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Re-sawing on the Band Saw and Table Saw

Compressed Wood planks will be S2S, or surfaced (coarse sanded) on 2 sides. You may resaw these planks in the same way as any other hardwood, but bandsaws are much better than table saws because compressed wood often has a bow in it. If you need to straighten out a plank, do not use a jointer, which will cause tear-out and waste valuable wood. Just bend it straight. Clamp it to a bench top or a straight plank overnight before resawing. You can shim it to put in a bit of a reverse curve too if it is not staying straight enough.

For re-sawing on the band saw, use a 3 or 4 tooth/inch blade in the widest blade width that your saw will accommodate. A 1/2" blade works very well, and is often all that is available on most saws. We use 1/2" frequently when it is inconvenient to change out a blade to something wider. An under-powered band saw with a dull blade will not be very effective at resawing 6" planks of hardwood. But most any saw with a new blade can manage it. If you find that your saw is too slow with the 3 to 4 tooth/inch blade, you may want to try a 1 tooth/inch blade to speed up the cut, but you'll have more sanding work to clean up the cut.

Keep your Compressed Wood in as large a plank as is practical and plastic wrapped until it is needed for bending. It is best to resaw just before bending, or within a day or two. Boards resawn into fine strips will start to dry fairly quickly (a day or two), and should be wrapped with kitchen stretch wrap and put back into their tube bag if you aren't bending them the same day . Boards re-sawn to 1/2" or more keep for months if wrapped well. 1/4" and thinner strips dry quickly (days not hours), and may only maintain maximum flexibility for a few weeks even if wrapped well. However, if the wood hasn't been kiln dried, many users will re-hydrate the partially dried compressed wood by soaking in warm water. This works well for thin strips. You can warm older compressed wood in a microwave too, which aids flexibility, but too much microwaving will dry it and stiffen it, and even more can cause it to burn, so take it slow - 20 to 30 seconds at a time until you get a feel for it.

Power Knife Planing versus Abrasive Planing

Planing moist Compressed Wood with a thickness planer or jointer is not successful and not recommended on the wet wood. The wood will tear out and may create a dangerous situation. Instead, re-saw it or use abrasive planing. A coarse paper in a drum or wide-belt sander can remove the resaw marks. Keep in mind that you wouldn't normally joint or straight-line a plank of compressed wood, as it is about to be bent, not straightened. Even spiral planer heads do not perform acceptably on the wet compwood. The wood does plane if you go across the grain. Hand planes across the grain or at an angle to the grain can work well. And by the way, the wood is so soft in its moist state, that it is easy to carve, very much like softwood.


Compressed wood is usually used in S2S blanks (squares and rectangles), and can not be routed while wet. Most routing techniqes on the dry material are effective, but by that time is curved, and cannot be easily routed anyway. Compressed wood does perform very well in dowel makers and on lathes. These machines cut the wood around the circumference, or across the grain, rather than along the length, or with the grain. This gives some clue as to how the wood responds when shaping it. If you plan to mould the wood, first re-saw it, sand it, and then bend it. Shape it after it is dry. Turning Compressed Wood

Cold Bendable Hardwood is very interesting and rewarding to turn. Pure Timber has developed proprietary methods in woodturning Cold-Bend™ hardwoods. Other woodturners are developing their own methods for turning cold bendable solid hardwoods and we encourage you to try to work out your own as well. Turners are sometimes partially drying the wood first (so that it can be glued), gluing it up, turning it, then re-hydrating it by soaking overnight before bending. Since you don't need backing straps to bend Compressed Hardwoods, it is possible to bend spindles, sides of bowls or plates, and parts for your turnings like handles, spouts, vines and leaves. Keep in mind that if you bend a turned spindle, it will bend at the thinner points more readily.

Since the wood is wrapped while wet, the moisture next to the wood may promote mold growth over time if it also has oxygen (tight wrapping can exclude oxygen). This is most noticeable with Maple and Beech. Mold will not affect the flexibility of the wood. If mold is present, it may easily be removed by surface sanding.






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