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One last piece

You know the feeling when you come to the last piece of a wood in a special stash? I’m feeling that now.

Every woodworker has some special stock – it’s particularly figured; the tree it came from had meaning; the color or workability is perfect, etc. You like that wood so much that you use it sparingly, meaning you might keep that stash for years. But eventually, it runs out. That’s the case here.

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That is a chunk of wormy white oak measuring about 3" x 4-1/2" x 22", and it’s part of a heap of similar chunks I brought home from my folks house decades ago. We lived in Connecticut at the time, and my folks in Clarion, Pa. We visited them one summer right after a storm had felled a cherry tree and a white oak behind their property.

I was happy to help my dad turn the downed trees into firewood while there (they heated entirely with wood) but asked if I could have some of the nicer, larger pieces. We used a band saw to square off each chunk, crammed as much into my car trunk as possible, and squirreled pieces anywhere else they’d fit. My car was a low rider all the way home.

Our daughter was eight or nine at the time, so this had to be 30 years ago. In the three decades since I’d occasionally pull out a piece and use it for a small projects or sometimes to make smaller components for larger projects.

I thought I’d used the last piece a year or two ago (I think I did a blog on it, but couldn’t find it), but in rearranging storage recently I came across that piece of white oak and was thrilled to realize I had one more. My folks are gone now, our daughter is grown, and that car I used to haul the chunks home is long forgotten. But I still have one piece of that wood.

I’ve been thinking for several days now what to make with it. Considering how long it’s been around, and how it reminds me of all the time that’s passed – and of my folks and of when our daughter was little – I think a clock would be perfect. If I cut carefully, I think I can even get some quartersawn pieces for the front of the clock. In white oak, that’ll look awesome.

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