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  • Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

    I'm working on an oak bookcase, and have two questions for y'all:

    1) See the first three pictures. I have a bevel along the top edge, and a rounded edge on the "baseboard". From a design perspective, do these two profiles clash? Or do you think it would look better if I rounded the top edge as well?

    2) See the "OakMarks" picture. This is the edging I glued onto the front edge of the plywood shelves. I cut some 1/8" strips from some standard Home-Depot-purchased red oak, using a brand-new Freud ripping blade. What's causing these blotchy marks? Also, when cutting thin strips from a 1 1/2 inch x 3/4 piece of solid oak, is it better to set the fence at 1/8 from the blade and run the stock through, or to cut the strip off the other side of the stock (i.e. "thick" part between fence and blade, result piece on left side of blade)? I did the latter, because I thought that having the resultant thin strip between the blade and fence would be a recipe for kicking it back. However, I wonder if the vibration from having the thin piece on the non-fence side might've caused the blotches. (And yes, I used a featherboard.)

    To try and remove the blotches, I've tried running it through my power planer, sanding, using a cabinet scraper, and my cheapie Stanley hand-plane, all to no avail. I wonder if the blotches might add character when stained, but I'm thinking "probably not".

    Thanks in advance
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

    Steve.

    Regarding the design, I'd probably add a molding underneath the top piece. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course, but as it sits now, the top looks like a "cap", IMO. I'd probably leave the top edge flat, and round over the bottom edge; like a mirror reflection of the bottom base. (I'd brobably play with it on the computer first, just to see how each compares.)

    I can only guess about the "blotching", but you mentioned glueing to the edge of the plywood... so could that be glue, bleeding through the oak? Red oak is very porous, so that could be a possibility. That would also explain why you can't take it off. The only other explanation that comes to mind would be possible pick-up of oil or silicone from your saw.

    You also asked about cutting the thin pieces on your table saw. I'm afraid I don't have a lot of experience there (most past experience is with an RAS). But, I do recall seeing "thin cuts" being done on a table saw via the use of a simple jig. Not sure the proper name, but it was simply a board which was notched to receive the stock to be cut. The right side of the "jig" board was placed against the fence, the stock rested in the notch and the board acted as a "pusher" to move the stock through the cutting blade.

    In that manner, the fence position was fixed, the stock rested against the board and it was pushed through the cut. Board was pulled back, stock was again positioned and the board was pushed through again, for second piece, etc.

    Actually, as I write this, it has come back to me where I saw this... so, check out the video on the www.woodmagazine.com site. The particular topic is "Ripping Large and Small Pieces" Here's a link:
    http://www.woodmagazine.com/wood/fil...layer&temp=yes


    I hope this helps,

    CWS
    Last edited by CWSmith; 10-20-2007, 07:44 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

      I can only guess about the "blotching", but you mentioned glueing to the edge of the plywood... so could that be glue, bleeding through the oak? Red oak is very porous, so that could be a possibility. That would also explain why you can't take it off. The only other explanation that comes to mind would be possible pick-up of oil or silicone from your saw.
      The "blotchiness" occurred right off the saw, so definitely not glue. It's perfectly smooth to the touch. I tried cutting some thin pieces of poplar, and it looked about perfect. I just wonder if this is a peculiarity of this particular cut of oak. I also got sort of the same look with some oak edging I did a few months ago, but not as pronounced.

      Of course, I could just use the outer edges of some from-the-store good oak, as I only need three strips (1/8 inch thick), and glue it on the other edge of the plywood. Problem solved.

      As for the aesthetics, I may indeed put some trim around the bottom edge of the top and see how that looks. My wife seems to like it as is, which is always a good test.
      Last edited by steveKane; 10-20-2007, 10:01 PM. Reason: minor edit

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      • #4
        Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

        Well I don't see any "blotches" but I do see whats referred to as "rays" which is common in oak and sometimes sought after for that look..Its 1 thing I've always liked about oak.Nice work
        Sam

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        • #5
          Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

          Well I don't see any "blotches" but I do see whats referred to as "rays" which is common in oak and sometimes sought after for that look..Its 1 thing I've always liked about oak.Nice work
          AHA! So it's not me, it's the wood! This is the first time I've worked with oak.

          Some googling shows this is called "medullary ray-fleck", which is found in quartersawn oak. This link has a good explanation.

          Thanks! I think I'll leave it as is.

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          • #6
            Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

            I believe it is the rays from red or white oak.

            Bookcase looks nice.

            I also read something interesting about oak. I think it was white oak where they said you could take a small piece and blow into it an it could cause tiny bubbles if the other end was in water.Thats how pourous it is.
            I havent used mine yet to suck down a beverage but I believe.

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            • #7
              Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

              The "blotches" are the annular ray fleck pattern that comes from quater sawing oak. It is part of the normal ring growth of the tree.

              Essentiall what happened is that you took a flat sawn board and cut a thin slice off ofthe edge. You then truned the piece 90 degrees and made the edge into the face. Thus changing the grain's direction.
              If you don't like the look in this case, you can fix it.
              Turn your board on it's edge, set your fence to make the distance the same as the thickness you need. Set the depth to a little more the the width. Now cut what is essentially a groove in the edge of the board. Now reset the fence and cut the board with the face flat, cutting the "legs" off of the groove. Now you have a flat sawn piece that is the same size as your quarter sawn piece. If the piece you need is thin enough, you can get one from each side of the groove.
              Like this...
              The top is the way you cut them. The bottom keeps the piece from the same face.

              If you had a lot to do, it might be better to buy a piece of quarter sawn wood and then cut them the way you did originally. This would turn the quarter sawn into flat sawn...the reverse of what you did. It would save all of the cutting of the way I showed.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by LONGHAIR; 10-21-2007, 11:09 AM.

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              • #8
                Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

                Originally posted by steveKane View Post
                To try and remove the blotches, I've tried running it through my power planer, sanding, using a cabinet scraper, and my cheapie Stanley hand-plane, all to no avail. I wonder if the blotches might add character when stained, but I'm thinking "probably not".
                Those aren't blotches, they're called ray-flecks and are a characteristic of quarter-sawn oak. Most people want to enhance them, not hide them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

                  Steve,

                  I would definitely agree. I have to admit that I had to take another look though, as my first thought after reading the other comments, was "what are these guys seeing that I'm not?"

                  Well, like gee... how about looking at "all" the pictures, which I obviously didn't. I looked at only the two pictures represented by the larger thumnails!!! Like "Duh" on part .

                  The first picture that I saw was the full view of the case, and the second (and last) was the roundover edge treatment on the top (third picture in the series), and that single "splotch" almost looked like a thumb print to me.

                  So, it must have been a "low sugar" day or something. Now, after looking at all the pictures, I can definitely see rayflects.

                  My apologies, for not "seeing" everything,


                  CWS

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                  • #10
                    Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

                    I guess what originally confused me was that none of this Home-Depot-purchased red oak showed any of these flecks until I ripped the strips, along the same plane as the short edge. It just seemed like too much of a coincidence. Next time I'm at HD, I'll look at the oak and see if there is any wood that is already showing the fleck.

                    I'm in the staining phase, and will post the final results later this week.

                    CWSmith--I added some trim around the underside of the top shelf, and it makes a huge difference; less "caplike", as you described. You'll see later.

                    Thanks for the input, everyone!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

                      The final result posted below. It was hard to part with it!
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Re: Bookcase--Design Question and Oak "Blotches"

                        Looks really good

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