In Projects, Shop Blog, Techniques

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The Right Boards

 I've been planning out a bowfront wall cabinet with coopered
doors for a few months. Originally, I was set on making it of walnut or cherry –
two of my favorite woods to work with because they're very hand-tool friendly. I
took a trip to the local lumberyard, and unfortunately, none of the walnut or cherry
was very inspiring. A friend told me about some quarter-sawn, African ribbon-stripe
mahogany that he'd be willing to part with, and said I should come and have a
look. After a couple passes on the jointer to see what it looked like, it was
clear that I had found my boards. The intensity of the colors and the subtle waves
of the grain were perfect for my cabinet.

 The only drawback is that this type of mahogany, with its
interlocking grain, is not as "hand-tool friendly." In fact, it
screams for sandpaper! The interlocking grain is what gives these boards their
shimmering, striped appearance. The problem is that with each
"stripe" the grain changes direction, which is a nightmare for
hand-planing. You'll see the results in an upcoming issue of American
Woodworker. Wish me luck! 

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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