...and Making it Smooth
At first I wasn’t sure of the wood. It was too modern to be true mahogany so I thought maybe Malaysian wood, but quickly saw it was a red meranti from the Philippines. It’s a common enough wood here in the UK. Stain it and it can look like sapele or even mahogany. It doesn’t take long to see through the staining when you start working it with chisels and planes though.
I had shown my older box with the drawer that I had made from pine 2-3 decades back. I never thought people would think much to it but the request for a video series came and I did indeed film the whole process. To watch the series for free you will need to be a signed up subscriber (and it is free) of woodworkingmasterclasses.com and I think it will be well worth watching as there are many elements to making it that don’t appear elsewhere in other series.
When I first saw the wood in the skip I did a double take. “How could they just do that?” I asked inside my head. I must have been the first to see it or at least see its potential. Dragging it out amused passers by. There is an old man over-stretching himself to pull firewood from a skip, they must have thought. I gave some wood to Jack and Hannah for them to use and Jack is making his wall clock from some of the choicer pieces. It’s going well for him with all the ploughing of grooves and seeing him quietly getting to grips with the joinery is heartening. He’s in today as I type this and by tomorrow I am sure he will be near finished with it. I can tell by his body language that he’s perfectly happy doing this work.
It has always saddened me to see wasted wood. Here is an example of what I often see. We can all assume that it goes to recycling and that all recycling is good but I am never sure that we truly see the end result. I would like to see this wood in a free resource centre with donated wood and donated contributions when someone wants some wood. The problem then is dealing with elements of human nature. As you can see in the pictures the wood is pretty much clear pine a good inch and more thick in some cases and roughly its usually between three and four feet long. This is long enough for a wide range of projects and don’t just think growing boxes, compost heaps and dog kennels. Think tool chests, saw horses, chests and chests of drawers too. That’s where my mind races to.
I did want to show you how beauty is often hidden from our gaze but not by stains and rubbish covering it but our imagination being entrapped by the constraints the way we have been programmed. I can afford to buy good and new wood of most species. I am not necessarily looking for a bargain in the bin so much as striving to be responsible and not see good wood get pulverised to make wood chip pathways, particle board or whatever else. I would hate to think it would go into the ground somewhere to be buried or worse still burned, even for firewood. I wondered to if organisations like Men’s Sheds wouldn’t be interested in starting an arm to their existing charity. Something like that. Here in the UK they have 500 chapters. Imagine the interaction that would bring about if they did.