The gnarled rhododendron branches you see above are what I call neighborwood. On my walks around my neighborhood I often find piles of pruned branches or, in this case, the remnants of a large rhododendron that had been cut down. The neighbors are happy to have it taken away, and I’m happy to have it.
The qualities of rhododendron wood and it’s tendency to grow with many crooks, earned it and its relatives, such as mountain laurel, the nickname “spoonwood.” The biggest branches of this neighborhood rhododendron were five or six inches across.
As I split out some spoon blanks, the curl in many of the pieces showed up.
I roughed out several blanks, then bagged them and put them in the freezer.
Another person in the neighborhood was very upset that she had to have her Norway maple (Acer platanoides) removed, but I’ll at least try to give some of it a new life.
In fact, I split a couple pieces. What a beauty.
It’ll have to wait a couple weeks. I’m going to be seeing Barn soon, which reminds me about his new book. I’ve read every word of it, and I highly recommend it. It’s a wonderful introduction to green woodcraft and would be encouraging and inviting to anyone thinking about getting started. It’s full of confidence building projects like this useful wooden clip (below), all described clearly and with plentiful photos and illustrations.
All of the projects are organized around central skills such as knifework and axework. As skills develop, the book features more challenging projects like this chair:
And here are a few new bowls that, along with a few spoons, will be traveling with me to Spoonfest and Taljfest.
This little hen is a small (a little under 8″ long) version of this one with a few twists.
A maple bowl, about 15 inches long.
And a new cherry eating bowl design. Nice to cradle in one hand. With flutes that wrap in a wavy pattern around the exterior, and a squarish hollow that is steep and deep.
I should have some incredible things to share with my next post. I’m going to be like a kid in a candy store.