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  • Roger Waterhouse

Damn nails !


A couple of good friends of mine who do tree work turned up last week with some pieces of birch which I had asked for (for reasons explained before) but unexpectedly, some large pieces of cherry trunk, newly felled. Yesterday, given the weather outside I thought, this is an ideal day to turn some of the cherry whilst it is still green.

One of the pieces was a crutch, and from past experience I know that green turned crutch cherry can twist in wonderful ways as it dries.

So, I mounted a slice, which included the pith of the trunk, in the lathe and started to shape the outside. It was coming along nicely when I heard (and felt) a bang, and another bang, and another... It was a bloody nail, buried way inside the tree. When I looked more carefully, there were two, close together.

After the expletives I reground my damaged bowl gouge and reached for the old firmer chisels I use on occasions like this. With difficulty I hacked out the two nails. They had originally been 3 inches long but were seriously corroded, and of course, had stained the wood.

Nothing daunted, I applied my newly ground gouge and eventually bottomed out the hole I had made digging out the nails.

Then, bang! I hit another one.

What I only discovered afterwards was that the section of trunk I had acquired was just above the bole. Had it had been a hedging tree I would have expected staples, bits of wire etc. But in a cherry? And big nails in the tree when it was quite small? You never know what to expect. Between expletives, I tell myself that's part of the excitement of it .....

However, having worked through it, I think the finished dish might be really attractive when it dries out.


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