Saving Christmas trees

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My oldest friend saves his Christmas trees. Not the whole tree; rather, he cuts all the branches off and saves the trunk. Don’t know why he does it, but I found a reason for it to work for me.

My friend Riney always saves those trunks, branches shorn, in the corners of his garage. He has a good memory for what year they’re from, and said they’d always be good for something. You’d expect that from a woodworker, but Riney’s not a woodworker. But he likes the memories those trunks evoke, and being a person of the same mindset as my friend, it seemed a pretty cool thing, so I also started saving Christmas tree trunks.

And for a while, it was pretty cool. I was surprised to learn how easy it was to tell them apart and what year they were from. Plus, I figured that as a woodworker I’d have a good use for them. Over the years, they started accumulating.

Flash forward a few years, and I never found a use for them. Till now.

As you know from reading these blogs, I’m working on a book of 19th-century woodworking projects, one of which is a bucksaw. When it came time to take the “beauty shot” for the finished saw (oh, and what a beauty it is), I needed a stack of freshly bucked wood. Having no ready source of trees to cut down for firewood I suddenly remembered those old Christmas tree trunks in my garage.

I cut them up into equal lengths, stacked them artistically in a camp setting with my reproduction bucksaw leaning against them, and took the shot. It came out exactly the way I wanted it to. Further, each time I look at the photo I realize that the wood pictured there isn’t just some scrub pine I hacked down in the woods. No, it’s wood from trees that carry some memories, being used for yet another project that will, in turn, also carry memories.

The best part is that with my impromptu photo shoot done, and the photos turning out great, that I still have some nice workpieces that can be turned into still more memories. I’m thinking several small, natural-edge turned bowls out of the thickest of the pieces.

I think I’ll give one to my friend Riney as a Christmas gift.

Till next time,

A.J.

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