How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams?
#11
  Re: (...)
I have several hand-hewn barn-wood beams (pine and oak) that I plan to use to build a large, HEAVY hanging light. The beams are approximately 6" x 5" x 10 ft. long

I'd like to lower the weight of the beams. I can attack the top of each beam for this, since the light will hang high in a large, very high-ceiling room. I'm thinking quality large spade bits on my large drill press might be a good choice to remove wood quickly and safely. Anyone have a better idea? I think I'll avoid my chainsaw for this!

Thanks,
Fred
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#12
  Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by frule ( I have several hand...)
I would suggest weighing the beams at their finished size and determine what percentage of the weight you want to remove.

You can remove less than 3/4 of the weight with spade bits.

Forstner will let you remove a higher percentage.
Economics is much harder when you use real money.
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#13
  Re: Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by GHR (I would suggest weig...)
Removing 3/4 of their weight would be OK. Would a good Forstner or a good spade bit be more durable (or cut faster)?

Thanks!
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#14
  Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by frule ( I have several hand...)
I know you said no but I would use a chain saw. You will be forever with a drill bit.

Twinn
Will post for food.
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#15
  Re: Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by theeviltwinn (I know you said no b...)
How critical is it that they actually remain beams?

If you just want the look, cut the 'faces" and attach them back together
again, thus eliminating the vast majority of the bulk/weight.

Don't know what the design criteria is, but if these are just being used to get a certain "feel" then that is all you need. If they are up on a high ceiling the joints would be invisible.
Mark Singleton

Bene vivendo est optimum vindictae
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#16
  Re: Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by MarkSingleton (How critical is it t...)
Completely agree with Mark. Drilling out wood is like trying to shovel sand with a teaspoon.

The way I'd approach it is to lop off the bottom of the beam and then cut the two sides---that way the joint line would be on the sides and not seen when suspended above. I'd make them at least 3/4" thick to avoid warping and attach the sides to the bottom using glue and pocket screws.

This would require very accurate cuts which you could get with a fence or using the miter slot for a sled on a bandsaw. If the "hand hewn" surface is too uneven, you could always attach a piece of plywood to even out the cut.
Dave
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#17
  Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by frule ( I have several hand...)
How about using a dado blade and after successive suns across the width of one side, create a "U" shaped beam out of the original rectangular.
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#18
  Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by frule ( I have several hand...)
I would go at it something like this

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#19
  Re: Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by daveferg (Completely agree wit...)
Dave,

This was my initial thought. I may go this way if all other ideas don't pan out. I'd rather make a "trough" in the beams, just to assure good cosmetics.

Thanks.
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#20
  Re: How to lighten (weight) of hand-hewn beams? by frule ( I have several hand...)
If you are set on drilling, forget spades and forstners. Invest in a 3" or larger self feeding bit. Probably faster to clamp the board to a heavy bench instead of fussing with clamping and moving on the DP table. You will need a heavy duty hand held drill.
Blackhat
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