Sometime around 1980 I borrowed a Charlie Brown book from the Greenville Public Library. Then I lost it, then found it three years later. I don’t remember if any late fees were ever paid. What a scoundrel.
This fall, I seized an opportunity for redemption as the Library sought a bench in honor of a longtime dedicated volunteer. The bench would also serve the practical purpose of offering a place for patrons to rest in the foyer.
I drew up a design and then went to my local sawyer, Lou, who came through once again. Lou Loreno and his son, John, are the kind of guys that can do anything, from restoring giant old machinery to rebuilding the foundation of a three-story barn. They also understand trees and how to transform them into sound beautiful lumber on their band mill.
Lou and John had rescued some big cherry trees that had been taken down at a construction site. They had the perfect 8/4 plank for me, 10 feet long and 18″ of clear heartwood across. The bench is 5 feet long, 18″ wide, and 18″ high. Below is a slideshow with a few photos of the bench (when it was still at our house), along with some shots I snapped during construction.
A quote from Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was selected for me to carve on the front edge of the bench. The bench top ended up at 1 3/4″ thick, so the letters are about 1 1/4″ high. In hard kiln-dried cherry, this requires more than a penknife. After drawing the letters with a pencil, I removed much of the material with a v-tool and mallet. The photo below shows the inscription after just the work with the v-tool, which goes relatively quickly. Certainly legible already, but with much attention still needed.
In the shot below the word “The” has been finished with knife and gouge, which shows the difference next to the letters still to go.
With the bench on its side and a board spanning the legs, I had a convenient rest for my tools as I carved.
It’s an honor to have been able to do the bench. I like libraries, and I’ve got lots of memories in this one, from working on (pre-internet) term papers to taking my own children there to pick out books, usually back on time.