A friend of mine contacted me a couple days ago asking if I could help him take down some dead and dying trees that were leaning up against his house (and providing bugs with a convenient entry point). So I brought my chainsaw over to see what I could do.
I ended up removing two dead dogwoods and another unidentifiable dead tree. I’m always sorry to see a dogwood go, but I know that if you can get to them before they get rotten or buggy, the wood can be excellent. But it rots in a hurry. One bole was already punky inside, but the other had about 3′ of sound, clear wood in the bole. It’s about 5″ in diameter, but then no dogwood log is ever very big.
With a hewing hatchet, I cut a flat all the way down the log so I could saw it open on the bandsaw. Then I removed the rest of the bark with a drawknife.
You’d think at some point I’d build a decent shaving horse, wouldn’t you?
Yeah, me too.
I resawed the other section so I have one half and two quarters of the log. It has beautifully variegated colors (which this pictures absolutely fails to show) from yellow to cream to almost purple. Dogwood is hard, heavy, and very difficult to split, so large pieces are prized for making carver’s mallets, as well as other things that need to stand up to heavy use.
S0 the larger half of the log I will set aside for mallets. The quarters will probably become spoons–if I can get to it before it dries out. Otherwise, I see some marking gauges and chisel handles in the works.
The ends are sealed now. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this log.
I took a class with chair maker Greg Pennington. He turns (on a lathe) dogwood that size into clubs. I asked if they split up as they dried and he said that he generally destroys them beating froes before they have time. It is dense stuff.
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