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He "Sands" Old Wood With Flowing Grain
After spending 20 years as the manager of a big grain terminal, Arvid Lyons, Clarkston, Wash., knew what flowing grain could do to wood. So when he started building furniture as a hobby it's no wonder he decided to use wheat as his sander.
  Tons of flowing grain creates a weather-worn look on lumber which Lyons then uses to make chests that are 40 in. long, 19 in. high, and 16 in. wide.
  "People like the smooth feel the grain produces," says Lyons, who makes 3 to 4 chests per year. He has exhibited some of them in galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest.
  He positions large pieces of wood at a 45 degree angle under unloading chutes on rail cars. He often uses wood salvaged from old barns for his projects.
  "It takes about 10 rail cars or 30,000 bu. of wheat to sand a 4-ft. long board. I use 4 boards per chest so it takes about $300,000 of æsandpaper' to finish each job," says Lyons.
  "Most of the wood I use is from barns 50 to 80 years old. The boards are 12 to 15 in. wide and are from old growth trees so it's a different type of wood than you see on modern chests. We get only about 15 inches of rain per year in this area so the boards are still pretty sound. The abrasive action of the flowing grain removes the rotten or softer wood faster than the harder wood, producing silky smooth boards with a æwavy' texture."
  Joints are hand cut with chisels and saws. Boards are run through planers on one side so that the inside of the chest is clothing friendly with no slivers.
  To build the chests Lyons uses an Oriental-style woodworking method that makes use of Japanese tools. He learned it from his father. There are no nails. Instead, he uses "dovetail joints" that are glued together. "I make the joints during the winter and assemble the chests, then let them sit for about two months so they can ærelax' into place," says Lyons. "The following spring I take the chest apart and put glue on the joints, then put it back together. It's easier for glue to do its job if the board isn't fighting against it.
  "The saw I use has a narrower blade and finer teeth than a conventional saw. It also has a different type of cutting action - I pull it instead of pushing it."
  Lyons sells the chests for $700 to $1,000.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Arvid Lyons, Asotin Creek Furniture, 2333 5th Ave., Clarkston, Wash. 99403 (ph 509 758-3408).

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1999 - Volume #23, Issue #2