Monday, March 18, 2013

When you had hoped for a steam engine - and got a pair of socks

Do you remember those Christmas evenings. For one full year you had hoped for, dreamed of and pestered your parents about that steam engine you actually needed to get in order for you to survive.
And then Ckristmas eve: You get a nice pair of woolen home knitted socks.

Something similar happend today, only it wasn't quite as bad.

I got the wood onboard. 3 pieces of 4 feet x 11.5 inches x 1" So a total of 12 board feet.

The wood is definitely not ebony.

Actually the guy who picked it up had forgotten the name of it as well, but said that the lumber dealer had said it was a good wood.

It looks a lot like some of the lighter wood I am using on the sea chest, so I hope it is easy to plane. The wood has been passed through a thicknessing planer at a very high speed, cusing quite some ripples and some tearout in the middle of one of the boards.
The wood felt very heavy, so I was a bit puzzled due to the look like my earlier mentioned light wood.

I left it on the floor for taking some pictures, and when I removed it 5 minutes later, I realised it wasn't due to a high wood density, but due to the wood being soaking wet! Condensed water had gathered below the boards in just five minutes.

Anyway, contrary to the steam engine vs socks analogy, I am happy that I didn't end up with real ebony. A comment from Brian regarding legal ebony made me think - that perhaps this wasn't like ordering a board of pine or spruce. So I started researching the Internet, and it seems that ebony is an endangered species, and kind of illegal to harvest and import.
So by getting this wet oak lookalike wood, I have stayed out of trouble.

And I still think that I can make some sort of project out of it once it has dried.

PS. I did get a steam engine.

Close up photos of the wood, rough sawn (top), planed (bottom)


  1. That looks nice. Probably a good thing it wasn't ebony. Will you take it home and build something in Denmark using it?

  2. Hi Brian
    I will leave it on the ship until next time, and then I will probably build something out of it out here.
    Right now it is too heavy and odd sized to fit in the luggage. Actually I only travel with a handbag, and I doubt that KLM would let me take 12 board feet of Whatisit into the plane.

    I actually have the same issue regarding the sea chest. I think I'll try to put it in a cardboard box, and then take it home as checked in luggage. But we'll see once we get there.
    I have tried to look at wood database, but all those species of exotic wood look very much alike.

    By the way, I accidently posted this on your blog at first, but I removed it straight away. But in my small blog-follow list you will see it mentioned under Toolerable.

    Oh yes, one more thing. We received some more stores today. One of the pallets was a gem as well. one was OK, and two were just boring. So I'll salvage some more material tomorrow.

    1. Perhaps you should collect enough pallet wood to make yourself a ship-board Roubo!

  3. Actually I have thought of making a Milkmans bench. That one could be stowed away when not in use.

  4. They look like good boards in the photo. I've never used wood that needed to be dried to be honest, at least not for a long time. When I purchase wood for a project I mainly go with pre surfaced stock 4/4 5/4 or 6/4 and send it through the thickness planer as needed. If it's just a small board I will just plane it by hand. Most of the time I will only let it acclimate for a week.

  5. At home when I mill my own lumber, I also let it dry for some time (up to 3 years for thick elm), but I don't know how this wood will behave.
    Actually I would have liked to be able to go to the sawmill or lumberyard and see what they had for sale, but we are not allowed to go ashore due to the risk of kidnapping.
    Pre surfaced stock is a lot more fun (in my opinion), because I like to do the actual joinery,but I don't find stock preparation to be particularly amusing.

    1. a 3 year wait for these boards? You can always do a "wet" joint stool.

    2. I don't think that these boards will need 3 years to dry. But as a rule of thumb a board should dry for 1 year per inch in thickness. That is if you are drying it without a kiln.
      But off course it also depends on how fresh/wet the logs are, when you are milling them.
      I think they will dry a lot faster out here, since we have a consistent high temperature.