When Neglect is Good

If you have a nice, big, pretty (and likely expensive) chunk of wood from a recently felled tree, you would probably baby it.  I’m guessing you would seal the ends, carefully sticker, and cover it in an area with good air movement.  You might check the wood every few months, monitoring the moisture content.

All this attention is for one purpose and one purpose only: to try to prevent the wood from warping, checking, staining, or rotting.  The goal is to get the wood to dry but otherwise to have it remain unchanged.

A couple of years ago I acquired some slabs of figured maple.  I stickered them on a pallet and threw on a cover.  Then I forgot about it.  Well, the cover blew off some time ago and the maple was exposed to rain.  I had discovered this a few months ago but really did not want to deal with soaking wet lumber – not only was it extra-heavy but it was slippery and likely to be hosting vile wood bugs.

So I waited a few months for a period of sunny weather to give the lumber a chance to dry out a bit.  Today, I dug though the stack and was relieved to see no rot.  But I did not expect to see this colouring.

Had I been more attentive to this wood pile, these colours likely would not have ever developed.  I hope that the colours have penetrated into the wood enough so that they don’t disappear when I surface it.  I have no idea what I will do with this piece, but it certainly is spectacular and will be used for something special.  And to think that it started out as just a short piece of ordinary maple.

3 thoughts on “When Neglect is Good

  1. Morgan,

    That’s a good idea – I should utilize my bandsaw to make this wood go as far as possible. By the way, this piece is over 2″ thick, as most of my lumber is.

    Can you imagine a bookmatch end-grain to end-grain? WOW!

  2. I had a whole pallet of European Wild Cherry get wet…. and over many months it developed a spalting that is rather attractive… Looking forward to seeing what you make of yours…

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