Scrounged wood

Last weekend when there was about an hour left of Open Studios and nothing much was going on at our site I went out to look at another site, where the husband of one of Arlene’s teacher (really, I think, a school librarian) friends was selling miniature wood turnings. I wanted to talk about turning with him and see if I could get any ideas on the subject.

It turned out that he makes really tiny things, some bigger, mostly wooden bowls two inches high and two inches around, some wooden cups as small as thimbles and almost as thin. It’s beautiful work but probably smaller than I really want to do, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to do that without years of practice. Besides talking about lathes, how he had learned, what he uses for tools, and suppliers, he said, “This one is made from wood from the maple tree in our backyard.” I said that when I see fallen branches on roadsides I think “turning stock.” He said, “Exactly.”

Armed with that, on Wednesday night I stopped on my way home from work (It was about 10 PM, because I had stuff to get ready for a system build deadline the next day) where a big maple limb had fallen a few days before. I had packed along a bucksaw. I cut off a sixteen inch length of five inch diameter maple to dry and use for turning. Yesterday as I left for work I thought, maybe I’ll stop again and cut another length of that if it’s still there.

There was a small traffic cone in the road across the street from the fallen limb, and a mini front end loader was digging out a yew hedge. More wood! I parked, got out the saw, and went over to talk to the construction (or destruction?) people. They said, “Sure, you can have as much as you want. We’re just going to throw it all away.” The boss had the loader operator drop the tree he had just taken out, and I got to work with the saw. So besides the maple, I have a similar size hunk of yew to work with. You have to get this stuff when you can. It’s not something you can find at your local lumber yard.

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