Back in the spring, retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer, talented woodworker and good UCF friend Jim Wright taunted the world by extolling the marvelous wood he'd acquired.
For the woodworkers: gloat gloat gloat.Now I remember when they salvaged that wood. Never occurred to me that I might ever get my hands on some. And he'd mentioned turning some pens. Though it was April, I asked if he could set aside some material to make pens for Christmas presents. Jim thought that could be arranged.
Today I scored a piece of Michigan (eastern) white pine. Nothing special, right? Wrong. This is a piece of the primal old growth forest, a forest made long extinct by the double-headed felling axe and the two-man cross-cut saw. This piece of wood was cut from a log salvaged from the frigid waters of Lake Superior, where it lay suberged for more than a century.
The salvaged pine is expensive. But the pens come out beautiful, at least the one I've turned so far. Apparently, people make flooring out of it, though you'd have to be a millionaire to have your kitchen done in it. Amazingly, since pine oil is not water soluble, the heartwood is still oily and pungent even after all these years (the frigid waters of Lake Superior help too), the whole huge shop smells like Pine-Sol when you cut into the wood.In November I reminded Jim about the order and he said I had the last three billets. Well, they came the other week and were distributed today. Everyone loved them and they are quite beautiful. Look at that color after a century in the icy depths of Lake Superior!
Thank you, Jim! (Click on photo for larger.)
In case you're wondering, the pen guts use Cross refills and write beautifully.
Want your own fine Jim Wright wood creations? Check out some of the woodworking entries at Stonekettle Station.*** Or check out Jim's new Stonekettle store on Etsy. He put up 18 pens today for a start -- none of them with the old growth wood. mind you -- and 13 of them have sold.
*** - You're put on notice that reading Stonekettle Station is likely to cause explosive laughter, awe or fits of apoplectic rage. As my friends have learned, Do NOT Read Stonekettle Station while eating or drinking.