Trees have a life cycle from their birth. Most remain in their rooted spot to provide shelter, shade, fruit, and beauty to the landscape. All trees begin as a sprouted seed, grow into a seedling, reach upward to their full stature, and eventually decompose and return to enrich the earth. Felled trees are chosen to be used for buildings, boats, furniture, and art. It is my joy to use them for my art, and I make sure all wood in my possession has a purposeful destination.

Wood producing sawdust and shavingsThe remains of my wood production include a lot of leftovers—the edges and wedges cut away from my projects plus shavings and sawdust.  Sometimes it saddens me to have to cut away so much of the glued blocks of wood when I am forming a bowl from its center. Besides the chunks of wood lost in cutting and plaining process, there are mounds and mounds of shavings and bags and bags of sawdust. A lot of wood workers just take the remains to the dump. Not me. I find homes for the leftovers.

I try to keep them dry and clean so they can be used for one final purpose. The wood chunks are used for small craft projects or children’s building blocks. Grandchildren love to receive a small bag of various shaped pieces that can be creatively put together. My wife entertained my friends’ two children for over an hour as they created an entire city out of two sacks full of wood ends. They had a blast. But, some of my leftover segments end up as highly desired clean-burning kindling.

My sawdust and shavings cannot be stored in the shop because of their fire hazard (see my previous post for more on this). I pack them into empty bags, and folks regularly stop by to pick up the valuable contents. Usually I just ask people to bring empty bags that I can help refill. Folks use them to keep chicken coops fresh and clean smelling—even to keep the bugs off their chickens. I’ve been told that the oils tend to repel the bugs. I have furnished shavings for fields of raspberry bushes to help control weeds, and they put nutrients back into the soil.

Respecting The Wood

Wood creationsI love my wood from the moment it’s selected to its entrance into my shop, then throughout the plaining and shaping process. Sometimes it’s a pain to have to have to empty the storage bin of the sawdust collector and to sweep the remaining piles. On the other hand, it is very satisfying to pay my final respect to the wood that has faithfully served my purpose to the end in this way.