"Having Fun With Green and Green" --by RusticWoodArt

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Blog entry by frank posted 04-02-2007 01:44 PM 1057 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Having Fun With Green and Green

....word playing-wood playing, while busily slaying the bark off some wood that has not yet turned off it’s drying time, and so i spend some out in the sun time at removing an outer layer, as all the while i am imagining what these are yet to be….

....and so the ongoing story of ‘wood art’ continues….

Spent the afternoon on Sunday out behind my barn debarking some willow, maple and oak pieces of wood from the past summer and before. The willow comes from a tree that I had cut down last summer and since I have not worked with willow before, I am waiting to see how this wood reacts to drying, finishing and what can I expect in the way of ‘wood art’.

Yes I know,—-the title has thrown you….’Green and Green’ vs. ’Greene and Greene’, well as I said when I started this blog story; “word playing-wood playing”!

I found this willow tree down while out driving and never being one to pass up an opportunity for free wood to slab or burn I had to stop and ask; ” what are you all planning on doing with the willow?” I might add that I am not one who holds back on asking and have found much wood this way. I was told that the willow was mine if I wanted to take it and clean up, so next step was a fast run home for chain saw and trailer and then back to start cutting up. Worked through the afternoon and into early evening and then back early next morning to cut some slabs and then clean up the site , while leaving the hauling for last.’s one of the slabs I cut….

....after debarking on Sunday I started playing around with the piece of willow to see what could be….

....some different views of the willow as my imagination starts rolling….this slab will be a test piece and I will see how well ‘butterfly splices’ fit into the cracks, plus the testing out of some ‘finishing practices’....but then you never know as my test pieces can usually end up as great works of ‘wood art’....

....and then I just thought I would post an update on the birch burl and how it is taking to curing in the seasons….this one is now on it’s third year of developing character and I have noticed the wood is starting to acquire some nice cracks which in turn will give me some nice spalting of the wood….

Ha! Now since I’m using green wood on top of green wood here, I thought that maybe this could be a ’Green on Green’—-THOR’S ENd SIDE TABLE!!!
Everyone have a very good day!!!

-- --frank, NH,

8 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#1 posted 04-02-2007 02:30 PM

“outside the box” as usual, I see !! :)

I look at your “finds” and I am reminded of all the wood that I have not truly seen, in the days gone by… I am sure that I have thought “darn – that wood is split—it would have made a nice something-or-other”
Never again, Frank – never again. Thank you for teaching me how to see

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4341 days

#2 posted 04-02-2007 05:44 PM

Frank have you worked much with tables made with slabs like that? I’ve seen it done but I still don’t know what happens over the years, or even what the best steps to preserve it are.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4427 days

#3 posted 04-02-2007 06:03 PM

I’ve got 5-6 walnut slabs 2 3/4 Thick. Crotch pieces. I made one table and it worked fine. Now mine was side grain like a board not all end cuts like Frank is showing.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4326 days

#4 posted 04-02-2007 07:19 PM

Have you ever tried Peg. to prevent checking. I tried it once on a large cross section of Pine, for a display. It works ,but requires a lot of time.

I have done some carving with Willow, & I like it a lot. My Falcon is done in it.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4233 days

#5 posted 04-02-2007 07:42 PM

Hello Dennis;
On this piece of willow I’m going to play with the wood and see how stable it holds, hence for the area of cracks in the wood I will hand chisel in butterflys to hold the wood and stop movement at the cracks. This works good in oak and maple end cuts and as long as the wood is dry, the movement of the crack can be stopped. The key here is having the wood already dry and that is where on this piece of willow I am unsure and so I will spend time doing a test up piece.

End cuts like this are very stable as long as the wood is dry, and the butterflys are put in to stop wood movement, the other problem being that since I am using willow and willow being a softwood….how much can I expect in the way of wood strength?

As far as preserving the wood and finish, I will probably be using a varnish which should work out fine. This is my first use of willow on such a top and as I said, I shall have to see what happens. If this was oak or maple, I would have no concerns beyond stopping the movement of the cracks and that is by inserting the butterflys after the wood has dried.


-- --frank, NH,

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4233 days

#6 posted 04-02-2007 08:01 PM

Hi Dick;
—-getting busy around here, post one comment and blink and then another….ha!—-you just got to love it. Raining here so I thought to look in before I’m out the door for the paint store.

No, I have not tried Peg for checking. Actually checking is not one of my really big concerns since checking gives rustic furniture what I call character. Whenever I am wanting to stop checking on the slabs I cut length wise, I will use whatever latex acrylic paint I have laying around, which also slows down the drying process; usually two coats are good. If my slabs are long I will just cut off the area of checking.

Once I get started on a piece of wood I will hand cut butterflys into the wood so as to stop the movement of the check. I am in the process of starting this week a table top of maple that has some cracks in it like the one above of willow and maybe this will be a good time to take some pictures of the process. I also hand cut the butterflys….some folks call them ‘bow ties’. This process is time consuming and I know there are jigs to go along with my router, but then it would not be hand cut.


-- --frank, NH,

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4233 days

#7 posted 04-02-2007 08:16 PM

Hi Karson;
—-yes, I have also worked with walnut slabs that have checked in the crutch area, cut length wise and have been very pleased with the end results. I also have stabilized the crutch area with epoxies and I am now using the two part polymers.


-- --frank, NH,

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4354 days

#8 posted 04-03-2007 01:22 AM

My FIL makes small end tables and occasionally coffee tables with a large chunk-o-tree and his chainsaw… all of these have checked over the years, some more than others, some severely. just call it character and all’s good. Their main coffee table isn’t even good for putting a drink down on anymore as it is far from level… they still like it just the same.

we have two small ones, and we love em!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

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