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In a conversation with Gordon(1121) the other day he said his Dad was very interested in woodworking, so here's a small project for Don and anyone else that may be interested in doing something with wood that doesn't involve a woodsplitter and a fire. This is some trim I made for my bathroom a number of years ago. Having to remove it for the new flooring, (during my current bathroom remodel) it was time for a little freshening up. Sanding lightly and two more coats of polyeurthane gave these results.

Now, if you've ever worked with Slippery Elm before, you will know it grows whiskers. Sand it smooth as a newborn baby's behind, put one coat of finish and instantly it grows peach fuzz that is as stiff as a grown mans 3 day stubble. Getting it to stay smooth requires numerous sandings and numerous coats.

The great thing about it though, you can drive a nail a quarter inch from the end and like cypress, it won't split. The next great thing is the natural pecan shaded brown color of the wood. Also, in addition to some phenomenal grain patterns of its own, some of the grain can easily be mistaken for some oaks and ash. Others may even have a pattern similar to pine. And it can come out of the same log !!! Of course that is just my opinion and that plus a dollar will get you a small coffee at McDonalds.

This particular elm has a unique story. Maybe 15, 20 years ago we'd stopped by this old friend of my dad's as he was having a yard sale. I'd grown up with his sons and hadn't seen them since high school. Well, I bought a few wood working tools he had then during some reminiscing conversation he said maybe I'd be interested in something else he had. Walking back to his lean-to he showed me this huge stack of slippery elm that my dad and uncle had sawed for him in 1964 right off on my old home place !!! There were 1 x 12's all 12' to 14' in length and stacked thigh high in two stacks.

He wouldn't talk price until they were loaded in the back of my truck then wouldn't take anything for them !!! He calmly said "It just seems right that all this wood goes back where it come from." And that was that. He's since passed away, though his memory is still alive and refreshed each time I see how pretty this trim really is.

Whoops, a duplicate and I don't know how to delete it. Anyway, you notice it looks suspiciously like crown moulding ? Well it is, I used a 3 5/8" crown moulding bit on a 12" Woodmaster planer to make it. Just not using the 45 degree knife on the back allows it to be used as door trim or baseboard. I like the configuration, it seems to be unusual in that capacity and I'm all for "unusual".... Hopefully all the nail holes line back up and longer finish nails can be used to re attach.

This is just some 1" cove for the corners. Some walls are painted and tie into another wall with tongue and grooved ash and other corners are the junction of two t & g ash walls.

Here is the same 3 5/8" moulding that is used as crown by relieving both sides of the back at 45 degree angles with a companion knife that matches the front width of the moulding. The wall in this photo is ash. Taken from the home place, sawed on our old Fisher and Davis mill this ash was stored for more than 30 years before coming back to life on these walls. This was all planed on the 24" JT Towsely planer then ran by hand through a 3 hp Grisley shaper first with the groove bit then with the tongue bit one at a time. Even the ends are tongue and grooved each requiring a walk to the shed after each board was measured and cut to length in the room. No amount of measuring on my part could result in more than one cut at a time. The direction and location of the angles change many times from the floor to the ceiling.

Here is a hint of a couple of the directional changes and shows why it had to be done one cut at a time. Humidity is only 24% in the house now, due to the wood heat, so you can see the heads of the finish nails in the shrinking joints. In the summer they swell back up and mostly hide them. May I add that the ash is so hard, the air nailer with the 1 1/2" 18 ga. finish nails would crumple up with the pull of the trigger. Each nail hole had to be pilot drilled in order to be driven by hand into the tongues and set with a nail set far enough to not interfere with the groove of the next piece.

You can see our "emergency lighting" system we have throughout our house. Of course they do not come on automatically with power failure though. :D :D Man, I really like that slippery elm matched up with the ash !!! Thanks to the kindhearted spirit of dad's old friend I can enjoy another little bit of what was given to us by nature. Rest in peace Clyde and know that you are spoken of often.

No, it sure ain't perfect like you'd have with store bought material or seamless like you'd get with other manufactured products...but by golly it is what it is and its good enough for a guy who grew up in a little shanty of a house where you couldn't keep a candle lit in high winds and you'd have to crack a thin film of ice in the water bucket before the fire in the cookstove would get going good. Man, I got it good now..... Hope you enjoyed the photos and story.
 

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Very nice work Wendell, you're a man of many talents. Helps to have the right tools to work with too. :cool:
You've got to have "the patients of Job" to do work like that. ;)
 

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I think most old tractor fanatics are also sawdust makers!

VERY NICE!!

If someone doesn't like it; TDB!
 

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Looks great Wendall!!!!!!Yea after I got this old house done I said if ya want new buy new But old wood and houses are like us few extra cracks and droops but atleast they have a unique personnality!!! ;) ;) :D
 

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Great work Wendell. Never heard of slippery Elm. Is it similar to slick Willie? :lol:
 

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Wendell , loved it loved it!!Lovedthe great story behind it all .
Excellent work . Love the pride you took in making it. I don't
think there is not much you couldn't do when you set your head to do it.
You are a man of many God given talent. Thanks for sharing this post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
BigDaveinKY said:
Helps to have the right tools to work with too. :cool:
What I've always done Dave, was to look at a project and estimate the cost if hired out, then justify buying the tools to do it myself for little or no cost then have the tools left over. :D :D :D

ralbuck, I'm thinking you are right... many of the tractor people I know are wood-butchers also. I guess its something about sawdust AND old oil in our veins. :D :D

Mike, 10-4 on the cracks and droops, we're on the same page, me and my house that is. And you are right when it comes to old houses, old tractors OR old cars, they've developed a personality and character of their own over the years and you just gotta be prepared to "tweak" a little here and there.

Steve, I just dunno if they's any Slippery Elm in Washington D.C or not anymore...maybe all used up by your aforementioned suspect....He HAD to get his name from SOMEWHERE !!!!!

bettyp said:
Wendell , loved it loved it!!Lovedthe great story behind it all .
Excellent work . Love the pride you took in making it. I don't
think there is not much you couldn't do when you set your head to do it.
You are a man of many God given talent. Thanks for sharing this post.
You ma'am are MUCH too gracious with your comment....but I'll take it anyway. It's just that pictures can hide a lot of the imperfections. ;) ;) Thank you MissBetty, and all the above gentlemen as well.
 

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Wendell I hate to sound like a copy cat but as I was reading the post and looking at the pictures I said to my wife that man has more God given talents than anybody I have ever seen and you make good use of all of them. Never would have imagened that Slippery Elm would have sawed that pretty of wood but the way the grain popped out with the finish was nice and the fact that your dad sawed the lumber is icing on the cake. That Ash paneling is something to and the angle design sets it off. Wendell you my friend are a craftsman and believe me a cobbler like myself can tell the difference. :) While I'm bragging on you I want to say one more thing in reference to your many talents. That sandblaster you made should be in the country boy hall of fame cause I'm going to bet there are people with slide rules and a compass that couldn't tell smeonehow to build that. :D :D :D
 

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Never heard of slippery elm before. Sure does look great. I really like the grain. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
gordon1121 said:
Never would have imagened that Slippery Elm would have sawed that pretty of wood but the way the grain popped out with the finish was nice and the fact that your dad sawed the lumber is icing on the cake. That Ash paneling is something to and the angle design sets it off. :D :D :D
Thank you Gordon for the compliment, but I really am not that good at anything. Just good enough to get by because I'm too cheap to pay anyone to do anything for me. :lol: :lol: (Another trait inherited from my Dad.) And that ash wall was next to impossible. For a drill bit I used a 4d finish nail in a battery drill (with the head cut off) then nailed them up with 6d finish nails and still bent an unbelievable number of them. Those 4d nails would just smoke up a storm while going through the wood, but that way I didn't have to buy a pocketfull of drillbits to waste because of being snapped off. :lol: :lol:

I don't know the difference between American Elm and Slippery Elm prwttsh, but there is a lot of both around here. Dutch elm disease is killing a lot of American elms, and I don't know if it effects both species. :oops:
 

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Wendal sorry for the delay in replying. I think the wood is some of the prettiest I have ever seen, I had never seen slippery elm used in anything other than firewood. But I will certainly be looking for a big elm tree to cut down. I have been doing some woodworking since 1956 starting with industrial arts in high school. I didn't do much until I retired in 1996 when I decided to use the woodworking shop that I had built a few years prior. I built a few pieces of furniture trying to use all different types of wood; cedar, oak, popular,buckeye, walnut, boxelder and beech but mostly as of late I have been doing more turning than anything else since it is easier work. I have picked up chunks of wood from different places such as firewood piles of wood and turned them into bowls, Christmas tree onraments, candle holders, and picture frames. I am very jealous of the surplus that you have accumulated over the years and all the things that you have made from them. The collection of tractors that you have are very impressive to me. Hope you and yours had a nice Christmas and that you have a healthy and prosperous new year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
don32040 said:
I have been doing some woodworking since 1956 starting with industrial arts in high school. I didn't do much until I retired in 1996 when I decided to use the woodworking shop that I had built a few years prior. I built a few pieces of furniture trying to use all different types of wood; cedar, oak, popular,buckeye, walnut, boxelder and beech but mostly as of late I have been doing more turning than anything else since it is easier work. I have picked up chunks of wood from different places such as firewood piles of wood and turned them into bowls, Christmas tree onraments, candle holders, and picture frames. .
Don, I was telling Gordon the other day about some mulberry we sawed years ago and how pretty the yellowy grain looked when finished. I still have an old baseball bat dad turned down for me in '64 or so out of it. Thank you also for the compliments sir, though I guarantee you are much more accomplished than I, because I'm not showing you the BAD spots... :lol: :lol: :lol:

My son in law, an Industrial Arts teacher has gotten into woodturning big time lately, and if you promise to post some pictures of some of your projects, I'll promise to take a few of his latest turnings and post them as well. Is that a deal ??? You can start a new thread or add it here, I'd love to see some !!!!

I know he'll be interested in finding out about your lathe also. At one time he owned three of them and may still though the PowerMatic is his favorite and is a serious machine. He just installed a 3 phase motor on it and we installed a variable frequency drive on the motor to run it on single phase AND to give it an infinite speed selection. Looking forward to a post of your projects.....Happy New Year to you sir !!!
 

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Wendell I will be happy o post some pictures of the things I have turned and carved. I will have to put a little pressurer on gordon though I have never used photo bucket but he said that he would help me get set up so we will get the project started soon.Have a great day
 
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