Monday, March 12, 2012

Cherry Tree

Last week I discovered a decent size Cherry tree out back while looking for something to chop with my new axe (more on this later).  I came upon the top of the tree, which was knocked down in the October snow storm some months ago.  When I realized what I had found, I went and fetched the chainsaw.  I cut the tree trunk down, and cut the smaller diameter branches and trunk sections (many of which were twisty and bent-good for ladles).   I cut off a section of the base of the tree and split it into planks radially.  Most of them came out fairly twisted, but the few that were quite straight I planed down one face, leaving the back axed or scrub planed roughly. 

The planks that were more twisted became axe handles.  I have a couple of nice vintage handles that are superbly elegant and feel great, but the wood in the eye was in bad shape, so they had to come out of the heads they came with.   I saved them for patterns, they've become my goal for axe handles.  Below you can see three of the four I've made up so far, I already hung one in a head.  I've tucked these away to dry out, it's good to have handles ready for when one breaks or if I get a new head.

I've made a few spoons from the Cherry so far.  It's definitely harder than Birch, I would say it's roughly as hard as the Maple I use sometimes.  This spoon I'm particularly pleased with, I feel that it's very successful in terms of visual balance and form, as well as feeling fairly elegant.

I didn't get any pictures of the rough work, cutting and splitting, but it's not too exciting to look at.  I will make sure I get some pictures of new axe though.  I'm very excited about it.  A week and a half ago I traded for a racing axe (one of the inexpensive made in China ones), and have been really pleased with it so far.  I forget at the moment, but I believe it's a 6 pound head, with a very aggressive grind.  It practically chops by itself!  It seems to prefer a slightly different technique than my other big choppers, the 3.5 Snow and Neally and the others.  Or maybe the heavier head is just forcing me to use better form...