Powerless Over Cool Wood

Rob Johnstone staff photo

They say that the first step to overcoming a behavioral flaw is admitting that you have a problem. But do I really? (Have a problem, that is…)

Last Saturday, Spencer called me (last name withheld so you can’t call him and ruin my deal), explaining that he was cutting down an 80-year-old black walnut tree, and did I want to come and get the Y-sections? Crotch grain walnut is as stunning as it gets, and green walnut often has spectacular colors. So, I enthusiastically said yes. Cooler minds might ask themselves things like, where are you going to put those pieces? How are you going to process them so you can actually use them? Are you even strong enough to lift them into your truck?

Walnut wood blanks

Rob loading walnut wood into his truck

None of these concerns crossed my mind (except the last one, when it came to pass that no, I was not strong enough). Now I have a truckload of black walnut, and I can’t seem to feel bad about it. So where is the problem?

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

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