I have a thing for wood. We fell in love with each when I was in high school and first caressed the fine grain of a piece of walnut.
For four decades of my life, I’ve never been too far away from wood. I’ve built houses, worked in a sawmill in Idaho and built furniture for my family. My favorite part of my shop is the “Papa’s Shop” sign my grandkids made for me.
About a year ago, my son, Isaac, finally convinced me to learn how to use a wood lathe. I owned one years ago but after I managed to break a shop window when the wood grabbed a tool and threw it, I sold it.
I had no idea how much fun, and challenging, it would be to learn this new skill. With a type A personality, I go at most things like I’m killing snakes so I’ve gone all-in on woodturning.
Recently, I was contacted by Bruce Regier wondering I had in use for this log chocked full of burls.Bruce is a fantastic photographer and farms near Moundridge, Kansas. He asked if I’d like to have this Siberian Elm (a.k.a. Chinese Elm) tree loaded with burls.
For a woodturner, a burl is the most beautiful and mysterious piece of wood you can turn. A burl is an abnormal growth on a tree that causes the tree to grow deformed. However, the grain of the wood is the most exquisite part of woodturner’s delight.
My wife and I loaded up the trailer one evening this week and drove the hour trip to Bruce’s farm. He fired his little tractor up and it moaned and groaned lifting the log sections into my trailer.
I haven’t been able to get good night’s rest since I brought the log home. I’m more excited as a kid at Christmas because of the endless possibilities of beautiful things I can make from her. Yes, she is a she. Sensuous, mysterious, beautiful, and rare.
The hard part is deciding where to start.
Being the storyteller, I can’t help myself but write about this adventure. I walk out to the trailer, gaze at her and my imagination runs wild. So I’m staring The Burly Log Blog. Follow along and help me figure out how to unleash the beauty that lies within her.
But the first order of business is this: how do I get it out of my trailer and where do I store it? This is a rare log so I don’t want to leave it laying on the ground.
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And I’m happy for any and all advice you have!