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Machining methods

Machining methods

  • Madrone's hardness and density dull cutting edges, so use carbide-tipped blades and bits.
  • Figured boards require a very slow feed into the planer, but never plane to exact thickness. Leave a little for sanding. If you don't, some tearout may occur.
  • Madrone has fine texture and straight grain, and although it's not likely to burn easily, it is somewhat stubborn in parting. That means using a rip-profile blade with 28 teeth or less on your tablesaw or radial-arm to avoid tearout. If you still have difficulty, leave about 1/32" extra wood for a jointing pass to clean up the edge, especially if you're machining figured boards.
  • Crosscut and dado madrone with the help of a backing board.
  • Twist drill bits will surely wander on hard madrone, so always drill with bradpoints or spurred bits for a clean hole. Provide for a backing board to lessen tearout.
  • To rout this wood cleanly, take shallow passes with sharp bits. For cross-grained routing, rely on the backing board again.
  • You can sand madrone to mirrorlike smoothness, but be sure to use progressively finer paper and don't skip a grit or you'll develop finite scratches.
  • Madrone's density definitely means predrilling for screws, then lubricating them with beeswax before driving.
  • The wood's density also means special treatment when gluing to avoid joint slippage. Use a dark-shaded glue so that any squeezeout won't show, and make sure that it has a long open time. Doing this allows you to put down a lighter coat, then briefly join the pieces before pulling them apart. Let the glue set up, then reassemble the parts.
  • Select any stain and clear finish you prefer. Madrone accepts them all well.

Continued on page 6:  Carving comments


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