This spring I was fortunate to come across a few good city trees waiting to be salvaged from dump sites. Â The largest was this maple, pictured below.
The lumpy exterior suggested the possibility of a surprising interior, and I wasn’t disappointed.
One end of the section was a large crotch with honey colored heartwood and strong figure. Â The length of the trunk was peppered with clusters of birds-eyes that show up on flat-sawn sections, while quarter-sawing stretches the figure into iridescent ribbons. Â This was the largest chunk of a tree that I have salvaged to date, and since I was working alone it was necessary to section the wood into manageable pieces. Â Fortunately, I can manage a large piece. Â But getting them out of the truck is always easier than getting them into it.
I had been wanting to mill up some of the green wood that I’ve been collecting into slabs and planks, so this seemed like a good chance to give it a try. Â Since a learning opportunity is also a teaching opportunity, I enlisted two of my students to help with the project. Â It was an experiment to see how well short stock could be milled on a large capacity band saw rather than on a portable mill. Â We were successful cutting book-matched slabs out of several sections of the maple, and the wood is now air drying. Â It should be ready for use by the end of next summer. Â Many thanks to Michael O. and Zach S. for lending a hand.
Some of the smaller sections were suitable for bowl blanks, and one of the resulting bowls is pictured below. Â It is about 10.5″ in diameter, and the curvature of the bowl captures the transition of the figure as the orientation of the grain shifts. Â As usual, the wood distorted slightly as it dried. Â The slight distortion gave the bowl a graceful energy and played up the textural illusion caused by the curly figure.