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Machining methods

Machining methods

  • Mesquite's hardness and interlocking grain often equate to chipping and tearout when planing. To lessen the problem, feed the wood at a slight angle and take light passes that only remove about 1/32" at a time.
  • Feed mesquite slowly against the blade when ripping, giving the gullets plenty of time to clear themselves of sawdust.
  • Selecting the correct grain direction when feeding the jointer should pose little problem, but chipping can occur. Start by setting the table height for a 1/16" cut. If there's no tearout, increase the cut to 1/8".
  • Use only spurred bits and slower drill-press speeds for mesquite. Clear the bit frequently in thick stock to avoid burnishing the hole sides (glue won't be absorbed).
  • Reducing tearout and chipping when routing means shallow passes rather than a heavy one, and a consistent feed rate. Use a backing board to rout end grain.
  • Cross-grain sanding on mesquite produces scratches. Where grains meet at right angles, clean up with a cabinet scraper or random- orbit sander. And do not skip grits when sanding this wood.
  • When gluing mesquite, use an adhesive with a longer open time. This allows you to lay down a light coat of glue, briefly join the pieces, then pull them apart to allow the adhesive to partially set up before rejoining.
  • Always predrill mesquite for nails and screws because of its hardness and density.
  • Mesquite poses few problems when staIning. Yet, it's best to let the beautiful character of the wood show through a clear finish or penetrating oil. The amount of figure your wood displays should guide your choice.

Continued on page 6:  Carving comments


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