linseed oil in the mortise and it will run to the ends of the plane within a day.I did that, and it did - overnight. The oil appeared on the ends of the plane and on one side where the grain ran out slightly.

That's, I'm convinced, the reason that it can crack even after it's long dried, due to normal variation in humidity - because it expels water so fast. I don't generally have a problem with it, except when it goes from 40 degrees to sub zero in a one-day period, then some of my billets will show stress - and if the ends are exposed, they will check.

(I vaguely recall having the discussion on here a couple of years ago about it not being that hard to dry, maybe it was Bill T. Whoever it was, they tried drying it and it crack and they revised their stance. I think there was some offense taken at the time to Horizon's $13.50/bd ft plus shipping for 16/4 billets)

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