I have no idea on what to do with this wood!

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Forum topic by SirBrian posted 11-24-2010 04:15 PM 2328 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 2910 days

11-24-2010 04:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource tip trick cherry walnut bandsaw lathe planer scroll saw chisel drill press miter saw router spray gun jointer plane sander tablesaw milling shaping turning finishing scrollworking veneering joining sanding sharpening victorian greene and greene modern traditional arts and crafts

Hello everyone!

I have about 500 board foot of some very nice Cherry that has been air dried for over 40-50 years that range in thickness from 7/4 to 10/4(mostly 8/4). It was kept in a barn loft up until I purchased it in the mid 80’s. I also have over 300 board foot of Black walnut that came from a log that had been felled in 1911 by my Grandfather and it was cut up into boards in the early 70’s and stored in a barn loft. This is beautiful Walnut that is a deep dark chocolate purple(almost black) with some black mineral streaks(not much and only in a couple of pieces). It is very heavy and dense as compared to other walnut I have. I made a couple of end grain cutting boards last year and they came out almost black! Most pieces are over 10” inches wide and have been planed to 3/4” inch thick-all of the boards are over 12’ ft long. A couple of the pieces are live edge and 12” inches wide and 4/4. I have had this wood for over 15 years myself and it was kept inside of a climate controlled environment-moisture content is at 4-6% at the present moment.
I also have a nice chunk of “The Pemberton Oak” that came from the first big limb on the left in the photo on this page—>
This is the only surviving piece of that landmark tree. They burned the rest of it!(Stupid people do stupid things sometimes). I managed to get there before they burned it all and saved the one piece. To some, it is just a piece of Oak-to me it is a piece of history that I can change into something beautiful, (Look Ma, I can change History!) I am a woodworker, what did you expect me to do? Grab a bag of marsh-mellows? Anyway, I am the person that has a piece of that Oak and I would like to make something of it.

I hope that gives you a good idea of what I have. My intentions are to keep this wood until I could find something special to build with it-to carry its story even further so to speak. This would be the perfect place to ask for ideas.

Which brings me to the problem of not knowing what to build. I have woodworking mind block! It seems the more projects I look at doing, the less I start. I cannot find a project or design a project that this wood deserves. I need some ideas of what this wood can be. I will be making a cherry, slab like, coffee table, this I know, but cannot for the life of me think of anything else. I have thought about making some tools handles out of the cut offs, but, I would also like to build some small projects that I may sell to purchase more lumber, but what? I would like to make something that is beyond the normal and outside of the box. For some reason I am clueless.
Usually I just put my head down and dig in, but not this time.
I hope some other lumber-jocks could shed some light on what to do with this lumber, beyond the idea of giving it to them and letting them build something, lol. I do not want to sell this lumber.
I was hoping that I could get some ideas from other LJ’s to maybe come up with a project, or a series of projects, that I could build. Maybe do a blog or something of the process. I just simply have no idea.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have all kinds of ideas for projects, but I do not want to build the normal.
I just want a challenge instead of the usual.
So, I would like to hear from other members that have ideas on what I should build/make out of this wood.

Any ideas are good ideas!

Thank you all for such a wonderful site.

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

17 replies so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3723 days

#1 posted 11-24-2010 04:45 PM

I’d just sit back and wait. Eventually something will come to you. Some of this wood started out hundereds of years ago. What’s the hurry. Better to wait for inspiration than to rush in.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3110 days

#2 posted 11-24-2010 04:53 PM

it sounds like a very hard attack of mental blocking
you simply take a vacation from the shop and make a lot of other things
you like , go to the beach , museum´s , read some not woodworking books
realy do some thing ells for a periode and get inspired from other things and trades
and you will see when you return to your shop the ideas will come to you
a good thing wuold be to have a little sketch book with you and write /draw ideas
down in and have it with you all the time

you simply have to restart your creative side of the brain

best toughts

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3428 days

#3 posted 11-24-2010 05:32 PM

This may be too simple for you but, that oak…..I’d have a picture PAINTED of that tree, then make a frame of some of the wood. Don’t know about the rest

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View SirBrian's profile


21 posts in 2910 days

#4 posted 11-24-2010 05:46 PM

I’m not in a hurry to build anything-as I am retired and have all the time in the world. Besides, like I said, I have kept this lumber this long and I can keep that much longer. I am just looking for ideas on what to build with it when I do decide to make something.

I thought of maybe making something simple and have each member do a unique thing to it ( I have seen this done before, but can’t remember where) to upgrade/improve it, like one person inlay, one person finish, one person build this section, one person build the next and so on. Just something small that can be shipped to each member without costing too much to ship, like maybe a box(I do not know), or a humidor. Then someone write a letter of Authenticity telling its story and once done-auction it off and do something charitable with the proceeds! That was the only idea I had. I think that would be cool.

But, that doesn’t help with the ideas of what to do with this lumber. Oh, I know that eventually I will build something, but I don’t want to look back and wish I had done something different like I usually do-I am very hard on myself.
I have built a lot of things in the past that have been sold or given away prior to me finding this website. I could kick myself multiple times for not taking photos or keeping one of each, but that is life. Now that I have the time, I would like to make something special that someone will enjoy for years to come, way after I am gone and forgotten, and make a little $ to fund buying more lumber once this is used up.

Dennis, I did exactly what you speak of-do something else for awhile. I got a vintage metal lathe and played with that for awhile and even made a small lathe and shaper which I am still working on. I just figured I would ask for ideas to gather information of what to build with this wood.

Yeah, maybe something will come to me. But any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I thought of a bedroom suite, or a dining room suite which led me to ask for ideas.

I am just stumped. In due time I guess, in due time.

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

View cFurnitureGuy's profile


145 posts in 3171 days

#5 posted 11-24-2010 05:46 PM

i suggest giving some to me! i can come up with something! :) ha!
sorry about that… i have alot of wood that i have been hauling around with me for about 15 years now. it has moved from ohio, to georgia and several places in Missouri now! i have just been sitting on it waiting for the right idea or project to use it on. Just wait one of these days it will hit you!

-- Justin, Savannah,Ga

View SirBrian's profile


21 posts in 2910 days

#6 posted 11-24-2010 06:03 PM


That is a good idea! But I do not paint, do you?

Maybe a plate and a bowl w/spoon or an urn-just slinging out other things. I do like the frame and picture idea.

Do you know a modern day Michelangelo/Monet?

This wood has traveled with me also! I moved to New York, then to Florida, then back to Vermont, and now I reside in Tennessee, but, it was with me all the way. A woodworker will never leave a piece of wood behind! Ha ha.

I know something will eventually come to my mind. I am just the type of person that hates to sit idle for longer than second-now a days they call it ADD or OCD or DDT or something like that, but I have to be working on something all of the time.
Soon enough I guess.

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3537 days

#7 posted 11-24-2010 06:07 PM

I would definitely not make any more cutting boards with it…

It’s too beautiful and has too much history to make something that really doesn’t show off the wood.

Start with things small, like boxes. This will help you work with the grain in the wood while not using up too much. Even coffee tables are good. just some thoughts

-- Childress Woodworks

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3035 days

#8 posted 11-24-2010 06:13 PM

Make Some Tables & give to all the Children/Grandchildren you may have !!

Or better yet just send it all to me !!! ;)

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2978 days

#9 posted 11-24-2010 07:20 PM

Do you realize how envious you have made some of us feel with your current situation. LOL
Although I can relate to your situation as I have about a 1000 to 1500 bf of Aromatic Cedar myself that I would like to build memorable projects other that just making Cedar chests and the like. One of the thoughts my wife and I have talked about was doing our bathroom in Cedar Projects. I’m also have about 300 bf of Southern Yellow Pine left to work with.

Since most of my projects have been for others as gifts and family I have not really made anything with myself in mind. The plan is to have my new shop wired by April so that I can resume my woodworking again. So I have vowed that when I start making projects they will be for myself and the house now that we are empty nesters.

Have you though of using that Oak to make a commemorative table or bench with a picture of the tree Embossed or some other method of imposing the picture into the wood?

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#10 posted 11-25-2010 07:43 AM

Most gunsmiths like wood that is 5 yrs minimum to 10 yrs dry. Yours is up to snuff :-)) Being in TN with 8/4 + cherry and walnut, making spouthern Poor boy Kentucky style rifles sounds like a good idea until you figure out what to with the rest ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2917 days

#11 posted 11-28-2010 01:58 AM

I would be thinking of making a desktop out of the walnut, and maybe even extend it to top a row of cabinets. Use the live edge on the outside.

Try it before you build it, but I think the cherry, if you stained it very red would look beautiful under a really dark walnut top. It would have to go in a room with a lot of light, or it would be too dark. Resaw and bookmatch to make cabinet slab doors.

Another idea is a front door. I just saw a fabulous front door made from 8/4 ash that was sandblasted to have a 3 D grain effect.

View SirBrian's profile


21 posts in 2910 days

#12 posted 11-28-2010 04:03 AM

Tmax-The rifles sound like a great idea also-I found a website that sells the complete kits for about $750.00 (including the wood), now if I can find the hardware(barrel, and other metal) to see what the overhead cost would be. Thanks for the idea!
Brtech-I use to make jewelry boxes and stain them with an Ox blood red leather dye and they were gorgeous-made of Mahogany, but still a gorgeous deep blood red color. I do like the idea about the Walnut top too.
Thank you all for the ideas and the willingness to share them.
I found some more cherry today that I had culled a couple of months back-10” inch wide boards that were cupped like a horse shoe. I spent the day milling them into smaller boards that are now usable. Some of them had a little mottled figure in them. I also found some Hickory that was the same way-cupped, warped, split, and checked all over, but, it too is now usable lumber-smaller pieces but usable.
I also found some 1/4” inch thick Ambrosia Maple craft wood I had hid under my work bench that I had forgotten I had.

Today was good day!

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#13 posted 11-28-2010 04:15 AM

try these:

There are others also, National Muzzleloanding rifle assn is a good resource too.
If you get hooked on building & shooting flintlocks, its your own fault, don’t blame me ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View SirBrian's profile


21 posts in 2910 days

#14 posted 11-28-2010 04:47 AM

You know, I have a a very rare 1936 Craftsman badged Atlas 12” inch metal lathe that is 42” inches between centers-you can see the actual lathe here,

I could make my own,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I bought that lathe a couple of years ago and completely rebuilt it. I never thought about making black powder firearms, but now that you have sparked my interests I may give this a whirl. The over-all cost would be low due to me doing most of the machining on the barrel and I could definitely make most of the parts. Why didn’t I think of this? Brain dead?
I would still have to buy one complete unit to use as a reference to build from, but that would pay for itself after one or two sold.
It would be a lot of extra work, but it would be fun.
Thank you TS for the idea and the links!

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#15 posted 11-28-2010 05:34 AM

I have never heard of rifling a barrel on a lathe. I do know people who have made their own rifling machines. Making all the other parts should be fairly simple. The hardest would be making the springs and the frizzen if you decided to make a flintlock. A very good lock can be had for $100; barrels, $150. I knew a couple of late fellows from Yakima, WA who made English sporting rifles on par with the originals.

I have the parts here to make a side hammer schuetzen rifle. They are late 18th century target rifle meant to be shot offhand at 40 rods (220 yds). Since we only have 200 yds on most ranges, if we are lucky, we have to settle for that nowadays. Just another little project on my gonna do list ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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