I like to work with woods that I’ve known for a while…current work includes Osage Orange from an old friend that grew in my Aunt’s back yard and had to be removed for safety reasons in 2002, Sycamore that was harvested in the year 2000 to make way for a home I was building in White’s Creek, Ancient Poplar harvested in the early 1800’s to build a barn on the Jack Daniel’s property in Lynchburg, and one very new addition, Yellow Poplar that was recently struck by lightening on The Hermitage property in Hermitage, TN.
I enjoy opening up the woods and discovering the secrets they hide inside… I never cease to be amazed. Many woodworkers might call them faults, but the irregularities I find are my favorite parts…designing to emphasize as opposed to minimize all of the natural characteristics, gives me great pleasure…and a never ending list of problems to solve.
DRY FORK SYCAMORE
I have more kinds of wood than I have had time to create with. The one that I’ve just begun to touch is from a sycamore tree that I harvested out in White’s Creek, from beside the headwaters of Dry Fork Creek.
Quarter sawing involves revealing the ends of the growth rings. It produces a speckled effect. My quarter sawn experiment turned into a beautiful “Sycamore Coffee Table” top with legs which I created with spalted lumber from the same tree.
My other sycamore table, a “Surfer’s Delight” console table, is created by using book matched grain. Book matching is achieved by glueing consecutive boards from the original sawn lumber side by side.
My sculpture, “Intimate Conversation” is from the same sycamore tree. This piece needed the visual weight of a fleshy stain. Theoretically bookmatched…except for the matching and glueing part…I can almost hear the secrets that they have been whispering to one another for many years.
I received three 24” rounds of yellow
poplar wood from a tree that was recently struck by lightning on the grounds of
the Hermitage. The primary use for this wood was to sculpt patron’s gifts
associated with the President’s Cup Golf Tournament coming up in just a few
weeks. After splitting out the needed wedges for the Hermitage project, I was
left with the cutoffs and the scraps.
With the cutoffs, I was able to carve a few small sculptures for myself, including four “ancient teeth”, a “whole lotta love” heart, and three crazy little pieces that illustrate the point, you never know what you’ll find inside the log.
Many of the scraps can be found in the Turnip Green Creative Reuse craft booth just down the way, becoming kid crafted ornaments even as you are reading this.
Get yourself a little piece of the Hermitage to take home and enjoy.
JACK DANIEL'S POPLAR
I was lucky to find twenty hand hewn beams that had supported the roof of an early 1800’s barn that had recently been torn down on the Jack Daniel’s property in Lynchburg. I almost passed on the lot of them…I had to be convinced to take a small section. “Just try it”, they almost pleaded. I’m glad I listened.
Several pieces have resulted from these crazy rough logs. The first “just try it” section became “The Animal” coffee table with the incredible, and totally natural, dark green heartwood. I was in love. After splitting the table top section with my band saw, as much as I loved the unbelievable green of the heartwood, I cherished the original exterior texture almost as much. I decided to create a cradle support so that the table top could be loose laid and open for inspection.
I was hooked. I had the guys haul all the logs up to my storage yard, where many of them lay stacked and covered, waiting for their moment in the studio.