Sunday, December 16, 2007


I'm hoping this can be a kind of show-and-tell about wood. Please feel free to comment with stories, links, photos (or send me the photos and I can add them to the main post) or questions. We can spend a week sharing bits and pieces of woodlore or news.

Bryan Anderson made this, in Colorado
Keith found the article.
(There are four other photos there at the original article, too.)

Keith has lately made a Viking game. It was a prize for a Toys for Tots tournament. More photos are here, and another couple of things Keith also no longer owns are documented somewhat on this knotwork page.

Woodgrain sample pages:
Light Woods      Red Woods
Brown Woods      Dark Woods

If you click the title it will lead to a page that will eventually be much bigger than this blog section, because I can keep adding photos and links as they come in later. I'd like to have a list there, too, of things people do with wood, so contributions to that list are welcome! Maybe brainstorm with your kids, if they're interested. My initial thoughts are: pallets, fuel, musical instruments


Deborah in IL said...

I have in my living room a walnut storage table that used to sit in the center of my grandparents front room. Before that it was a tree growing in the front yard of my great-grandmother's house. My mother remembers playing under that tree as a child. It's family history small enough to fit in our home yet big enough to hold 5 generations. My sister has a roll top desk made from oak that grew on our grandparent's farm, in the woods beside the pond.

When I was very little my dad made a kitchen set for me out of pine, following a set of plans he ordered from a magazine. It was painted pink when I got it, later my cousin had it painted avocado green, and when I reclaimed it for my own children I painted it sunshine yellow which it remains to this day. The painstakingly smoothed corners bring my dad back to life for me.

Both my children still living at home have wooden bedsteads made by their dad - one painted pine and one stained pine.

Around here, family lives in wooden furniture.

Deborah in IL said...

I love games. I love board games. I especially love my collection of wooden board games. Maybe it's the solidness of the board, or maybe the feel of the pieces, I don't know. (I've included links to some of my favorite games- Octiles, Gobblet, Quarto, Batik - I like the board game geek site because the game pages include many pictures)

Stephanie said...

Hi Sandra,
I just recently had a blog entry about what my son made.

zamozo said...

When I think about wood I think of Cedar. I'm impressed with Cedar's insect-repelling qualities. While I was growing up we had a Cedar chest in which we kept wool blankets and such - now I have it and keep our overflow of bedspreads and blankets in it.

Our 65+ year old house has its original cedar siding that we scraped and re-painted a few years ago. And finally, we lay down cedar chip mulch in our flower beds up against the house in hopes of avoiding termite interest -- but I've noticed that it stunts the growth of young plants.

Sandra Dodd said...

President Jimmy Carter is a woodworker, and wrote a beautiful article on making furniture by hand. My husband has it in a magazine somewhere. I'm finding mentions online but nothing with photos that can be read free.

I'll add furniture, boardgames and toys to the list.

Sandra Dodd said...

Oh, spoons! My spoon is still worked on sometimes. Jochen, who started it for me and showed me how to use the tools, gave me a cabinet scraper he made out of an old saw blade. VERY cool. And he gave me sand paper, and when I'm done I'll put salad bowl oil on it and *maybe* actually use it.

I'll put a newer photo of it on the wood page later, but the first night I worked on it is here:
That's me, wearing red and white; you can click it bigger.

Sandra Dodd said...

Stephanie's link:


Deborah in IL said...

Paper. Paper. Paper. There is likely more paper than anything else in my home, and nearly all of that paper is made from wood.

magazines and catalogs
toliet paper
cardboard boxes
maps and train schedules and brochures
game boards and instructions
more books :)

There are hundreds of sites online about how paper is made and the history of paper. I'm having trouble picking a favorite or two. :)

Deborah in IL said...

I've never made a wooden spoon. It looks like fun.

I love wooden spoons for cooking. I also have in my kitchen wood cutting boards that used to be my grandmother's. They're nothing special except for the memories. One of my friends has a lot of wooden bowls and platters. I don't have any because I don't take care of them well enough to make them worth keeping around.

Wood is used for the handles of all sorts of tools. I have a lot of kitchen knives, most of which have wooden handles. My favorite knife has a wooden handle smooth as silk from decades of daily use. Most of our garden tools have wood handles. And my favorite hairbrush has a wooden handle.

Ria said...

*Someday* I want to try my hand at carving a chess set. I've been thinking of it for several years, but never have got the nerve to actually get out a good knife and go at it.
My brother brought me some cedar wood once when he was doing tree work, and DH and I still remember how wonderfully it caught fire and how good it smelled. It's been three years since my dear brother died, and we still talk about the wood he brought us, probably a year or two before he died.
We talk often, actually, (DH and I) about various woods we've used for heating...the poplar that burned quickly and hot...the pine that seeped didn't want to burn...the hickory that smelled so good...

Deborah in IL said...

Theodore W Gray built a wooden Periodic Table of the Elements because he needed a conference table for his office. It's beautiful and amazing and the story with pictures is maybe even better.

Periodic Table

Sandra Dodd said...

One of my favorite things is a Chinese Checkers board I bought as a teen, at a garage sale in Colorado Springs. It's made of a framed piece of plywood with holes drilled through and lines etched. I have all the marbles that came with it, too, in the bag I made for them when I was fifteen. That game has been played a whole bunch over the years.

The only photo I have of it right now is here:, the center upper one of these:

but I'll take a better portrait picture of it and put it at

Sandra Dodd said...

Folklore and a spelling tie-in:
In a ballad called Tam Lin, the Queen of Faeries is angry with Tam Lin (a long-captured human) because he figured out how to escape just before they were going to sacrifice him. She say:

Oh had I kenned, young Tam Lin
What this night now I see
I'd've taken out thy twa grey e'en
And put in twa eyes of treen

That's nearly modern English. It's northern/Scottish and means "Had I known what I see now, I'd've replaced your own grey eyes with wooden eyes."

Unrelated to wood (as far as I know), "twa" shows why there's still a "w" in our word "two." And "treen" was the adjective form for made-out-of-tree. Gold:golden, brass:brazen, flax:flaxen, tree;treen (wood:wooden is what we use now).

Oh! And "ken" (to know) is a good clue to why the work "know" has a now-but-not-always-silent "k".

Anonymous said...

I have a book called "Music in the Wood," a photo essay written for children about the construction of a cello. It comes with a CD of the finished cello's music. Very cool ;-)

Hay said...

My girls and I live by a beach full of driftwood. People here use it for fences, in their gardens, and many local artists make sculptures along the beach for people to enjoy. We like to create with it, the girls enjoy it for props in their fantasy play. I love discovering the different shapes and colours, often we send the more quirky ones off to friends.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen Deborah Butterfield's sculptures of horses, made with found materials, including driftwood? She casts them in bronze, but they start as wood.

Sandra Dodd said...

Hay said...

Wow Felistas,
Thanks for the link. I really like this about the artist...

Butterfield works independently of the tides of trends and art movements. She has become a master of three-dimensional images of horses, building her sculptures with no sketches or maquettes, working directly with wood pieces or found metal scraps.

zamozo said...

An 11 year old friend of my daughter's carved her a wand from a wooden dowel and gave it to her for an Xmas gift yesterday. Everyone wants to hold the smooth wand and I like it's smell - the stain & varnish.

Sandra Dodd said...

That wand sounds sweet!

I disassembled an old (old) desk chair Kirby used to have, put the steel base with five wheels in Keith's "good junk" place, and brought the wooden armrests to see if he'd like to use the wood or whether we should burn it in the hot tub. He held them and smelled them and said "Nice stain job!" They went in the hot tub, but we did spend a few moments wondering what kind of wood it might be (it was light, but tingy in sound), and looking at the grain (they were very different, which never showed when they were fastened in the chair).

While you're thinking about wood, if you think of songs with the word "wood" (or wooden, or that), you might play them here: Lyrics Game on the "wood" day.

Ria said...

I've seen those horse sculptures somewhere before, seems like perhaps Ripley's Believe it or Not! book or Guiness Book of World Records. Really cool.
And the Periodic table! WOW!

moonflowerdragon said...

My first thought was a tongue-twister from my childhood: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

I remember a camphor wood chest with chinese style carving mum always used to store out-of-season linen - particularly having to dust it with Mr.Sheen - those darn carvings.

I'd like to build a new wooden booken shelf for my paperbacks - I love organic-oiled pine.

Silvia said...

I'm wondering if anyone's done much with wood-burning kits. Any photos to share of projects they've done?

Katy said...

For christmas my mom had my broken gas log removed from my fireplace, so that I can burn wood in it. I grew up with a fireplace, and nothing feels cozier and more like home to me than a burning fire. I didn't think that it would do much for heating my house, as the house is long and the fireplace is at one end. I didn't care, I just wanted to be able to have a fire. As it turns out though, the fire moves the air from one end of the house to the other, making the furnace heat the house better! Cool!
There is a picture of it here.

Sandra Dodd said...

Katy, that's wonderful! Thanks for the link. We have a fireplace in a room that's enclosed by all the rest of the house--a room without an outside wall (kind of---there's outside right behind the fireplace, but the chimney also touches on three other rooms' walls (hard to describe; sorry). I like gathering wood and splitting it and I like cleaning out the ashes.

Sandra Dodd said...

Wood to Joy a connections trail starting with this "wood" topic! On the Moonflowerdragon blog.

Rinnyboo said...

My brother died last February and one day last spring my husband and I were driving in North Georgia and saw the sign for Sleepy Hollow Enterprises so I said, "Stop there!" and we did.

My brother loved old horror movies and stories and he and a friend had written a musical adaptation of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" ( Having recently lost him and knowing he would have stopped there himself I was really interested in Sleepy Hollow Enterprises.

What I found completely blew me away. There were all sorts of handcrafted, whimsical wooden fairy houses, playhouses, and creatures.

So, for me my brother's death is tied in with wood and whimsy and a serendipitous drive in Young Harris, GA.

Rinnyboo said...

Ugh. I just figured out how to make a weblink in a comment section so here are the links I was trying to share: Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Pixi House

Woodland Lodge

Day dreamer

Sleepy Hollow Enterprises

Sandra Dodd said...

Rinnyboo, I came in to make links and saw you already had. I followed them, and read about your brother (I'm sorry to hear he died, but I'm glad you brought him here for the rest of us to know about).

I thought "American Fork Arts Council" was a typo or a joke, so I looked it up and learned some things I didn't know! Cool!! American Fork Arts Council, which is in the old city hall building of American Fork, Utah.

I figured "folk arts council" made sense, but "fork arts" was WEIRD. I knew about Draper and Orem and Moab, but I had never heard of American Fork.

Rinnyboo said...

Yeah, American Fork is a real place name. My grandpa was actually born there and his family owned a ranch. I didn't even think of the possibility of it sounding like a joke since it is so common to me! It is funny when you think about it though.



Related Posts with Thumbnails