Saturday, July 21, 2018

Board Stretching

Detail of the completed, stretched board

Original board as we received it
Woodworking 101 goes something like this: measure twice, cut once, because you can't stretch a board.  Well, actually you can.

We were instructed to use this board as the live-edge counter for a recent project.  The idea was to resaw the board in two halves, trim the back and edges then, viola --a counter. That idea met its demise when we realized that the board was not wide enough and also happened to be a bit short.

Resawn board
We decided to stretch the board.  The first step was to resaw it into two halves.  We then cut approximately 1" x 3" strips from the underside of each half, then flipped these up to create a 1" x 6" bookmatched strip at the center of the new wider board.

Widened board
Pattern of bookmatched center strip

Cutoff being marked for a miter 

The problem of lengthening the board remained.  We cut live-edge material off the back edge of the board, where the wood counter would abutt the wall, then repurposed this edge by adding it to each end of the board.

The material would have to be mitered, with the live edge flowing as seamlessly as possible with the live edge at the front of the board.
Mitered live edge being prepared for attachment to board
We thought it would be best if the seam at the front live edge occurred some distance from the miter.  We also thought it would be good to have the seam where the new piece meets the board be irregular, following somewhat the flow of the wood grain.

New board ends prior to gluing
The challenge was to make the seams almost invisible.  There was the added challenge of getting the angle of the live edges to align.
cleaned up and finished
the left corner softened, carved, with the carved live edge color-matched
The bookmatched detail

The stretched board

So there you go.  Whenever you hear someone say you can't stretch a board, know that actually you can.  And if you enjoy this kind of thing like we do, it can be fun.