You are met by disassembled trees, stacked and drying in the air –one year for every inch. Vertical slices, sections, a CT scan but not an image, the real thing.
You sort and sift until something catches your eye. This may be a prized burr or ripple, something ready for firewood or just “too far gone”.
You store it in the cellar under the house, wait for it to settle, watch it, smell it.
You plane each board to clean off the dirt and saw marks, waiting for an image to appear, a photograph slowly developing.
You learn the grain direction, changes, the colours emerging, areas of fragility, damage, disease; hard oak, forgiving cherry.
Ideas begin to form –vertical, horizontal, dark and light, what will stand on its own what needs support.
Damaged Goods. A series of boxes, a low table.
At the sawmill lying on the floor are several large boards of oak, quite dark, fractured, split, scarred, burr, large holes. Someone has sent it back because it was unworkable, too far gone. You buy two boards.
It is as hard as granite, blunts the plane blades, it fights and resists. My bones ache. Some small boxes appear, one, a hole goes all the way through. The last three feet has a large hole, it becomes a low table the undulations left in.
One board is still waiting.