Firewood Treasures

Black Cherry
(Prunus serotina)

When we looked for a wooded lot for our home in Woodsboro, Maryland, a pine-covered ridge seemed the ideal spot. Once our dream home was built, we turned our attention to cleaning out all the poison ivy, multi-flora rose, and “grapevine” that covered much of the property. Once this task was completed, we discovered that, scattered among our many white pines, were a number of medium-sized black cherry trees. What a bonus!

For some reason, our neighbor, who, like us, had paid premium price for a wooded lot, decided that he did not want trees on it! One 40 year old cherry stood just on his side of our mutual property line. Returning home one evening, I discovered that he had taken a chain saw to it. After a bit of pleading, I was able to rescue the trunk before he hauled it away to the landfill. Given that it was a fairly small tree, about 10” in diameter, I doubted it would have much heartwood, but I hated to see it go to waste. Happily, I was wrong, there was a good 8” of rich red heartwood at the core. Now seasoned for almost 10 years, this tree has provided me with a marvelous source of raw material for miniature turnings. The initial, characteristic pinkish brown of the freshly cut wood, over the years, ages to the rich copper tones of mature cherry. So, be patient, the final product is well worth the wait!

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