Autumn is here and the sap is running which means it's time to tune up the old band saw as my pickup truck bed runneth over. The wooden elements in Keeps are harvested locally from fallen trees and then processed for future consideration. The curing process takes a minimum of one year before this material will be ready for use. Pottery has taught me patience, woodworking has challenged my patience. I was fortunate the other day to get a cache of Crepe Myrtle and Holly stumps and have spent the weekend milling the material down into slabs on my band saw. With proper care and, yes... patience these slabs will be used in the future for Keeps.
This example of Crepe Myrtle comes from the crotch of the tree, which is the most interesting part to me. Two branches diverge to create a mess of interesting grain patterns and colors.
Here is a sample of Holly, which is an extremely light colored wood. It is sitting on Poplar boards to show how much paler it is than that wood which is relatively light in color. It also has very minimal grain pattern which will lend a delicate air to just the right Keep.
I also milled a few pieces of Easern Red Cedar and am beginning to appreciate the place where the heartwood mingles with the sapwood. There is an interesting shift taking place there that is akin to the touch of the flame on a nice wood fired pot.
I had been saving a few pieces of Oak that turned up in last years firewood pile. The tree had engulfed a barbed wire fence and these chunks contained reminants of that fence in the wood. I was waiting for my band saw blade to go dull so that I could mill these pieces without the guilt and expense of ruining a good blade. What was inside was spectacular! The fence wire, which is visible in this picture as four silver dots has stained the wood black in places and the wood grain shows the activity of the tree growing around the inclusion. Also, the direction of the cut revealed the ray flecks in the wood that give this slab the characteristic quarter sawn appearance. This "firewood rescue" is already dry so I will be incorporating it into a Keep straight away, stay tuned!