Superglue revives punky oak

With milling over 1,000 pieces for this month-long workshop I expected a lot of the usual waste, but, surprisingly, there was very little beyond the planer shavings and sawdust; perhaps much less than 5% and not the accepted 25% allowed for in most such milling.

This piece of white oak was really a piece of junk with some soft, spongy punky areas around the knot when I bandsawed the 3” wide section down the middle.

I did this to show my students exactly what book-matching was, but then I decided to glue up the piece and see how far I got and to redeem the work. I used super-thin superglue which soaks readily into the punky areas and also the many voids and fissures that typically occur around areas such as this. This is not new to me and I have done this for many years. The superglue becomes transparent or shows as black solid, which looks fine. I spray a light mist of the accelerator on to harden it straight away so I can continue working without stopping. The glue filler can be chiseled, planed or scraped as you can see and the results can be quite stunning.







Here is a closer view of the crotch area and you can see how you can make various configured book matches with a little imagination and a mirror. The picture with the ebony dots are the segments of the clock face and I will have only a mechanism behind the wood to move the fingers.

When we made the two credenzas for the Cabinet Room of the White House Permanent Collection for President Obama’s Inauguration four years ago we used crotch grain Black Walnut for the body feathers because it had the same perfect configuration for what we needed as you see here in this clock. Actually, most of this inlay work was Joseph Sellers’ work. The wings on the bald eagle motif was made from crotch-grain black walnut also. We made two exact book-matched fronts to the entirety of these cabinets, so there are actually two exact opposites for the eagles as they face towards each other from the adjacent pieces either side of the Oval Office entryway from the Cabinet Room.