Yesterday, I was carving the flutes in a walnut bowl and I started thinking about what a big role smell plays among the pleasures of working with wood. As I savored the rich aroma of the walnut, I thought of a photo I stumbled upon a few months ago while leafing through an old Time-Life book. The photo was of a man taking simple delight in the odor of a truffle. It struck me enough that I made a little sketch of it then.
I don’t know about truffles, but I can identify with that guy when I’m carving. Most species have a distinct odor, and woodworkers come to recognize them and, often, associate them with memories. Whether it’s the sweet almond extract scent of fresh cherry, the tangy vanilla of white oak, the spiciness of sassafras, or some other wonder, I hope you get to take a whiff this weekend.