Old Walnut Planed Out
Work finally resumed in earnest this weekend, but it will take a while to get back in the groove. Take a few weeks off and, when you return, you spend a lot of time wandering around scratching your head.
It’s time to catch Aeon up with Caesura, and first task is the coaming. Aeon’s will be of Black Walnut (Caesura’s is Spanish Cedar). I have some nice planks left in the stack, but the curved pieces at the front and rear of the cockpit waste a lot of wood, and what’s left isn’t quite wide enough to make the inner and outer pieces in matching wood. No matter how I laid it out I just couldn’t get there. That’s when I started seriously contemplating those half rotten old slabs I’ve been moving around the shop for a year and a half.
You may remember I got flitches of Black Walnut cut by a friend, Seth Richardson, the same friend was my source for all the Cypress. He’d slabbed up a huge old tree, but never found a use for it, so it laid rotting in the field for a couple of years. When we pulled up the stack, we had to chase off a nest of mice, a Black Snake, a Blue Tailed Skink, and a bunch of beetles, snails, worms, and miscellaneous six and eight-legged creatures. Sadly, the wood was pretty far gone, especially where rain puddled at one end, but I tossed it in the trailer anyway.
There wasn’t enough good wood in any piece for transoms, which is how I’d hoped to use them, so they just got moved from place to place in the shop from one season to the next. Always in the way, I almost threw them out several times, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Such a grand old tree. But with another trip to the sawmill looming, they suddenly looked more appealing. Figured I might as well see what was under all that dirt and rot, so I hauled them out and poked them with a blade, then trimmed off the worst.
After a few passes through the planer they suddenly looked very, very nice. All that time mellowing in the field had given the wood some nice coloration, and the pieces are plenty big for coamings. Now I don’t feel so bad about tripping over them for so long.
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