Out of the Woodwork: Et tu, Brute? - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Out of the Woodwork: Et tu, Brute?

 In October 2008 #171, Popular Woodworking Magazine Article Index

But a small cut may lead to thoughts of treason.
By Jeff Skiver
Page: 88

From the October 2008 issue #171
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I already have more lumber than I can use. However, I cannot seem to resist acquiring new trophy pieces. My dilemma comes from the fact I do not feel qualified to use any of my prize pieces in my work. Each time I pick up one of my “special” boards I am washed with a wave of self-doubt that echoes in my ears the message of unworthiness. I have wide Gaboon ebony. I won’t tell you how I got it; don’t even ask. Let’s just agree that

I have three pieces of Gaboon ebony. Each is 10″ to 13″ wide and 48″ long. They have the beautiful half inch of contrasting sapwood and natural edges.

It is some of the legendary Missionary Wood. You know the story. A missionary went to Africa in the 1950s. He built a church in a village, and the people wanted to pay him back. So they gave him a bunch of Gaboon ebony that they waxed and cut down to 48″ per piece (just the right size to fit in a 55-gallon drum). It sat in the missionary’s woodshop for 50 years. I was told the story by a man full of sincerity, but I couldn’t bring myself to believe the legend. I wanted to believe it, but I resisted. It didn’t matter if the story was true. The boards were beautiful, I wanted them, and I jumped at the chance to buy them. They have sat on the top level of my lumber rack for two years. I never felt worthy of them.

From the October 2008 issue #171
Buy this issue now

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