Windfalls and Wheelbarrows

Close one! An uprooted maple tree beside the new shed.

High winds blew over a lot of trees in our area in two separate episodes recently. The tall maple in the photo stood strong in round one but was toppled in the second. Fortunately, it missed the shed — just. However, it did strike a direct blow on the wheelbarrow. It’s under there somewhere.

The shed, made by a craftsman, Edward, up the road, was constructed from local hemlock lumber sawn by his brother. No time for me to do it, and it’s a solid shed with windows on the opposite side. I’ve already got boards and other bits of wood stored in there, along with garden tools and other gear.

I’ve cut up the upper parts of the tree, but there may be some useful woodworking wood in the lower trunk section. It’s out of the way and up off the ground. I’ll leave it there for now.

Most of the limbs and branches will join the firewood that I’ll be restacking

In the neighboring woods, there were plenty of other windfalls, including some nice green cherry branches that I’ll be able to use. The tree above is anything but green, and I felt bad for the woodpeckers when I saw it. More work for them this spring I guess. I was exploring the old nest cavities a bit when a piece on the ground caught my eye.

This chunk snapped off when it hit the ground. I think there may be some sort of a bird in there.

The wood of that piece is surprisingly solid. I’m sure it has been standing dead for at least a few years. I cut across some of the end grain with a sharp gouge to help identify the species. R. Bruce Hoadley’s classic book Identifying Wood can be very helpful with excellent photos and detailed descriptions. So, I got out my copy and confirmed (I think!) that this is American Elm. Notice the latewood pores arranged in thin wavy bands. This is most clear in the photo within that darker growth ring a little to the right of my dark pencil line.

Anyway, I’ve got this bit of elm in the shop now where I can see it and think a bit more before digging in sometime. Some other pieces to finish up first, and soon.

After I cut up the upper part of the tree, it became clear that my old wheelbarrow might need a major chiropractic adjustment. It had was leaning upside down over the edge of my outdoor workbench. The workbench is still solid. I couldn’t help but think of William Carlos Williams. So, this is just to say that

So much depends


A black wheel


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15 Responses to Windfalls and Wheelbarrows

  1. Michael O’Brien says:

    Nice story David. Thanks. You have some potential bowls in that tree I think. And your wheelbarrow needs a handle transplant, or I would bet you could make one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rlmlsimmons says:

    Are there bowl blanks hidden


  3. francedozois says:

    and you know your Williams–great

    Liked by 1 person

  4. francedozois says:

    and now you can get a red one–


  5. Skip Florey says:

    Yes, truly a windfall! I think that there is a treasure trove of future projects in the pile of wood. I’m sure the wheelbarrow can be repaired.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Steve Dee says:

    Must admit I have shed envy

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Steve Winkelman says:

    What a nice shed! So glad it was spared. I’ve been looking into getting one built. A shed like rhat would cost a fortune in Colorado. Not to mention that you couldn’t get one made out of hemlock.


  8. Close call on the new shed. I’d sacrifice 10 wheelbarrows over that beautifully crafted shed. Whew! Does the density of the maple present any bowl/spoon carving challenges, as compared to cherry?


    • Dave Fisher says:

      Depends on what type of maple, Chris. There’s a significant difference in hardness between, say, sugar maple, red maple, and silver maple. One of the biggest bowls I’ve made was maybe 15 years ago from sugar maple, and I’m not about to do it again. Significantly harder than the softer maples and cherry. Red maple seems to me to be much like cherry. Silver maple is a bit softer, but still plenty firm enough to wear well for spoons and bowls.


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