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Re: wooden boards

An article which I wrote about manufacturing wooden (oak) boards is on my
web page (I know that the illustration is not there; soon....)

Quarter sawn and kiln dried wood is problematic.  A saw blade cuts a slice
of wood irrespective of its capacity to twist.  Quarter split tells you
right away how likely it is that the board will warp if it ever gets wet;
kiln drying can harden wood, sealing in strains which can create problems
over time.  Air drying avoids these problems.

After the boards have been dried and brought down to the thickness
required, I leave them laying around the lab for another few months to
"scab" over.  Thereafter, if I have to reduce the thickness anymore I do so
on the outside, not the inside of the board.  This is to reduce the
possibility of acid burning the pastedowns.

For these reasons I harvest Oregon white oak, quarter split and air dry it;
it takes as long as 6 years to go from the stump to the shelf, depending on
how thin I split the wood initially.  Pieces which split with a curl become
firewood and the ash is later soaked with hot water to extract lye which I
use when cooking rags down for papermaking or when I am making genuine
ultramarine pigment.

I wouldn't recommend sewing on/lacing in leather thongs.  They won't last
very long.  Unless you mean alum tawed leather.  That should hold up just
fine, but give the skin a tear test first.  If you can tear the skin (and I
have done this with commercially available alum tawed skins) it will not
last.  This is why I alum taw deer, elk and goat skins for sewing supports
and covering material (pigskin is strong enough but the raw skin contains
more fat than I care to deal with.)

Also, don't be surprised if the wood moves; that is what any hygroscopic
material will do.  Plan for it.

Good luck with your project,

>Date:    Tue, 10 Jun 1997 14:48:23 -0400
>From:    Claire Bolton <AlembicPrs@xxxxxxx>
>Subject: Re: wooden boards
>Has any one any experience of binding a book with wooden boards?  I would
>like to make boards from oak for a book measuring 14.5 x 10.5 inches.  The
>boards will be laced on to leather thongs.  I anticipate some trouble with
>the wood moving and warping even though it will be 'kiln dried'. Has any one
>tried this and can offer a solution to the possible problems?
>Claire Bolton

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217


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