Turning Family Treasures!

Rob-Portrait351Last summer, we put in a monster patio behind my house. When the contractor gave us the bid, he looked at the big stump which was all that remained of the huge American elm (a sad casualty of Dutch Elm disease ) that had shaded my house for 100 years or more and said, “No problem getting this out…an afternoon should do it.”

Bravely spoken, but after a day and a half of chain sawing, chopping, hacking…copious quantities of cursing…and big-honkin’ machine grinding, the stump was finally defeated. Early in its vivisection, though, that same contractor removed several very large chunks of spalted stump wood. I have no qualms about Dumpster diving, so I happily dug them out and squirreled them away with the plan to turn holiday gifts for my children…the same children who, over the years, spent hours not weeding the garden under that departed elm tree.

Well, here it is November, and I am beginning to feel a bit of urgency on those holiday gifts. I’m sure some of you know how I feel…. And as I have not even turned on my lathe yet, there’s a good reason for that urgency. But, fear not, my good intentions will be realized in short order. So, gotta go: I have some turning to do!


– Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

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