Answers to the Short Cuts questions from issue 156
A. Pernambuco. Bow makers prize the wood for its density, weight, strength, stiffness, and rich orange to redish-brown color. A well-crafted pernambuco bow measuring 32" long can cost as much as $10,000.
A. WOOD® magazine finish consultant Jim Kull says no perfect defense exists for direct sunlight's impact on wood. Nor will a clear finish prevent wood from darkening from exposure, or stop a stain from fading. However, you can minimize sunlight's affect on projects.
For a clear finish on outdoor projects, Jim says to use a urethane varnish with ultraviolet (UV) protection. However, marine varnishes are the best film-forming finishes, below. (Call West Marine at 800/262-8464, or go to westmarine.com.) An excellent alternative is to apply an exterior oil finish made for decks or fences. For indoor projects try an occasional application of paste wax.
A. Shaker legend has it that around 1810 Tabitha Babbitt from the Harvard, Massachusetts, Shaker village was sitting at her spinning wheel when she looked out the window and saw the brethern cutting wood with a straight saw. Then it occurred to her: "Why not saw wood with a round blade, turning it in the same fashion as a spinning wheel?"
Some historians point to an earlier Shaker origin of the circular blade, attributing Benjamin Bruce of the Mt. Lebanon village in New York as the inventor, and the physical proof, below, seems to support it. Still others say the circular saw blade dates back to 1645 in the Netherlands, being reintroduced in England in 1781.