That is the question I have been asked hundreds of times. It also has an easy answer. It’s everywhere. For one thing I am constantly looking for wood. I also have a knack of imagining what could be made of it when I find a good piece of wood. I could write a whole book on this collection. Remember, I am a habitual collector. I was taught the knack of scrounging for wood by my shop teacher at Broadway High School, Carlyle Lynch.
This box was made from a beam salvaged from the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge. Heart Pine When I got interested in wood turning in 1989, I soon needed a place to store this wood. My son in law, Tony Biller was working for Nielsen construction. In their yard at Nielsen, was a whole pile of construction joices. He inquired within of how much they would sell them for, and he was told $1.00, for the pile.
They were bought at once and Nielsen even hauled them to Piney Woods free. There, we had one half of a building. We had enough discarded light poles laying around on the farm to make the other half of a building. Now with a little manpower we just about had a building. With a few trees cut out of the woods and sawed, we had enough purlins to lay the roof on. I didn’t need sides to the building as I wanted air to circulate to help in drying the wood. Spalted Maple closed top bowl with walnut lid from a tree in Priscilla Blosser Rainey’s yard.
Sometimes when you are turning, something will show up that is imbedded in the wood. On this particular Nantucket Basket lid I was turning, I started to hear a clicking noise caused by something harder than wood was nicking the tool blade. Not very good on tool blades. I stopped the lathe and found it to be a bullet in the wood. I checked it over and decided I could keep ½ of the bullet in the lid and the other half in the pedestal base. It was a .25 cal. jacketed bullet. I also used a nugget of turquoise for the knob and inlay around the bullet on the base.
This was in White Oak. The piece of wood came from high up in the tree. Occasionally, I would take logs to Mauzy to be sawed by a guy who had a portable sawmill. One time I saw a small pile of boards near the sawmill
and ask him about them. He said they were off of some logs from someone else and that they didn’t want them and said I could have all of them. What a find! they were spalted Sycamore. On the way home from the dentist in Woodstock, coming up Route 11 at Bowman’s Crossing, I noticed someone in the process of cutting a walnut tree. I stopped to inquire, long story short, he gave me six large walnut trees if I would cut them In another instance I can remember also seeing a man sawing on a wind-blown cherry.
Naturally, I would stop and chew the fat. He said I could have all the cherry trees I could find on his property. He was getting rid of them because he was afraid of limbs blowing off the trees and having his cows eat the wilted leaves which is very toxic to cows. There must have been 12 trees, old and large. The man running the sawmill said those logs had the prettiest wood in them that he had ever seen. I have noticed that the trees with the most age have the prettiest grain. When I started turning, I scrounged any wood. My physiology was, if I can’t turn it I can burn it, as I have an outdoor boiler for heat.
Later I looked for only the old, big trees. There were times, I have offered to cut ones tree down just to get the wood. I had a saw large enough to handle most any tree in Virginia. When word got around, tree trimmers wanted to hire my saw to get their job done. As I adhere strictly to the clause of not transporting firewood across
state lines due to transporting wood eating insects, all of my wood is from Virginia.