Hidden Treasures


Any woodworker worth their salt will, without hesitation, reply ‘yes’ when asked whether they’re interested in free wood.

I’m no different but like so many others, do I really need more wood… well, that’s a whole other conversation.

A tree next to my workspace finally gave up its battle against time a while ago, and as some of its branches broke, I left the trunk and some main branches intact because I’d noticed that birds like to sit on them in the late afternoon and evening, singing choruses that I enjoy as I work. And so this continued for many months; however, the inevitable arrived when the tree collapsed leaving me with a major clean-up job.

Cutting the debris into disposable pieces I noticed some interesting cross grain colouring in the trunk. Not expecting to find any wood still sound enough to work with I cut a piece in half length-wise, and much to my delight found some fantastically coloured and figured wood.

This particular specie of Pittosporum (ralphii) is normally a uniformly pale off-white timber, which has qualities of its own, but this was something special! A mixture of greys, browns, and stripes of almost black, I could only relate the colours to something like olive wood.

It just goes to show that you should never say ‘no’ to an offer of more wood, no matter how much you have because you never know what you’ll discover beneath the surface of what may, at first, appear to be wood of little value or use.

I suppose it’s much the same as life and people you meet, you should never just dismiss them according to their exterior until you look beneath the surface and see the treasures hidden within.

Fortunately for me, there ended up being a number of objects I found this wood suited to and so set off to make the most of this unexpected gem. And as for the left over wood that I couldn’t use? Our next door neighbours have an outdoor fire pit that they ignite late on some evenings and toast marshmallows with their children. Nothing goes to waste around here!

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