Coping with knots?

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Maxwellol

Tenderfoot
Feb 10, 2013
90
0
Manchester
Well, I was wondering if anybody had any advice/tricks to share about dealing quickly with the knots in wood that you just don't want to be there.

I'm conscious that generally it's better to work with the wood you got that against it, but what if you need to go straight through a knot for the look you want?

I usually end up spending ages scraping away at them but it's unsatisfying work and it always makes me think "am I just doing this wrong?".
 

grey-array

Full Member
Feb 14, 2012
1,065
4
The Netherlands
Tell us a bit more about what you are making the work you will do to the piece of wood, as access to the knot etc might help,
is it a table, a spoon, or what are we talking about, and what kind of tools are you currently using?
Yours sincerely Ruud
 

ammo

Settler
Sep 7, 2013
827
7
by the beach
I have to admit i actually like knots in wood. Obviously they can be a pain to work with, but visually, i find them appealing.
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,204
224
43
Nr Chester
If you have to remove material from a knot use rasps and files. In bow making you have to be very careful with knots and follow the grain around them like water round a rock in a stream.
 

mr dazzler

Native
Aug 28, 2004
1,712
79
uk
I know exactly what Dwardo is saying!
If they appear when I am carving a spoon or something, I tend to cut toward the centre of the knot, from both sides of the grain direction.
9 times out of 10 if I try to save time and "cut corners" :lmao:(doesnt work, with carving...) by cutting straight through a knot in one pass, I end up with a big tearout on the down side, even though the upper side is smooth and clean. Same thing with small branches. Also I go lightly, 3 or 4 light passes of the adze/knife rather than 1 hefty one which would be ok on clear knot free wood. Plus keep the edges regularly stropped sharp...
Cheers Jonathan
 

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
270
70
SE Wales
If you have to remove material from a knot use rasps and files. In bow making you have to be very careful with knots and follow the grain around them like water round a rock in a stream.
That's about as good a way of putting it as I've ever heard. It's one of those situations where you have to decide if the work required is worth the potential benefit; I personally think the figuring and grain effects to be had in decorative terms is worth all the work, but if you don't then take Squidder's advice and get another bit.
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,204
224
43
Nr Chester
There were about 20 knots in this bow and some of them monsters. Yew lets you push the limits some but you still need to follow the grain.
If knots are solid you can leave less material but if they are punky and decaying then treat them like its thin air.
Probably over the top for something not under strain but you get the idea.

http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=97654
 
Depends on what the knots on really. If it's a bow, especially a flat bow there is no way around scraping with the grain as it is still part of the back, and therefore needs to be preserved as that. Anything else I tend to file it down with the grain. But in my opinion if it's not hurting anything leave it be, but then my carving tends to be a rustic utilitarian style as the better half calls it.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,267
266
-------------
Possibly a little more furniture making based but I've seen some furniture made where they have routed a part out and put pebbles in their place and others with what looks like turquoise in epoxy. The one with the pebbles doesn't look like they were knots but after working with a fair bit of cherry recently it occurred to me that it would be an ideal thing to do with knots on cherry timber, that way the grain would flow around the pebble and look a little like water flowing past it.
The top one I saw on another site (can't remember where) and copied to my folder as I really liked the look of it.

 

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
270
70
SE Wales
Those are very attractive indeed, demographic, and you're right, that'd be a lovely way to deal with knotty timber (ash?).......see what I did there?.........OK, OK, I'm leaving.............................
 

Maxwellol

Tenderfoot
Feb 10, 2013
90
0
Manchester
Thanks for the replies everybody. What I'm working on right now is plain ol' spoons.

When I started, I made up my mind to try something new and make a flat, thin handle (I usuall end up doing chunky round ones which I like just fine, wanted to increase my skill though).

However as I whittled the stem down, a lovely tight round knot was uncovered halfway down, dead centre.

Looks lovely (and I fully agree that things like knots enhance the appearance of a piece) but threw a massive spanner in my original concept.

Ty for the suggestion about rasps and files Dwardo - I've been reading your bow making threads recently and it really changed my perception. You see 'em in films nice and straight and smooth and the uneducated assumption is that a wonky shaped bow wouldn't work. I now know better so thanks for that.

Anyway back to the point, I don't own any files ATM so I'll have to compromise somewhere. Will probably post the results in a new thread when they're done.