All American

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Transition posted 06-10-2011 08:49 PM 1417 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have decide to turn only reclaimed, American woods.
I’m doing this for several reasons:
1) There are trees that we pass, and largely ignore, everyday. Turning this wood gives me a chance to reintroduce myself and others to to this amazing world. I love the outdoors, and I go hiking, exploring, and “wood hunting” with my son quite often. I want to be able to point to a tree and tell him what it is. But as I’ve started trying to identify the species of wood that I’m turning, I’ve found just how ignorant I am of what trees grow in my neck of the woods. I would guess that most people can readily identify a Maple or Oak by leaf shape in the summer. But I’d guess that most people couldn’t tell you what kind of maple or Oak it is. And never mind the other types of trees! Forget about identifying a tree in the winter! I thought I could just take a piece of bark and find a match on the web. Who knew that different trees have identical bark? And who knew that the look of a tree’s bark may change dramatically as it matures? I have learned so much and hope to share this knowledge.
2) I get to breathe new life into something that would otherwise rot away. I am forever amazed at the beauty locked away in a tree. I thought I’d have to buy exotics to get interesting grain patterns and colors. How wrong I was!
3) The wood is all around me! I started this venture with a rotting tree in my back yard. The wood I’ve been using is free, barring the effort and money I put into milling it with my chain saw. And, as I am a bit of a purist, I enjoy taking a hunk of log from natural state to finished product.
4) It’s a relatively green endeavor. The trees are already down, so I’m not destroying a tree just to get at the wood. And I have found a local mulch company that will take my clean wood scraps and sawdust that I don’t consume. In the winter I can give the wood to friends and neighbors who have wood burning stoves.
5) It seems that in the US, we are producing less and less. I want to create something that I can hold in my hand at the end of the day, and hopefull sell to others as a piece of American art, made in America, by an American, from American materials.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

5 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17686 posts in 3961 days

#1 posted 06-10-2011 10:37 PM


-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4361 days

#2 posted 06-10-2011 11:03 PM

Very noble aspirations indeed! I mostly turn “found” wood but I do buy others when I come upon them. I do not know your preferences as to what part of the tree you prefer above other parts. For example, I go out of my way to get crotches (where trunks split into two or more branches) because the grain figures in those areas are awesome as compared to the straight trunks. Burls also are looked for. Most woodworkers shun the Sweet Gum tree but I have turned prized pieces from the crotches of the sweet gum (check Flaming Platter on my project page). I find most of my wood while driving around and make a quick stop to inspect the wood, I may throw a few pieces in my van or I may reject the whole thing if I see any insect infestations. I usually go for ones with branches on the trunk unless I need some firewood in which case I will gather the suitable pieces and split them when I get home.

Post your projects when you get around to them so we can all enjoy what you enjoy.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View rance's profile


4281 posts in 4503 days

#3 posted 06-11-2011 01:35 AM

Well, you forgot to include that God made the tree. :) I too commend you for your ‘turn’ of events. I tell my wife I don’t need or want a Passport. If I ever run out of places here in the US to go visit, then I’ll think about going out of the country.

Rance (very narrow minded today)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 5470 days

#4 posted 06-11-2011 02:42 PM

Locawood is good!

-- 温故知新

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5428 days

#5 posted 06-12-2011 03:36 PM

I agree, this is a good objective. I once saw pictured an open-form bowl of pink ivory, and the thought of all those chips flying off onto the floor made me a little ill. Granted, it was only 6” high, but still.. the use of pink ivory for that form seemed a poor choice of materials.


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics