Sweet aroma - Woodshop News

Sweet aroma

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Here’s another reason I feel bad for those who don’t work wood: Sometimes it just smells so darned good, and they don’t know what they’re missing.

I’ve done a lot of long blogs lately, so this one will be short and, literally, sweet.

I was finishing up a couple more birdhouses last week for an upcoming book, and although I’d been working with other wood species for a while had switched back to Western red cedar, an excellent wood for outdoor use. Lots of wood types smell good when cut or milled. Walnut has a distinctive sharp scent that many don’t care for but I like a lot. Pine can remind you of the holidays or a tree house you built as a kid. Can’t exactly describe the smell of cherry, but it’s unusual and I like it too.

But nothing makes you want to close your eyes and drink in the aroma more than cedar. Even an old piece that’s aged and weathered can, when cut, still releases an intoxicating fragrance. The only thing I can think of that could possibly smell better is walking into a bakery.

I haven’t cleaned the shop up yet from my work last week. Part of it is that I’ve been wrapped up with other stuff, but somewhere in that reason is a hidden excuse to keep the shop smelling good with the cedar chips and shavings everywhere.

Unfortunately, I don’t use cedar nearly as much as I’d like – it’s too soft for most indoor furniture and other projects – so during those long absences when I’m working other species, I miss it so much that I get a craving for a donut just so I can go hang out at the bakery. It’s not the aroma of cedar, but the smell of fresh baked goods will usually hold me over until I can think of another project where I can use cedar some more.

In an earlier blog I touted poplar as one of my favorite woods, but every time I work with cedar it always – if only temporarily – becomes number one.

Till next time,

A.J.

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