Would you like some wood?
I have been asked on many occasions where I obtain wood for my turnings. In some cases I will purchase exotic woods or nuts but this is rarely done because I am more interested in turning locally obtained wood. With locally obtained wood I have the opportunity of learning a bit of the history of the wood I turn. For example my neighbour, Rudy, operates a portable saw mill. He was hired by The Oaken Door just north of Lindsay (who have since closed their business) to mill beams that had been obtained by The Oaken Door from the Wright Brothers Airplane factory. To prepare the wood for milling Rudy would cut off about a foot at each end of the beams where lag bolts secured the structure.
Rather than burning the waste wood Rudy gave me several pieces of yellow pine from the Wright Brothers Airplane factory from which I produced several items which were well received. Sadly to say I turned a small vase from the last piece of yellow pine this March. To this date Rudy continues to drop off a variety of interesting burls, spalted wood and anything he thinks that would interest me.
Last year I was visited by a man who introduced himself as Glenn. At that time Glenn was in the process of building a straw baled house. He had milled slabs of ash for an open staircase and had two slabs left. I was commissioned to turn a couple of bowls for his wife Diane’s birthday. Through Glenn and Diane’s connections I was introduce to George. Well to my surprise George’s company has been clearing the lots for Port 32 in Bobcaygeon. He has provided me with several pieces of Juniper (red cedar) which were harvest from Port 32.
As a known wood turner I receive calls from people that have fallen trees or are clearing their property offering me wood. Where possible, in return for their wood, I create something for them from the wood that was given. Quite often I just find a piece of wood or two on my front door step that someone had just dropped off. When someone is not dropping off wood for me, I scavenge friends wood piles, and you just don’t know what I can find hiking through the forest. In most cases the wood that I turn, must have a moisture content of a minimum of 15% which could take up to two years to dry.
Another question people ask is do I have a favourite wood I like turning. Well I really enjoy turning spalted or figured maple but I do have an affinity with all species of wood. The challenge is to find the balance between the texture, grain and natural color with each burl, branch or log to create something that is unique, not only must it be pleasing to the eye, but also it must feel right to the touch. All my creations are one of a kind.
Morris will next be in the gallery demonstrating On July 4th.