Win-win walnut

I did a favor for one of my reenactor buddies recently, and in return he mentioned he had some old lumber in his barn. If I wanted some, all I had to do was drop by.

The “old lumber” turned out to be a 7’ high stack of stickered 4/4 and 8/4/ walnut that his dad had milled. His dad, who passed away a few years ago, was an accomplished woodworker and had cut and milled that lumber decades ago. Stickered and stored in one of his barns, it was destined for projects. While he did use some, the majority of it remained stacked, where it has been seasoning for years.

Although ignored for ages, it was in fine shape. Some bird droppings on the topmost board and a mouse nest or two in between the stickering, but no rot and so little bug damage on a couple of board edges (probably left over from the tree itself) that it’s hardly worth mentioning. In short, prime, rough-cut, perfectly air-dried and seasoned walnut, just waiting to be introduced to some tools.

We loaded a dozen, maybe a dozen and a half of the 8’ boards into my car. I immediately took them home and introduced them to my tools: Tools, meet walnut; walnut, meet tools.

It’s nice to do favors for people, even when you expect nothing in return, and that was the case here. But my friend’s offer of a cache of seasoned walnut was as generous as it was unexpected. After loading up my car, he promised that once I’d gone through that bunch, I was welcome to come back for more.

I’ve got the boards stacked for now, but as soon as I get some time I’m grabbing one or two of them and making something. Whatever I make, maybe I’ll make two and give one to my friend. I think that having a project made with wood that his dad milled might be a nice thing. I’ll enjoy making it; he’ll enjoy having it. A win-win scenario if I ever saw one.

A.J.

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