Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rocking Motorcycle made of Eastern White Pine, gentle to the touch

A board of Pinus strobus (eastern white pine) ...
A board of Pinus strobus (eastern white pine) having a dovetailed joint cut in it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Newsletter # 3:

People are always curious about what kinds of wood we use in our products. We use a variety of woods, enjoying the contrasting colors when pieces are made of more than one type.

Many of our pieces are made of Eastern White Pine. But not all Eastern White Pine planks are equal. Our wood must be carefully viewed and pass the test of 'select' wood ... that means that there are few knots, widely spaced, and the planks are straight.

If you have ever gone into a lumber yard and watched people choosing boards for their D.I.Y. (do it yourself) projects, you may see some setting a pile of good lumber to one side, and of 'rejects' to the other. At first glance, you may not recognize the flaws in the 'reject' pile ... but a woodworker would quickly show you how to hold a board and look down its length for a straight line indicating that the board has not warped or twisted since being cut, and then to turn it over scanning the back, edges and front for loose knots that would cause a saw to jump, or be in the way for positioning joints such as the dovetail joint in the photo above.

The Rocking Motorcycle made here in our shop is made of select Eastern White Pine; the body has to be 'built' by joining several lengths and thicknesses of pine planks with glue. The body pieces are then shaped with sanding, resulting in a very smooth, gentle-to-the-skin touch. Each wheel is made of more than twenty separate pieces of pine. The wheels do spin on their axles.

Its rockers are made of Hard Maple. Hard Maple is often cut from Sugar Maple trees (the ones that people tap in late winter/early spring to gather maple syrup.) You can tell the difference between a board of hard maple and a board of soft maple by finding a smooth edge of the wood and firmly pressing your fingernail against it. If you can leave a mark, it's soft maple. If you can't, it's hard. The rockers will get a lot of wear and tear, and so the wood needs to be hard to hold its arc shape.

Even though the motorcycle has three times the quantity of pine in comparison to the quanitity of maple in the rockers, that smaller amount of maple will cost more than the larger amount of pine. But it is worth it for the life of the rocking motorcycle. This piece of 'furniture' will last for decades and will become a family heirloom to be shared from generation to generation. That is said with this caveat: even though it is a toy, it must be cared for like a piece of furniture. Leaving it outside in the rain will age the pine, may warp the wood, and weaken the joints. Lifting its full weight by the handlebars to move it from place to place will also strain the wood along the grain. But given the right care and treatment, this rocking motorcycle will delight many for years to come. It is an investment for your family, and has been made with a loving labor.


Remember, you can see images of the rocking motorcycle at our website. It is also currently being featured on eBay. See the right side margin for links our webstore and Etsy and eBay. Or drop by the shop, if you're local. If you're coming a distance, call us at 978-352-2676 and leave your name and number or email and we'll set up an appointment for you.

And one last thing - if you want to receive an email each time we update this news, just 'follow' us at the links in the margin.  Thanks!

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