Monday, April 02, 2007

When you work with cherry, you will find that it burns very easily from just a bit too much friction. Like many fruit woods, it has a high sugar content, and the sugars carmelize when exposed to heat. Even a very sharp router bit can cause burn if the speed isn't just right, or if it lingers too long in one spot, and it is a particular problem on end grain where it is hardest to sand.

I've been working this morning on custom cherry pulls for some bathroom cabinets. To make them, I used a combination of techniques on the table saw and router table, and now I'm down to the hard part... sanding the burn. I tried hand sanding with sand paper wrapped around a dowel. It was taking far too long. I finally had to re-rout for a cleaner surface and then set up with a sandpaper wrapped dowel in the drill press. And this is just step one. They will have to be sanded again after being firmly attached to the drawers.

Much of the pleasure I find in woodworking is the discovery of new ways to do old things, and nearly every piece of furniture I've made has challenged my creativity and led to the refinement of techniques toward greater efficiency and quality.

So today as in most days, I get to do things I've never done before. I learned years ago that things don't always go right, but never wrong enough that I can't fix them or start over. When I discover new things, I remember them, refine them and at some point am able to use them to teach others. It can be frustrating at times, but frustration beats boredom, hands down.

The photo above is of the cherry drawer pulls.

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