Mesquite Square

One of my favorite woods to work with is mesquite.  First the downsides, a big chunk is a rather more expensive bit of wood than most.  Another flaw is that the grain is weak so it can easily split with the grain.  The dust will stain your hands black, and almost nothing will remove it.  It also can corrode iron.

Now for the plus side.  As far as I know, it is the most stable wood that grows.  When it shifts in size by moisture, it does not shift much and it shifts almost the same in all directions.  It is very hard and durable, despite the tendancy to split.   It is amazingly resistant to wear, even though it sands and cuts easily.  It is at the top end of weather resistant, and it is easy to find nicely figured grain.  It is richly colored, and feels good in the hands.

Even better, most of the bad qualities can be negated easily.  Lemon juice takes the stain away instantly.  So far when I cure it with my wax mix, it does not seem to have problems with steel.  I can often find good sections of wood in fire wood bundles in my area, and I can harvest the occasional limb as well.  The tree will grow back from roots and is invasive, so there is no harm in harvesting it.  If you are careful not to put pressures on the wood that will split the grain apart, it will be quite durable.

Since it is stable, I love to use it for instruments and for planes.

I have been taking a break from using my own handmade tools.  Recently I had to do a project quickly, so I removed the restraints.  It is so nice to go back to using my own tools.  There are a few exceptions, some of the other tools are really nice and convenient.  Those are the ones I need to replace the most.  It won’t do to make a copy or substitute, it need to be a tool I will use more often, that is more convenient, useful and with more style.

One tool I use a lot, is a big orange plastic carpenters square.

Hopefully the oddly shaped block of wood standing up will be able to replace the orange plastic square.

This should be able to  give me a 45, 90 and 30 degree angle.

The plan is to be able to slide sections of the two cut straight sections in a slot in the angle block.  Some of the  sections will be setup to hold scribes and pencils, so the slide can be use to mark, measure, and guide tools.  It will also come apart so it can fit in a tool box much more easily than the orange plastic thing.


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