Shortly after we moved into La Maison du Talley, we cut 21 trees out of the backyard. There was only one serious tree – a 40′ cedar – and the rest were smaller Bay Laurels and Vine Maples that were blocking any possibility of sunlight reaching the ground. I kept some of the larger, straighter sections of the small trees and put them in the loft of the garage to dry and season, hoping that I would eventually make stuff out of them. That was three and a half years ago and while spring cleaning in the garage/shop this weekend I decided to take a little break and mess stuff up again I pulled a couple of sections down and cut them to manageable size with the chop saw. I knew exactly what to do with pieces.
We have a neighbor who is crazy helpful and has a passion for dahlias. He grows and shares them with the whole street and has helped Stamps-With-Foot litter the edges of the yard and flower beds with them. She loaned him the bulb planter early this spring and he loved it. He had somehow gone through life as a gardener and just never tried one. I decided to make him his own with graduated depth gauge marks and a matching mallet to drive it into the odd patch of hard ground. The planter is made from a section of the vine maple and the mallet is turned from a hickory Little League baseball bat that I bought for $2.00 at Goodwill. The maple was super-dense and I counted 21 very tight growth rings on it. It grew in the shade under larger trees for all that time and that made it an especially hard and nice piece of wood to turn with sharp chisels – the wood shavings and tailings came off in long, thin, lace-like strips. An absolute pleasure to work with.
Since I was making sawdust already, I decided to keep going: The wife and I are planning to make some/most of our Christmas gifts this year. I have already started and added a few mallets for the woodworkers in my life (I am not spoiling the surprise – none of them read this blog…). I also turned a garden mallet for Stamp-With-Foot from a section of Laurel tree (her name-sake). I added the burned striped bands at her request after she saw her’s beside the others and got mallet-envy.
Just before my wife stomped out to the shop and MADE me come in for the night, I took a hunk of red oak that I have had for 10+ years and turned a couple of fancy door-stops. Since we live in a house built in 1928, the doors have a mind of their own and a well placed wedge keeps a person from walking into the edge of a door in the middle of the night. I will add some tung oil and a few coats of satin poly this week to finish them up.