Wood Working

Wood is one of our most precious resources and one that we become intimate with in so many ways that it’s literally in-grained in us. I do my wood working with a chainsaw but I really admire the artists and carpenters that make beautiful and useful things with wood.

Ben Johnson recently introduced me to The Woodwright’s Shop with Roy Underhill.

“Knowledge is one thing; understanding is another. Wood responds to the hands of man in somewhat predictable ways. And the response of wood to the steel blade forms patterns in human behavior. We are creators and teachers. The confidence of humankind is based not on superior strength or speed but on our abilities to shape the materials of our environment and to communicate our experiences. With each swing of the axe, each joining of the wood, you build and preserve within you the living memory of this timeless trade. The satisfaction you gain is well deserved.” —Roy Underhill

Check out this marvelous show: The Spirit of Woodcraft “Join in Thoreau’s search for moral lessons deep in the grain of the wood.”, for an example of Roy at his finest.

Back home at The Springs, on a recent walk with Jim Davee and Zach Kastern, we were discussing the boardwalks and bridges that need creating or repairing and Jim suggested that we recycle the wood from the black locust trees that we girdled and use it for building these structures.  He followed up on this with the DNR and got their approval.  This idea really sparked Ben Johnson’s imagination and he is collecting scrap wood from his job (below) and acquiring the tools we’ll need.  His excitement is infectious and I’m glad things did not work out with the last carpenter we tried to enlist for the job.  It will be a lot more fun to build things ourselves with wood from The SpringsSuper Friend♥ Rich Csavoy built his own house just a mile or so north of The Springs and he is always ready give his time and talents.  Anne Korman, Assistant Superintendent of the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, has a lead on a skilled carpenter that wants to help us too.

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Long-time followers of this blog may remember way back in November 2012, when Randy Shilling came out to The Springs to salvage some red oak, hickory and cherry that I had cut from an area near the Indian Spring to open the views out west to the Scuppernong River Habitat Area.  The wood is finally seasoned enough for Randy to work with it.  Check out this beautiful hickory mortar.

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Despite my relentless attack against buckthorn, in the hands of a skilled wood turner like Randy, it can take on very attractive forms as seen below in these wine bottle stoppers.

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Here are some rhythm sticks that my friend Danny Aukofer turned for me from some buckthorn firewood he picked up from our stash at the Hartland Marsh.

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I’m looking forward to doing some creative wood working with my Super Friends♥ at The Springs this year!

In the meantime, I’m still working in the Buckthorn Alley and I cut many a nasty tree there yesterday.  Here is how it looked after I got a fire started and before I began cutting.

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The winds blew and the snow and buckthorn fell.  The shots below are in the same perspective order as those above.

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I’m going to focus on the south side of the trail to open the views into the interior wetlands while the ground is still frozen. Hopefully, I’ll finish the north side of the trail as well.

Here is a broader view of the area I worked on yesterday.

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The view from the old barn site.

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Save the date! Pati and I are having an open house on February 16th from 2:00pm – 8:00pm at our home in Milwaukee. We want to thank all the Super Friends♥ of the Scuppernong Springs.  I’ll be sending out invitations via email soon.  If you want to come and I don’t have your email, please contact me.  We’ll have a nice fire going in the back yard!

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See you at The Springs!

2 thoughts on “Wood Working

  1. Anticipation for spring is a rough one.

    “As the days become warmer and brighter, nature rouses from her winter slumber and looks ahead to the new growth of spring. The Wood, which has been at rest, storing and concentrating its energy under a winter blanket, now bursts forth with new buds, new life piercing Earth’s crust. The swelling Wood of spring initiates rebirth – a surge of rising energy, like the young lamb staggering up to nurse, like the dandelion whose growing edge can burst through concrete if it must. Wood is the energy of youth and growth: a new beginning, a vision of a whole new cycle. The Wood energy of spring is an expression of life at its strongest.” – lifted for our academic pursuits at – http://www.5elements.com/docs/elements/wood.html

    • Thanks for that interesting perspective Ben. The link goes on to say “If we have followed nature’s way and taken a winter rest, we too emerge into spring “raring to go,” with clear vision and a sense of purpose.” I’m too hyper to rest during the Winter. I’m “raring to go” NOW!

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