Issue 36

Issue 36

What’s Your Favorite Wood?

In order to have a favorite of something, you must have an extended and intimate experience with whatever the object of your affection is. For example, I DO NOT have a favorite lawyer, tax collector, Fortune 500 CEO or AM radio talk show host.

I do, however, have a favorite wood. In my years of woodworking I have had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of domestic and exotic species from aspen to zebrawood. But the wood I favor most is not in any way exotic. It’s birch. Plain old, run-of-the-mill birch. (Well, actually I prefer curly red birch, but that’s really just a difference of degree.) I know that many find it bland, pale and boring (some folks have identified me with the same description), but I find it to be subtle, stable and versatile.

Over the years I’ve made a wide variety of things out of birch, from furniture to toys to shop jigs. I’ve inlaid it, I’ve painted it, turned it, carved it, steam bent it…well you get the idea. I like how it cuts and I like how it smells. Like I said, it’s my favorite.

So, how about you, do you have a favorite wood? Let me know, and tell me why you like it. It might not be as groovy as birch…but I’m willing to have you make a case for a species as boring as say, Thcitola.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

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