This goes back to the big ice storm a few years back.  A friend was called by one of his neighbors who had a huge walnut tree fall into her yard.  She had already had it bucked into firewood length chunks but it was otherwise intact.  He went and gathered it all up.  He and another friends figured out how to take these large pieces, take the bark off, and saw them up into large pieces of about four to six inches in size and set them aside to dry.

He gave me one or two recently since a) he can’t figure out exactly what to do with such short pieces of hardwood and b) he’s a nice guy.  Plus I gave him my film scanner.

Not long ago I saw an article in Fine Woodworking about using scraps to make parquet flooring.  *DING*  I thought “Let’s make some walnut flooring!”

So last night I began.  I jointed one side and when it was flat I turned it 90 degrees and made the mating side flat and square.   Thank goodness for that nice jointer I have (although I’m getting a bit of snipe on the back edge of each piece which I can’t figure out – better get out the manual).  I then took these to the bandsaw.  I raised my guide as high as it would go.  I had attempted to build a rip fence some time ago and I installed this and sliced my first slab off.  This same friend had also given me his old bandsaw blade when he upgraded to a larger saw a couple of years ago and this blade is special – it has carbide teeth.  I had never seen such a thing before and as far as I know they are only available from Iturra who has no web site to shop from so I don’t know how much it cost but it must have been a lot.  It made quick, easy work out of slicing through a four inch chunk of seasoned hardwood.  I’ve seen mature walnut like this slow down a table saw so this is no small thing.

 It was then that I found that my homemade rip fence was not square to the table.  Note to self:  measure a little more carefully in the future.  The first slab was a bit thick so I moved the fence to make it thinner and sawed it again, slicing off an amazingly thin slab.  It was awesome – good tools are wonderful.  I took this thin slice and shimmed up my fence and was all ready to saw more slabs – square this time.

I went back and forth from the bandsaw to the jointer; slicing a slab then smoothing out the freshly sawn side of the big chunk until I had a nice pile of stock – about 5/16” thick.  Just thick enough to put everything together and then run it through my friend’s thickness sander and leave it at ¼” thick. 

Now, on to sawing this into strips from which I can assemble one 10 inch floor tile sized piece of parquet flooring.  I can’t wait.

I was so excited by this that I ended up feeling as if I had chugged one of those gigantic cups of Starbuck’s coffee and thus had a very hard time getting to sleep.  Perhaps I’m getting a bit too excited by this.  It’s only wood after all.