I’m trying to make a 10’0" out of Agave. I’ve got plenty of plants 20’ and longer but the issue seems to be width. Actually I’ve never milled wood before so this is a steep learning curve for me. Staring at the twisted and bent trees trying to see the blank inside is a pretty psychedelic endeavor. Feels like I’ve been hot-coating all day in my closed garage without a respirator. Apparently most modern milling techniques won’t work here. I calculate that once I true up and smooth every last edge I’ll have enough wood in the 20 or so trees I’ve collected to make a 4’0" classic kids board. Do all the boards have to run from nose to tail? How do you get rocker out of these things? If I bend the boards when I glue them together will they later twist, buckle and break my glass. Who the hell thought of his and what were they on? I need some! jer

Call Terry Senate in San Clemente. I believe he’s had some experience in this area, and might be able to refer you to a milling shop to get the blank built.

Send them to me…I’ll build a board from them, no problem… Paul

no need to bend anything. where do you live? i made an alaskan mill with side runners fo a chainsaw. your welcome to come check it out if you’re near oxnard/ventura. worked good for me.

Jim Phillps has made Agave boards.Maybe he will give us some tips if he is watching. R.B.

It isn’t a walk in the park to set up this wood for milling. I’ve seen sparks flying off my band saw blade from the dried leathery skin from this plant. I square off the biggest end and rotate it until the rocker appears best at the vertical position. I then mark the end with a vertical and horizontal line with a large marker. After that I go out from center on each end to see how much it can yield in width. With that done, it is dropping a chalk line along the marks and then sawing along them. The vertical and horizontal lines on the end are guides for holding the log as true as possible while sawing. The first ones I did, I concentrated on making all the planks the same width, you know keeping it all anal retentive, compulsive behavior stuff, but now I try to get as much yield as possible. The butt end of the stalk is much fuller, so leave it wider, the wood has so much color and grain change that the different size planks hardly show anyway. A word of caution, the dust is very annoying to breath, worse than balsa, maybe toxic, don’t know and wear gloves as much as possible, the wood fiber is like really bad steel wool. A microscopic piece umder your skin and it is fire in the hole, it will have your full attention to get it out! Lots of luck

Wow, tequila and surfboards come from this plant. Who knew?

Thanks for all the advice. Sounds like I need to start sawing using the natural rocker of the stalks. Gene I’d love to check out your saw mill. I’m in Encinitas but a field trip up north so see your setup would be outstanding. I’ve heard stories of the mills in Alaska but not considered setting one up. Email me a time and place if you can - Jim I can really relate to the burning issue. The keys here feel like barbed wire so I’m learning the wrong way about Agave toxicity. Apparently it makes the FDA’s list of toxic plants. Any of this sound familiar? "Oxalates: The juice or sap of these plants contains oxalate crystals. These needle-shaped crystals can irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, resulting in throat swelling, breathing difficulties, burning pain, and stomach upset. Call the Poison Control Center or your doctor if any of these symptoms appear following ingestion of plants. Dermatitis: The juice, sap, or thorns of these plants may cause a skin rash or irritation. Wash the affected area of skin with soap and water as soon as possible after contact. The rashes may be very serious and painful. Call the Poison Control Center or your doctor if symptoms appear following contact with the plants. Minor Toxicity: Ingestion of these plants may cause minor illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea. If ingested, call the Poison Control Center or your doctor. "

“Minor Toxicity: Ingestion of these plants may cause minor illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea. If ingested, call the Poison Control Center or your doctor.” Yeah, that sounds right. I had that once after too much Tequila.

come see me. you won’t be disappointed in my milling box. it’s the only way to fly. you can take it home and use it if you promise to bring it back. you’ll need a truck with a rack.

Jerry, I’m also in Encinitas, try me at 583 Westlake, 753 6299, I’m working on several agaves boards right now.

Gene I wouldn’t want to take your setup man. You’re too nice. I would love to see how it flys though. jer

When a guy like Jim Phillips offers an invitation to his shaping bay you guys in California ought to be on the road by now.When me and Jim started in the sixties it took an act of God to get within 50 feet of a shaping room. R. Brucker

Yeah I hear ya. I read his bio and needless to say I’m more than a little humbled. I’ve been stewing about what to do. I may be a shaping idiot but I’m smart enough to know I shouldn’t get an offer like this. I’d be invaluable to me to see how a guy like Jim is setup for Agave (or foam for the matter) though. If you look at it in terms of the grand shape karma game, we’d all probably be better off if I didn’t take his time and just let him do what he does… make Zen shapes…

Jim… I’d love to see your setup. This number is bogus though… jer

NO, the number is correct, but if I’m on line it gives the message that an incorrect/or not enough numbers has been dialed and can’t be reached. Try my cell @ 760 427 1763

You can take the whole lot of sticks to your nearest Dixieline or CutnDry in Cardiff. It runs about $80.00 per hour for the set up, but they can plane / true up 12 inch logs in no time. 1 hrs worth of shop time and you’ll have enough Century Plant to make 5 boards. The trick is to get the lumber that hasn’t rotted in the inside. You have to cut it green, which means you have to get close to a wicked bush, cut it and stack it so it air drys without getting wet. If the inner wood gets wet it rots in a flash. After you get the sticks from the lumber shop you glue it up with resornol glue (sp) The resornol is Marine 2 part glue, it won’t pop twist or fatigue. -Jay

Thanks Jay. I spent the weekend cutting and planing by hand. My planer made a mess of the sticks (I know it’s operator error after seeing Jim’s setup) so I busted out the draw knife. I’ll check into the Dixie Line and CutAndDried. It sounds too good to be true! jer

Jim Thanks for all the help man! I learned more in the 20 min you spent with me then I did in the 5 years I spent in undergrad. I’m in your debt! jer