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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Were I to wander out into the abundance of nature that exists about me and pluck a fork from a tree today, what manner of special treatments should I look into doing to the wood?

You folks have posted plenty of designs, each more efficient and beautiful than the last, but I can't help but wonder if woods are really just that resilient and can withstand the rigors of day to day usage on their own, or if you have ways of hardening the wood that I'm not privy to. So if you'd be so kind as to educate and ignorant bumpkin in the ways of lumber, I would be most appreciative. Especially before I go out attaching high-intensity bands to sticks all willy-nilly.

I'd also like to maybe generate a nice, thorough resource for all things stains and coatings while we're here.
 

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Just new to the site myself, but from what I have read natural forks if dried right are strong enough to take the heavy bands, as for finish any thing that waterproofs and protects. As for board cut sling shots most of the makers seem to favour 3/4'' to 1'' thick to make them from. Hope this helps Papa G
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That helps, yes. I'll have to google up some techniques for drying woods. I imagine the 3/4" thickness should probably apply to natural forks too, for those heavy bands.
 

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solid board cuts are intrinsically weaker than natural forks of equal thickness, as they are taken from a single section of a tree, and the grain (usually) runs mostly in the same general direction. Natural forks include more or all of the circular grain patterns of a whole limb, thus they have no single grain direction that will tend to break. Sawn woods can be laminated together so that their grain patterns cross, and reinforce each other, which will reduce the thickness necessary to produce a given strength.

The easiest way to procure dry tree forks is to find a brush pile or dead tree, with leaves still on, but turned completely brown. At that point most wood is dry enough to work without much cracking, but has not usually had time to start to decompose and weaken significantly. Tree branches down longer than that can still be solid, but should be tested and viewed with some suspicion till proven.

Finishes generally fall into two classes, penetrating oils and surface sealers. Oils usually are applied to the surface and soak in depending on how much is used, how dry the wood, how long it is applied and other factors, but they seldom saturate the wood, and leave the surface porous and open to stains and accumulated dirt. Most modern oil finishes contain some degree of dryers and stabilizers, as well as their natural ingredients. Wax is often used over oil finishes to give the wood more protection and a little shine. Sealing finishes such as polyurethane, spar varnish and lacquer may penetrate to some degree, but form a solid film on the outside of the wood and seals it completely, giving it a smooth glassy finish, although some contain additives to yield a more matte or satin finish.

Oil and wax finishes need to be refreshed from time to time to keep wood from over drying and accumulating dirt. However an advantage is that they can be touched up over scratches or modifications without having to refinish the whole piece. Sealed finishes are usually permanent unless scratched, but once scratched, touchups are usually obvious. They also often have a Tacky or slick feel and can be slippery in a sweaty hand. A coat of wax buffed over the finish can help with this. Sealed finishes usually do not mellow with age or gain a patina from use, which is why most exhibition grade gun stocks are not finished with Poly.

YMMV, of course
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Delicious knowledge, keep it flowing!

I didn't know any of that about the wood grain. It hadn't even crossed my mind.

You have fortunately just described the brush pile in front of my home, so I suppose I don't have much of an excuse when it comes to grabbing the forks I bumped into yesterday.
 

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Here is something I tried today. This piece of dead wood (maybe gum tree) needed some color so I tried polk berries. It is different but it did add some color.
 

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Here is something I tried today. This piece of dead wood (maybe gum tree) needed some color so I tried polk berries. It is different but it did add some color.
Very cool looking natural stain there. I know there's a bunch of those in the woods near my house, may have to give them a try.
 

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Cogito Ergo Armatum Sum
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a combination of that and walnut husks should just about equal red mahogany stain.
 

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Caray que buen tema!

I strongly agree with jskeen, every word.

How many of us have been a disappointment for not knowing this?

Surely all that excitement began to work on a fork when the wood is unstable Ain.

I think every system has its advantages and disadvantages, for example,tatemado or roasting a freshly cut horuilla is very fast but if any failure or stroketechnique can crack the wood. or at best, takes a remarkable hardness and a separate color intensified.

Microwave drying is also very agile, only that sopartar havría the nagging Mrs.hehe!

If among its virtues are the paciencis think sealing the cut ends of the forks will be a very inexpensive technique, safe but very late. but we are not exempt from the fork bring Remi (bug or screwworm) and while we hope the bug will end with our project.

Beforehand, lamaento distortion of my words with Traslator.

Sometimes I would like to participate more, but my poor command of English, Iput aside.
 

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I just ran a walnut Fork through the Microwave. At least I think it's some kind of walnut. It has a tendency to grow walnuts, so that's what I'm judging by.

Should I post some pictures of the forks I gathered?


I can't not make funny faces in photos.
 
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