Mesquite? Making a saddle stand for a gift. Finished

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by tristndad, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    My wife's birthday is the beginning of February. A beginning of January conversation between herself and I...
    Me
    What do you want for your birthday?
    Her
    I want you to make me a saddle rack!
    Me
    You know there is no heat in the barn right?

    Well it's finally warm enough to start working on her present. Better late then never?

    I am making it out of curly maple, and using mesquite for the slats the saddle will sit on. I really like the contrast between the two woods. I'm hoping she does also, but at this point it's to late.

    I am wondering if anyone out there in this wonderful world of knowledge and experience we call BCUSA including @gohammergo or @T. Pollock has experience with mesquite.

    It's the first time ever working with it and I would like to know how to get the best results with the finish. Seeing as though it's a rush to get my woman her present, I'm trying to avoid my favorite trial and error method.

    Suggestions for...
    what grit to end with
    Wet sanding necessary
    Oil or urethane-type
    Any other info you got

    Thanks in advance, and I will be sure and post a picture or two with the final product.
     
  2. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I will get back to you with some tips when I can get on my computer. It's a very beautiful wood. :)
     
  3. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks, I figured you would have experience working with it.

    I have about enough time to get it sanded out to 120 tonight, and I have alot of work left on the maple so I am in no hurry.
     
  4. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Sorry I can't be of any help with this one brother, I've never had an opportunity to work with it. I'm sure hammer will hook you right up though.
     
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  5. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    I love mesquite, it's a beautiful hardwood. But it's difficult to find good pieces large enough for bigger projects.

    I did make a crossbow out of mesquite back in shop class. I still have it, actually. However, I don't think any advice I can recall from the project should be considered professional. That said, I didn't do any wet sanding, all dry. And I oil finished.
     
  6. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It presents some challenges. Work it slowly, and with sharp tools, because it is a very hard wood. If you need to use a router, do so with caution, because there will be inconsistencies in the grain structure. Best to use hand tools if possible. Sand slowly, and always with the grain. Too fast, like with a belt sander, and you will get hot spots. A clear hand rubbed oil is the best finish, or hand rubbed shellac, followed up with clear lacquer.

    Can't wait to see some pictures!

    That reminds me, I have a couple of saddle racks to make this spring too. :)
     
  7. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks everyone for replying.
    @kronin323 you might be interested in westpenn hardwoods

    https://wphardwoods.com/?s=Mesquite+&post_type=product

    They have a ton of hard to find exotic woods in all sorts of sizes. They used to be located up here in NY, and I would go their for my wood fix. The warehouse was huge and filled to the ceiling with tons of stuff. Unfortunately they have moved somewhere down south, and I am heart broken.

    If the link doesn't work, a quick google search for westpenn hardwoods will get you there.
     
  8. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    @gohammergo thanks for your input, it's much appreciated.

    I didn't have much work to do with the mesquite, other then cutting to size and sanding. They are just 3/4"×1-1/2"×11" slats. I did get some burn marks from the table saw, but they sanded out fairly easy. I'm hand sanding them with a rubber drywall sanding gizmo that I have glued a mouse pad too. I use it for sharpening my axes and machetes. It is working great for rounding the corners on these slats. Mesquite reminds me alot of African ebony mixed with black walnut with a small drop of red oak as far as hardness and texture. I think I will end at 180 grit. I'm guessing that should be enough to show most of the beutiful characteristics without bringing the flaws out that may be hidden.

    I like your suggestion of a hand rubbed clear oil. I don't want to over darken it. Do you think butcher block oil would be fine, or would you recommend something else? I can't think of another clear oil. I do have a few pieces of scraps so I will be testing for my desired results.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Pics?
     
  10. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    I'll have to get you some tomorrow. The barn is locked up and it's almost lights out. Got all of my pieces cut, now I'm working on chiseling out some recesses where the slats are going to sit. Pretty tedious. After that sanding, more sanding, and then more sanding.
     
  11. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    @kronin323 speaking of pics, where are the pics of your self made crossbow? That sounds pretty Frickin cool, would love to see that!
     
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  12. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    I'll have to dig it out. It was from a kit; you made the stock to spec and it had the other hardware.
     
  13. GBinGA

    GBinGA Tracker

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    I have used mesquite on a couple of knife handles. I did the rough shaping with a disk sander, and then progressed by hand from 80 to 120 to 150 to 220 to 400, at which point I started wet sanding with Birchwood Casey TruOil. Finished with several coats wet sanded at 600, then wiping off excess. It came out looking nice, I thought.

    For a mesquite source, I used texaswoodcrafts.net .
     
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  14. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    @GBinGA welcome to the forum! Thanks for the input. I am a big fan of the Bitchwood Casey's gunstock oil. Is the Tru oil a clear oil or does it have an amber tint to it?
     
  15. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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  16. GBinGA

    GBinGA Tracker

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    Tru Oil is clear. It does not darken when cured, so far as I can tell.
     
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  17. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    Thank you, I will be looking into it. I do love their products and usually get gret results from them.
     
  18. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I would suggest lacquer for the finish. It goes on crystal clear, and dries hard. It will make the grain jump out at you, just like if it is wet with water.

    I see you have a DeWalt sander too. I seem to collect them. :) I think right now I have 3 orbital and one square sheet DeWalt. Also a few Makita and Milwaukee. The DeWalt is what I reach for first though. :)
     
  19. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    Its probably my most used tool after my angle grinder. I do alot of power carving with the Arbortech tools. If you have never heard of them, you should take a look at them on YouTube. They are expensive, but do a fantastic job. Between the chainsaw mill, the Arbortech tools, and the DeWalt sander my creative options are endless.

    This is one of my first projects I have done with manufactured lumber, and measurements. Can't wait to get it over, so I can get back to a more non-controlled method of building.

    I did buy some clear semi-gloss laquer last night for the mesquite. I will use the Birchwood Casey's gunstock oil on the maple to bring out the curls and finish it off with the laquer.
     
  20. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Prov 27:17

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    Looks like a good start. Prov 27:17
     
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  21. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    OK, apologies if this appears to be a thread hijack; I'm posting because the OP asked for this.

    I made this back in shop class in late 1985 / early 1986, probably more in the early 1986 timeframe. Through the school we had to purchase the crossbow kit which included the metal hardware and plans and we had to source our choice of wood on our own. I believe the blank we needed was supposed to be 30" x 8" x 2". Aside from the more common woods, some people went fancy with stuff like purpleheart and zebrawood; amazingly they were able to find them in the correct size blank.

    I wanted to do mesquite. And I could not find a blank that size. Being a very hard wood, mesquite grows slowly and thus there aren't a lot of thick logs to source from. Aside from that, it rarely grows straight and there's also some kind of worm that will eat holes in it. So it's really tough to find large, quality pieces. What I was able to find were two 1" thick boards that were really just unfinished rip cuts of the log, they still had bark along their uneven edges. But on each I could trace out a 30" x 8" rectangle of good wood. My classmates laughed at me when I brought those in, thought there was no way I'd make them work.

    I cut them to shape on the band saw and, with the assistance of the instructor, did a professional job gluing them together. Then they went through the planer and a BUNCH of passes through the jointer until I finally had a 30" x 8" x 2" blank like everybody else.

    From there it was tracing out the shape and cutting it on the bandsaw. Being so hard, I did get a little wood burn like y'all experienced but nothing that wouldn't go away during finish sanding. Had to manually chisel the mortise for the trigger assembly. The channels along the top were cut on a table saw with the center groove cut with a table router. And there were some other steps.

    From there, many others sanded down the edges and called it a day. But I felt 2" was a bit too thick for the stock. What I discovered was the large floor-standing belt sander, when the butt of the stock was against the stop, the length of the belt was the perfect length to reach to the base of the forestock. So I was able to sand the sides down while leaving the forestock a beefier grip, like the pump on a shotgun. I was the only one who did this.

    When I first dug it out for the pics that follow, I went ahead and hit it with some mineral oil (butchers block oil) since I hadn't oiled it in forever. I knew it would darken it but in hindsight I should have taken some "before" pics which showed the mesquite's more natural color, a medium brown with a faint salmon hue.

    20190405_184040.jpg

    20190405_184052.jpg

    These next two show how I sanded down the sides. You can see I was a little unbalanced but it didn't affect function.

    20190405_184111.jpg

    20190405_184123.jpg

    Here you can see the line down the center where the two boards glued together.

    20190405_184130.jpg

    But here they blended together so well the seam's practically invisible.

    20190405_184136.jpg

    With the crossbow mounted. The wire is a little damaged on one end so I didn't want to risk putting it under the full load of cocking it just for pics.

    20190407_142738.jpg

    20190407_142802.jpg

    I kept the scraps. Made a couple pencil holders with them and still have the others somewhere for some future project maybe. Here's one of the pencil holders next to the crossbow to show the difference the mineral oil made, how much it darkened it.

    20190407_151256.jpg

    20190407_151304.jpg

    The End.
     
  22. Bryan E.

    Bryan E. Tracker

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    Just a short note on finishes and wood colors.

    Many woods change color as they age exposed to light. The same wood with the same exact finish can end up lighter and darker. The one seeing more sunlight usually ends up darker.

    Almost all oil finishes will give a slight honey tint to the wood. For most browns this tint is complimentary and works out well. In my preference, oils are great for brown woods. White woods like maple look great totally clear with a laquer finish or a clear water based finish.

    I look forward to seeing your finished project.

    Bryan
     
  23. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    @kronin323 that was a really cool project. It looks like it came out great. I am really loving the looks of the mesquite.

    Unfortunately, I can't imagine there are many schools left that allow students to make crossbows.
     
  24. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Very cool brother! I've always wanted to make myself a crossbow but never have gotten around to trying one. Actually I've never shot one either but I bet they're fun. After nearly tearing my right arm off at the shoulder a few years ago and having to have major surgery to put it all back together a regular bow is out of the question for me to be able to use.
     
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  25. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    Just about done with the saddle stand. Just waiting on some hand forged hooks to put on the sides, so my wife can hang her bridals on. Also thinking about another shelf half way up. I am really happy with the way the mesquite turned out. It is now one of my favorite woods.

    Thank you to everyone who had some advice to share. Much appreciated! 20190408_193615-1.jpg 20190408_193916-1.jpg
     
  26. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Nicely done brother!
     
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  27. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    That looks great, I’m sure your wife will love it.
     
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  28. Bryan E.

    Bryan E. Tracker

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    Great job on your project. Your wife will love it.
     
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