Lill's Quilt Rack: Part III, Lumber Selection and Re-Selection

With the design finalized and the templates made it was time to choose the lumber I would use.

Paduk in my lumber rack.

Intending to use them on this project, I had picked up two (2) large pieces of 6/4 lumber at the Woodworking Shows when they visited New Jersey in February. One (1) piece of walnut and another of paduk. Yet, when I looked at the boards next to each other in my lumber rack, I couldn’t see the Walnut and paduk playing well together. I decided to reconsider my lumber selection.

Which to choose?

In order to work out the wood types I would use I took a photo of the full sized drawing and made some black and white copies of it. Then I used crayons matching the basic shades to play with different woods and different wood-to-leg combinations. I settled on using walnut for the back and middle legs and a blond wood I believe to be apple for the front legs and the shelf.

With wood selected it was now time to finally start milling. I began with the blond wood. I have a stack of beautiful rough sawn  blond wood about 5/4 thick and between 6” and 10” wide which was in the pile Kari Hultman generously gave me a few years ago. I believe it’s apple. I’m no arborist though and to be honest, I really have no idea. I’ve used in the past and found small insect holes in it. I found them to add character and in previous pieces they were always small holes.

These large voids were what I uncovered.

When I began milling this batch, I found the inset holes were much bigger in the pieces I’d selected. Large recess were revealed in a few pieces as I jointed them. I considered these pieces and was disappointed by the size of the insect holes. I was also unsure how the gaps would impact later construction when I needed reference surfaces that might have large voids in them.

I slept on it and ultimately decided to abandon the blond wood. After taking inventory of my lumber rack I settled on tiger maple as a replacement. I had enough of it and it would provide a beautiful contrast to the walnut.

Square and ready to go.

At this point I milled all the tiger maple square using my jointer and planer. The single walnut board I was using for the four (4) walnut legs had been surfaced S2S before I bought it. I hastily examined it, considered that it was wider than my 8” jointer and decided that it was flat enough.

It's almost flat and square.


It was flat “enough” . . . but it should have been flatter.

You can the previous Lill's Quilt Rack posts here.

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