More uses for firewood

Superbowl? What Superbowl?

We spent all Sunday over at a friend’s house in his woodworking shop, geeking out on power tools and really clever woodworking jigs.

Remember three years back when we cleared our 1/4 acre lot so I could have a little farm-garden, and then spent an epic weekend splitting it all into two and a half cords of firewood? We’ve been steadily using it up. We will definitely be out of firewood by late February (ugh, didn’t plan that quite right), but as we’ve been bringing firewood in, I’ve been pulling pieces back out.

Some of those suckers were just too beautiful to burn.

But how to cut them down into useable shapes? I have a circular saw and a hand planer. A friend generously offered her table saw, but then someone else said that wouldn’t work, and reminded me that another friend had a woodworking shop. And boy, does he ever. So that’s how we spent Superbowl Sunday – in the culmination of a project I’ve had on the back burner for about three years.

This is most of what we started with:

We had a great time. (Or at least, I had a great time, and Josh thought it was pretty ok.) The kids were being watched inside by our friend’s wife, dinner was cooking in the oven, and I got to learn how to use a table saw, planer, jointer, and belt sander. The jointer was my favorite. But I’ve decided that if we ever get the funds, a table saw should be my next purchase because it is such a versatile tool.

All those logs didn’t render a whole heck of a lot of boards… but there are enough. And because our friend is so very good at what he does, these boards also turned out as well as they could have. Perfectly squared. Nicely planed to all the same height. I can’t wait to start working with them.

What we ended up with:

Some of them have holes (thanks a lot, stupid bugs) but nothing that can’t be filled or turned so the other side faces out. I have plans for these beauties, oh yes I do. Christmas here I come – gifts handmade from trees grown on our own land, split and finished myself. I think there is enough here for perhaps 3 of the very simple project that I have in mind.

And yes, it took a full 6 hours to just get the raw materials prepared enough for me to start doing my projects. But you know what? I’m so, so glad I did. Just look at this wood – it’s like nothing you can buy in the store.

This is the first piece that made me pause before I threw it in the fire. The log that made me start saving wood in the first place.

Pretty interesting, right? And when I saw it sliced and planed smooth I was floored. I felt a wash of gratitude at whatever had made me pause before consigning all this wood to the fire.

Just look at all those colors and ripples and variation. This is some really, really fancy wood. Or at least I think so – not that I know anything about woodworking.

There is a lot more like this. I won’t monopolize my friend’s time or shop in asking him to help me make any more of it into boards… but I kind of want to. Or at least, I want to find a better fate for it than our woodstove – I’d even sell it if I could find someone that would appreciate it.

Or better yet, maybe I’ll start a second stash… just a little one.

2 Responses to “More uses for firewood”

  1. heidi Says:

    so what kind of wood is it? it reminds me of those rocks made up of various colors of sand. You’ve done marvelously rescuing those and making them into boards. Your Grandpa would have been pleased to see one of his grandkids into woodwork.But I have to agree with the person who suggested pushing the wood through the tablesaw with a guide board, not your fingers…

  2. Diana Guillermo Says:

    The lighter wood is spalted curly maple and the darker wood is walnut. I am so in love with it. I can’t believe it came from our own tres. And yes, I did end up using a guide for the table saw after that first pass. I was just too nervous to use it like the owner did; he is much more skilled & familiar with it than I am.

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