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Machining methods

Machining methods

  • Beech's hardness sometimes means chipping or tearout when planing or jointing with revolving cutterheads. If this happens, try reversing the board and taking a shallower cut.
  • Deciding on grain direction when feeding the jointer can be a problem because of the evenness of beech's grain. If it gets confusing, simply set the table height for a 1/16" cut and proceed. If there's no tearout, gradually increase the cut to 1/8".
  • Nearly as dense as hard maple, beech requires ripping with a rip-profile blade of 24 teeth or fewer to prevent dust buildup and burning in the kerf. Don't try to feed the wood any faster than the blade wants to cut it, and use your saw's splitter to defeat binding.
  • Depend on a fine-toothed cross cut blade to cut beech to length, again to prevent burning.
  • When drilling beech, back the bit out frequently to clear the hole. This avoids burning, especially in end grain.
  • Ballbearing pilots on your router bits and slow feed will eliminate burning. So will shallow passes across the grain.
  • Beech works well with all glues. Detect squeezeout by wiping along the joint with paint thinner.
  • Because of beech's hardness, always predrill for fasteners.
  • Unlike maple, beech won't blotch when stained, and you can stain it to resemble other woods, particularly cherry.
  • You'll find that beech accepts all types of finishes equally well. If you have stock with a distinct ray fleck, enhance it with clear penetrating oil.

Continued on page 6:  Carving comments


Comments (1)
ocrandell wrote:

The table above is labeled "Basswood" instead of Beech.

10/16/2010 12:29:38 PM Report Abuse

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