Here is an interesting thing

This section of European redwood pine shows 135 years of growth rings. It measures 3/4″ thick and the growth distance is 4″. I am using it on a Shaker candle box I was making yesterday. Each time I looked at it my mind told me that some time in the past I had laminated to separate pieces together at 45-degress, but of course I hadn’t and no one else had either. I allow periodic interruptions by such things as this. It’s hard to imagine in other woods that have almost constant growth with minor changes in the layers of growth between cycles, but in most softwoods we discover life recorded here and with great accuracy too. In fact, so accurate is this, we find historians themselves looking to growth rings for information they might not find elsewhere. This type of record stops me dead sometimes and I wonder what took place that so slowed the growth of a tree or a woods or a forest that growth rings to the naked eye disappear and isolates 50 years of growth to appear as a solid band of single growth. Without my computer I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish the rings in the light band that appears to have no distinction. Tell me pine is a trash wood and I will talk back to you about IKEA and mdf. Life is somehow suspended in the real woods I work and I am captured; held still in like fashion to that piece of wood as I realize the fragility of life itself that, no matter the reason why, that fifty years of growth continued when the woodlands in which the wood grew saw drought, or cold or no sunlight for five decades. Another cycle of plenty came and growth was restored and then suddenly a burst of energy for 13 years caused as much growth as the previous 100 years. Wow! Is that awesome.

I planed my wood into a lid to finish my box

3 thoughts on “Here is an interesting thing”

  1. J Guengerich

    I love seeing the growth rings and have developed a real problem, the inability to paint over those surfaces. I couldn’t say the last time I painted something, it is always a stain, varnish, shellac for my little items, something that allows the wood to show its character. I know the day is coming when I finally build a cabinet, chair, or hope chest that my sweetie wants painted. Maybe a light milk paint will be the first step in my foray into painting projects?

  2. People often assume wood with many, narrow, growth rings is stronger than wood with fewer, wider spaced rings – and that may be true for hickory – but, for ash, apparently the opposite is true. Ash with fewer rings per inch, and consequently wide spacing between rings, is stronger. Worth knowing if you make tool handles 😉

    1. I have seen them both ways and have owned hammers with both since the 1960s and really, a hammer shaft is for life unless you miss hit or loan it out.

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