Here's another opportunity for rescuing something from the firewood pile. It is not uncommon for harvested trees to have sections where the center of the tree has rotted out over time, leaving a hollow center, even though the tree might appear to be healthy (the nutrients flow in the layers just below the bark, so a hollow core does not necessarily affect the health of the tree)
These sections have no value in terms of the production of usable lumber, so they are trimmed from the saw logs before processing. But, when cut to length, and placed in a natural garden setting, they become perfect planters. This idea was first relayed to me by my brother, who operates the family lumber business, after having it suggested to him by a buyer from Terrain at Styer's.
Hardwoods such as white oak, locust, black cherry, etc. are the best options, as these species will hold up better over time. Not that they will last forever, but in most situations, they should hold up well for several years.
Obtaining and positioning the planters might be the easy part, as the selection and placement of plants is the crowning touch needed to create the finished product. These particular examples are displaying the incredible talent and vision of a master gardener.
My favorite creations have almost always started as pieces of wood or iron that have been relegated to the scrap heap, or firewood pile. A local lumber mill is a good source for interesting and unique pieces that have been removed from saw logs before being processed into usable material. Branches and weird growths are best trimmed from the logs before entering the mill. These scraps are then gathered for use as firewood
Timber harvested from the forest will sometimes have hollow sections that have little or no production value, and will therefore be removed before entering the mill. Regular visits to the pile that results from this process has produced many pieces that will eventually end up as the foundation for a new creation. This firewood pile happens to be familiar to me, as it is located on my family's lumber mill, and has offered up many treasures over the years.
It is also common to find discarded segments from areas where a large branch had broken away from the main trunk of the tree, as the growth patterns from these sections are unlikely to produce usable lumber. At the same time, these same growth patterns can produce highly figured graining, and a great start for the creative process. Last week, I came across one of these segments, cut from a red oak saw log. After slicing off only the section containing the figured graining, I will set it aside for air drying, and the chance to incorporate the piece into a future collection.
Possibly similar to this existing lamp, which started as a piece cut from a similar section of a black cherry saw log several years ago
As Tinkerer-in-Chief, I enjoy getting lost in the process of creating unique works of art from materials that would otherwise be considered to be of little or no value. Hopefully these pages will allow some visibility into this world