well, I never really was a true monoculture anyway. But close. Mostly oak, lots of white pine, ash. some maple (mostly turned), but there’s even mention in the back pages of this blog of Spanish cedar, East Indian Rosewood, Atlantic white cedar – and the spoons are a range of woods that never include oak. That’s where you’ll see me use cherry and apple – not in furniture.
But my recent foray further into walnut is really out of this world, for me anyway. Riven, radial, high moisture content. Now I have run the gamut with this wood, from my first experience with that awful kiln-dried randomly sawn lousy stock, to air-dried straight-grained clear stuff – now to the true beast – riven radial stuff. Wow. Hewing it is so much fun I almost just chopped it all up just for the thrill. It’s going to be a joined stool, which I need like a hole in the head – but the book needs joined work that’s not oak. And…the walnut was a gift. Thanks, Michael D.
Here are the stool parts, planed. Why 5 aprons & only 3 stretchers? Because I had just a little bit of extra wood. This way, I’ll make the aprons. If all goes well, apron #5 will get chopped down to a stretcher. Something goes haywire, I make #5 an apron & return to the wood pile to hopefully scrounge a stretcher. Timid, I know. But I don’t usually have riven walnut around. This is New England, not the mid-west.
Part 3 of the “what happened to my monoculture” is really out of this world – this wood was like nothing I have ever seen. I got a sampling of it in the mail – to test it for a carving class. 11 1/2” wide quartersawn stuff – with over 360 growth rings!
Alaskan yellow cedar – is not a cedar and might be from British Columbia…but it is yellow. http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/softwoods/alaskan-yellow-cedar/
I just could not wrap my head around the growth rate of this tree. Turns out as I read more about it, the tree grows for upwards of 1,000-1,500 years. That’s old. It’s a tree that has been in decline for 100 years, dying off due to climate change. Seems it’s so warm these days that the trees are freezing – sounds like Stephen Foster wrote the story of it. http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/research/climate-change/yellow-cedar/yellow-cedar_and_climate_change.pdf
We’re hopefully using this for the box class I’m teaching in Alaska next spring. Thanks to the guys up there for sending it down…
It carves very well, planes to a beautiful finish, except for some tearout difficulties. I’m mesmerized by it. Density is a bit softer than the black walnut; specific gravity is .42, as compared to the walnut at .51. I did much of the carving without the mallet. Once all the V-tool outlining was done, I used hand pressure for a great deal of this design.
But I have been working up some oak stock recently to replenish what I have used. I only have about 6 or 8 more of this crazy-wide oak panels to prep…the offset handle on this hatchet is especially useful when working wide stuff. this one’s 14” wide. That’s knuckle-scraping wide if you’re not careful.
Couple of spoons left, the bowls, etc. The wainscot chair video too – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-december-2014/
over at Plymouth Craft – if you’re thinking of the spoon class, it’s about half-full now. So don’t delay… http://plymouthcraft.org/ (3PM – Eastern time, that website is having a problem. We’ll get on it, or it will fix itself miraculously…)