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Machining methods

Machining methods

  • Although not nearly as hard as white ash, hackberry does have a blunting effect on cutting edges, so opt for carbide cutters.
  • Hackberry has irregular grain. Sometimes the grain runs straight and then again it can be interlocked. When you run into interlocking grain, plane it at a slight angle to avoid tearout.
  • Don't force-feed this somewhat dense wood when ripping, as it will burn. And use a rip-profile blade with at least 24 teeth.
  • Watch grain direction when jointing this wood. To avoid tearout, the jointer knives should follow the grain direction.
  • Because hackberry burns and chips almost as easily as white ash, be sure to take shallow passes with your router. And on end grain and cross-grain cuts, use a backing board.
  • Don't skip grits when ding hackberry, as it easily scratches.
  • Drill this wood only with bradpoint bits, and lift the bit from the hole occasionally to clear it or you'll burnish and burn the stock.
  • Plan on white glue for joining because like ash, hackberry absorbs glue slowly. You'll want plenty of open time.
  • Staining hackberry won't cause you any problems, unless you have to compensate for blue-stained wood by going lighter in those areas.

Continued on page 6:  Carving comments


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