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Old 12-02-2016, 23:26   #1
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Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

I am planning to build a tiller from a solid piece of ash, the slowest grown bit I can find.

The tiller dimensions are 6 feet long, with a butt of 80mm (3.15") wide and 50mm (2") deep. Will steam-bend a slight rise with the help of a friend.

Be most grateful if someone could suggest where I might find such a piece.

Cheers and thanks.
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Old 13-02-2016, 01:09   #2
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

I drive by Edensaw Woods of Port Townsend every other day or so. I'd be happy to swing by and count some growth rings for you. Then again, the people working there are savy so maybe a call to them would be best, if you have not already done so.

Steve
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Old 13-02-2016, 10:02   #3
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

Laminate it from multiple pieces so it resists splitting.
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Old 13-02-2016, 10:06   #4
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

Why Ash
White oak will stand up to the environment better and yes laminate it
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Old 13-02-2016, 10:20   #5
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

Ash is very good for handles. I suppose it can be weatherproofed ok for outdoor use?

There's a lot of varieties of Ash, and I 'think' one of the slowest growing is the Mountain Ash. I have maybe 20 or 30 down the side of one hedge, and they don't seem to have grown much in 30+ years (this at about 1,000 ft though).

Spectacular berries on them every year.

Just thought, dad has one of those very long handled potato row shovels, with the handle over 6ft long. He lost track of it once, and it had fallen over out of sight along the hedge. I think it was there for a couple of years, until I trimmed the hedge and tripped over it.

Surprisingly, the handle was fine.
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Old 13-02-2016, 10:26   #6
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

OP, I see what you did there...
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Old 13-02-2016, 11:41   #7
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

Well, here's what worked for me -

I planned a big mahogany board down to half inch thick, drew some nice curves in AutoCAD and cut out shapes on a CNC machine and book matched them using Gorilla Glue, before using a 3/4" round-over bit in a handheld router before sanding and finishing with a spar varnish.

You don't have to have AutoCAD or a CNC machine. You can get great results by drawing a nice curved shape with pencil and some thin wood battens then cut out the shapewith a jig saw.

File and sand the edges into nice fair curves. Then you can use this as a pattern to precisely cut out the subsequent pieces by using a flush cut router bit with a roller bearing guide. Having precise pieces making glueing up easier and will result in less sanding and a more accurate finished part.

One thing to watch out for is tear-out along the edges. I had about three bad edges, two of which I was able to place on the outside, that got rounded off later, while keeping the book match but one ended up on the inside as shows as a defect. I notice it but others probably not. If I didn't have such a nice big piece of wood to begin with and wasn't worried about book matching, cutting an extra piece would have been a solution.
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Old 13-02-2016, 11:52   #8
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

Sorry but that is the surest way to build in failure, by cutting the shape across the grain. It is the curve which wants to be laminated. In other words the thinner laminations must be bent to the curved shape so that there is no short grain to fail.
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Old 13-02-2016, 11:58   #9
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

Here's what the finished product looks like. One step I forgot to mention is that I tapered the two sides on a joiner before rounding over the edges. You could do the same with a hand plane.
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Old 13-02-2016, 12:05   #10
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

Here is a proper example.

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Old 13-02-2016, 14:48   #11
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

TN, you know full well that nothing strong enough ever broke. Every method has it's failure mode.

In the case of the tiller you show the common failure mode has to do with the weak part of the assembly, which is where the through-bolts of tiller head penetrate the tiller.

In your example the bolt holes for the tiller head are coplaner with the laminations and this is where they always fail.

Nobody ever seals the inside of the hole, water seeps in and causes rots and delamination, the wood splits through between the laminations. They always fail this way.

The tiller head through-bolts on my tiller are perpendicular to laminations. Much stronger.

If my tiller ever breaks I promise you will be the first to know.
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Old 13-02-2016, 16:37   #12
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Here is a proper example.
Here is an example of a proper tiller in failure mode.
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Old 13-02-2016, 16:47   #13
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

I don't know much about woodwork, but I do recognize the most provocative thread title of the week!

Good one!

Jim
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Old 13-02-2016, 17:08   #14
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

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I drive by Edensaw Woods of Port Townsend every other day or so. I'd be happy to swing by and count some growth rings for you. Then again, the people working there are savy so maybe a call to them would be best, if you have not already done so.

Steve
Steve, haven't called them, but should have thought of them. Thanks for the offer.
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Old 13-02-2016, 17:30   #15
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Re: Seeking the most perfect piece of ash

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I don't know much about woodwork, but I do recognize the most provocative thread title of the week!

Good one!

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I'm totally busted. My bad. All I was saying was what worked for me.
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