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Brown oak and silver lining


Amongst the Suffolk haul that @Ray Sylvester and I made was some really beautiful wood. But it was rough sawn, and covered in dust and bird shit. I didn't know where to start. I had got white oak, brown oak, silver birch, mulberry, and that rare creature, English elm.

I started with the brown oak, because I could clearly see the figure.These three boards were the result.

Then I looked at the really exciting one - the silver birch. Birch at its best has a natural sheen when finished, and this one had a ripple throughout the board. And the tree had been huge - more like the ones you find in Russia or Scandinavia than your delicate English variety. But how to cut it? I thought a long time before marking out.

The large one was going to be a statement piece, but I chose to work on one of the smaller ones to get the hang of it. I was glad that I did. The turning was really challenging, with the grain all over the place and the texture alternating between very hard and relatively soft. At one point I had three dig-ins within 5 minutes - reducing me to a novice!

I won in the end, and this was the result.

It had the sheen, and the ripple, but I was actually a little disappointed. I thought it would be more dramatic.

So next I went for the elm. I used to work it 20 odd years ago when there was a lot of it about. The distinctive, acrid smell took me back to those days. This board had a really twisted grain with lots of gaps and bark inclusions. I chose an intricate section to make into a serving board, but it needed a lot of TLC. I was pleased with the result.

And since I was into table ware, I turned another piece into a base for an oil lamp.

As you can see, I'm really enjoying this haul! But the big ones are yet to come....


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