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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Default Mesquite boxes

Next Friday, a friend from Canada and I will venture into the wilds of the Sonoran Desert to harvest some Mesquite. Hopefully, we'll get some good stuff.
A current project requires resawing 5.5" Mesquite and I had quite a time with it. Finally determined that I needed to tighten the belt one my Shopsmith. Cuts like butter now....well a lot better, anyhow.
Sort of a rambling intro to a project build I will photo shoot. It is a series of pistol presentation boxes, built entirely from Mesquite and lined with leather.
So far, I have only made the piece which nestles the pistol and magazine (Glock) and have the pieces resawn. The panel that nestles the gun was made with the over arm router after first making a pattern of the gun. Resawing the Mesquite has exposed some very interesting voids (shake cracks?) which will be filled with turquoise chips and silver. I use dental amalgam for the silver and casting resin to bind the turquoise chips.
Still cogitating on the method of cornering the box. Leaning towards keyed miters.
Stay tuned.
Gene

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 08:01 PM
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Very cool Idea, I want to see photos soon. harvesting mesquite is that basically like normal wood? how long do you have to dry, is it stickerd like the norm? or can you use it right away? just curious I have never worked with it,

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your interest, Rick.
On the Janke scale of hardness Janka Wood Hardness Scale Mesquite ranks as the 4th hardest of the woods tested. As an example, White Oak is at 1360 and Mesquite is at 2345.
I've been told by Mexican sawyers that, due to it's density, there's no reason to not just use the wood as soon as it's cut and slabbed. That may need to be tested, though.
At any rate, the pieces we'll be collecting have been cut and lain in the log for over a year.
The land owner cuts it for firewood. He and my son are buddies and I was lucky enough to persuade him to save me a pick up load of 4'-6' long logs. I figure my yield will be 40 to 50%. I'm paying fire wood price, so I should get around $1000+ worth of usable stock for about $250. Around here and in Texas, milled Mesquite runs around $6 to $7+ a BF. Of course, I have to mill mine. I use a 1/2" bi-metal, 4tpi blade and, at the price for those blades, and considering their short life in Mesquite, I can understand a mill or yard charging the prices they do.
After I've slabbed it I plan to sticker it. However, I've purchased slabs from several different yards (Mexican and locals) that don't sticker their Mesquite stock. It doesn't appear to cup or twist, so stickers may not be necessary.
This will be a new experience for me.....taking Mesquite from log to finished pieces.
Wish me luck!
Gene

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 09:28 AM
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Hi Gene

I love using Mesquite wood in the BBQ, it's great, other than that it's like making something out of roots from a tree..

I'm looking forward to what you can do with it..

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 10:03 AM
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Like making something from roots of a tree ?
You mean like a Boomerang. Aboriginals made them using only sharp rocks.
This guy seems to do ok with it.
http://www.kerrvillepatiocovers.com/..._furniture.htm

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 02:33 PM
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Very nice Gene... man, I'm jealous.

I enclosed a pic of my lil piece of mesquite that I picked up last fall to make a handplane. It was already well dry/seasoned/stored when I got it at GilmerWood, just haven't had a chance to get to it yet... and it cost me ~$20 for a 3 1/8 x 3 1/8 x 17 1/2" chunk. Very cool wood!

...from http://www.uniquemesquite.com/properties.htm:
Quote:
Mesquite usually has an asymmetrical grain, is comfortable to work with and takes a high natural patina when polished. When dried it is remarkably stable and quite resilient to decay and insects. Mesquite hardly shrinks when dried, about 1/4 that of oak, and contracts evenly in different directions both in a radial fashion and tangentially, so both splitting and warping are minimized when the board is fully dried. Mesquite's "shrink rate" is almost always 4-5%; this is an extremely low number, especially when compared to other woods used for furniture that have shrinkage values from 8-15%.
Mesquite is very stable, hard, shrinks very little but equally on both planes (radially and tangentially), and looks terrific too.

To quote Napolean Dynomite: LUCKY... Gawwww
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, Gavin. That's some pretty neat furniture that guy makes. I stayed overnight in Kerrville just two weeks ago. Wish I'd known about him then.

BJ3, BBQ has been most of my past experience with Mesquite, also. But, after seeing what beautiful items are made from it, I just had to try some.

Another Bob, That was a nice piece of wood, there. Did you get the plane made?

Wanna trade some Mesquite for some Manzanita root? Maybe some redwood burl?

Got the first box top inlayed with turquoise dust. It's curing now. Soon we'll see how much work it is to bring it to a finish stage. I think System 3 and I are going to be bosom buddies, soon
Gene

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Howe View Post
Another Bob, That was a nice piece of wood, there. Did you get the plane made?
Not yet... gonna have to bump it up on the list...

Quote:
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Wanna trade some Mesquite for some Manzanita root? Maybe some redwood burl?
Might take you up on that some time in the future... never know what I might run across...
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