Several years ago, we had a major wind storm come through our neighborhood and took down some of the trees. Our neighbors, the O’Neals, had a large post oak blown down and because of its large diameter and straight trunk, I decided to get it. Well, I was not very well prepared to do so since all I had was my Ford Expedition so I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a large chain, attached it to the log, and drug the log across the street to our driveway. The trunk set there for over a year before I found out that Dr. Chester, one of our friends from Aggie Baseball, had a saw mill. Dr. Chester came and got the trunk, sawed it into planks, and I put the planks in the garage to dry where they have been being stored and generally in the way for years now as I tried to decide what to do with them. It is rather hard to get excited about post oak wood when you have been working with first hard maple and now African mahogany!
With Jackie’s weaving, she uses wooden shuttles to take the fiber through the vertical trends on her loom (I am way over my head right now), and I had made her some additional shuttles to use a couple of months ago. This weekend, she asked me to make her some longer shuttles as she was working on the widest project to date on her loom, and the existing shuttles were not long enough to allow her to weave very comfortably. I told her I would make her some longer shuttles and decided to do this while she was out of town on Sunday.
As I looked at what wood to use for making the shuttles, I saw these post oak planks in my garage and decided to see how they would work. I picked one out that was fairly straight and began running it through the planer. When I got it planed on both sides, I ripped into smaller pieces to allow easier resawing on the band saw and then I planed the individual pieces until I got them to about 1/4 inch in thickness (the smallest setting on my planer). This plank had some spalting in it, which is a fungus that does add character to the piece. After about four hours, I had three finished, messed up one of them so I will make a shorter one later, and have roughed out four others for future use. I am getting better at doing this, and it may be cheaper to just purchase them from a weaving supplier, but both of us on into doing things by hand these days, which adds a tremendous amount of satisfaction and accomplishment to our lives.
By the way, those boards that I kept thinking about throwing away ever so often produced wonderfully looking shuttles. There is some analogy to this story about outward and inward appearances, but I will let someone else post about that.