Wood Turning ‘Almost’ Free Wood
For most wood workers, the next project begins with the plan and follows with the lumber merchant. Especially for the cabinet maker, a plan determines the board feet needed of specialized, cut and planned, air or kiln dried boards. Careful sorting determines the very finest to be purchased with the best grain for strength and beauty. Of https://woodworkerhomefront.blogspot.com/ course all this means a premium price coupled with the anxiety of making a bad cut or being wary of a glue spill along with a host of other concerns that might mar a fine finish to an expensive board.
At the other end of the wood working lives the wood turner. A chain saw becomes an essential tool as the turner of wood becomes a seeker of material to turn. Not for him the fancy boards from the hardwood specialist. Instead he looks for the nearest tree that will yield its own section for turning.
You see, most cabinets start with material less than three quarters of an inch thick while the turner looks for wood at least three inches through. Most pieces will be less than a foot long. Log sections start to look like prime material. So a mystery begins.
The turner gets a bit of firewood, perhaps from his own pile or maybe by borrowing from a friend. Then the questions start to flow.
Why do you need the log? You don’t burn wood.
What are you going to do with it? What do mean make a bowl?
So a piece of wood goes on the lathe and shavings start to fly. Mysteriously a bowl begins to form from that piece of cast off maple or oak. When it begins to look like a bowl for certain, the sanding commences until the wood looks like glass. Then a finish is applied and magic happens as the wood leaps to color and shimmer like the living thing it once was. The turner is hooked and so will be his friends.
For he takes the bowl and shows it to the person who gave him the wood. The person tells a friend who has just had a tree knocked down in the front yard because the poor old birch got salt from one too many winters and finally died. It had been a play place for the kids and flowers had grown around it and there were too many memories for it to be burned or chipped. A phone call goes to the turner. Would he like it? Could he use it? Does he want to come and get it? Of course.
The turner knows a buddy who has a chain saw so they arrive the next evening with a van that has only carried groceries and hockey gear. Soon the back is filled with birch logs. Who knew there could be so much wood in one tree? The lathe is in for a work out.
Many bowls come from the birch and they are getting better and prettier now. Our turner is wondering just how beautiful a bowl he can make. Each cut is little better and the finish a little finer. One bowl full of memories is given to the person who first gave the old birch. Word gets around after one of the neighbors sees the bowl and hears the story. Another phone call comes and bud vases start to come from a small oak that had to be cut.
Soon the turner is looking for trees that need to come down for one reason or another. He starts to haunt the phone crews who need to clear power lines. Now he has his own chain saw and people call him to clear a tree that blew down in the last storm. He sees the tree as a series of bowls. When he returns home from work, logs have mysteriously appeared in the driveway. No names have been left; no one has seen anyone arrive with the log, but bowls await. Maybe a lamp or a set of table legs.