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Woodworkers have a slightly different definition of normal than the rest of the world. Keeping special pieces of wood for a long, long time falls into that category. A little more than seventeen years ago, I picked up a bunch of cherry at an unbelievable price. But that’s another story, and another symptom. Within that pile were some boards that looked like they were infested with bugs or covered with mold, odd little dark spots on the surface of the rough lumber. I first thought it wasn’t any good, but when I got around to surfacing some I discovered I was now the owner of some bird’s eye Cherry.
The problem was that I didn’t have very much of it, and I couldn’t decide what to make with it. So I kept it. And I moved it. These boards have been moved from upstate New York where I bought it to Columbus, Cleveland, back to Columbus and four years ago here to Cincinnati. I haven’t had a good place to keep it, so it has been in the way in my garage and I have had to step over the pile every time I take the garbage out.

Finally this summer I brought one piece into the shop and cut off the end to make a handle for a Gramercy Dovetail Saw kit. I then spent the rest of the summer and most of the fall defending the remaining piece from my shop mates when they were looking for some Cherry.

At long last, the ideal project arrived and it will use the last of this stash, maybe with enough left over for another saw handle or a few chisel and rasp handles. It’s been fun to work with this and it will look a lot nicer in the living room than out in the garage. Of course when I moved the pile of Cherry out, I discovered a cardboard box labeled “Exotic Scraps”. Someday they will be good for something.

–Bob Lang

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Showing 5 comments
  • Neil

    Rob P said:Please let me assure you that this behavior is perfectly normal.
    Wait, it is, isn’t it? I mean, I hope it is. I mean, gee, I do that.

    I’m with ya Rob P…….from the Craft Faire days, still have a reasonable amount of wormy chestnut from Black Mountain, NC……was a super selling material, been carrying it around since 1982. Can’t bring myself to use it…..yet!!!

  • Rob Porcaro


    Please let me assure you that this behavior is perfectly normal.

    Wait, it is, isn’t it? I mean, I hope it is. I mean, gee, I do that.

    Happy woodworking…


  • David

    If you look long enough, there are some real oddities out there in lumber world. A friend of mine has a couple of pieces of something highly unusual – curly gabon ebony. He only discovered it when he made a pair of winding sticks out of some of it, and an oil finish was applied. When held in the correct orientation to the light source, the side of his sticks look like a midnight version of a classic Gibson Les Paul. So far, I’ve been unable to convince him to sell me any of it. 😉

  • Mike siemsen

    I have a box like that next to one labeled "String to short to save"

  • Chris C

    I cringe every time I throw a scrap of wood away. But
    I found a new way to justify almost every little
    incidental scrap: wood turning! Now that I have a lathe
    I keep almost everything because I can make SOMETHING
    out of it eventually. :->

    when I built my shop, it was part of a kit(it is a metal
    building) and the hardware and doors came in a huge
    crate made of eastern white pine. I considered tossing it
    as it had a lot of wear and tear from being outside, shipping,
    etc. Then I cleaned up one board and it looked great. That
    50 bd ft of crate is still on my wood rack 5 years later.
    I’ll figure out something to do with it.


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