In the Present

Sometimes, often, I see something emerge from what would almost become scrapped wood normally fit only for the fire. When I say emerge I am not talking Loch Ness monster rising from water shrouded in mist, just something that, well, surprises me. I crosscut my scraps and give a bag full of wood to friends who use it for warmth or kindling to start their fire in the morning. Rarely do blocks automatically go into the bag or box without a good looking over to see what was always hidden for centuries. It’s nice to think something might be too good for burning. Wood scraps often make it to my special woods. A gathering of unique pieces that are common woods but have figuring caused by phenomena such as staining, spalting or even damage occurring during the tree growth where the wood itself grew around the damage to self-seal and self-heal itself.

Here is an example of what I mean. I was down to the very last crosscut section where I noticed how much more solid the wood felt and sounded. As the bandsaw parted the last separation I saw some different figuring and purposed to see what would happen with some additional long-grain cuts judiciously placed.

I’m not really interested in selling so much as giving. I like to give things to people and especially so for celebrations such as wedding presents. I have chunks stashed away in readiness because `i can indeed develop a more unique gift from what would potentially be just landfill or fire destined.

These few pieces of air-dried beech 70 years in the growing began life in the year of my birth, 1950. The growth rings record the weather of my life too. It could make veneer for a box lid, coasters or inlay. In the presence of our work, we can suddenly become immersed in ideas for friends, relatives or indeed a donation to an auction where something made can be sold to benefit a charity, a person or even some kind of crowdfunding. In my case, it may well become a lovely lift out box lid for one of my grandchildren. I thought that as it is representative of my years, and the weather, etc is recorded there too, it might have a little more meaning for her, especially when she is older.

Use a mirror or two to look for configuration. This will help you determine where best to make the cuts.

Oh, and don’t just dismiss the shavings in the throat of the plane. These are richly diverse too, because of the way I used the plane, skewed the plane I got ribbons of joy flooding my soul!


  1. You could almost piece together one of your beloved water birds taking off with water splashing down. Thanks

  2. Wow, its like nature’s Fractal burning without the inherent dangers of fractal burning devices that so many people are getting electrocuted from.

  3. Sometimes you just can’t tell where you’ll find beauty. I acquired some shedua pen blanks recently from a fellow who told me the original board from which they were taken looked like an old railway tie. When I turned the first piece and applied the finish I was greeted by a gorgeous deep chocolate brown wood, figured with nearly black growth rings. It took the finish beautifully, and left me with a very elegant looking writing instrument that could have commanded a premium price had I chosen to sell it.

  4. That’s quite the treasure. I find some interesting figure in pallets destined for the landfill or fireplace. Since my projects are almost always small there are quite useful pieces to be recycled into something that when given away brings joy to someone.

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