Garden bench from reclaimed redwood lumber
My big project over the latter part of winter was this outdoor bench made from reclaimed redwood. The lumber for the bench came from an older, weather-beaten bench that had been exposed to the elements for 20+ years.  When I realized the bench was made from relatively expensive and rare redwood (possibly old-growth), I decided it […]

Reclaimed Redwood Bench

A grove of black and white oaks approaching harvest-able size
My brother John and I took advantage of an unseasonably warm mid-March day to go for a nice long hike in the woods near where we grew up in the mountains of eastern PA. As I am wont to do, I found myself examining various trees along the way, identifying them by species, considering why certain trees are growing […]

A Walk in the Woods

Cutaway view of carpenter bee tunnels in redwood lumber
When I reclaimed the lumber from an old redwood bench, I knew there were carpenter bees taking up residence in the wood but I had no idea how many – and how much damage they had caused. Boy, was I in for a surprise! The only external evidence of the bees was neat 1/2″ diameter […]

Carpenter Bee Damage

Burl on cherry tree with 1-gallon can for perspective 1
While out looking for wild blueberries, I came across a wooded grove containing a number of trees with unusual growths on them. I’ve seen such growths before but never this many in such a tight cluster. I felt like I was walking into an alien forest… As best I can tell, these growths are burls rather than […]

The Gall of Those Burls

Could American chestnut be the wood of choice for future generations of woodworkers? Well, I’m not quite ready to make that prediction but there is reason for optimism. As some of you may know, chestnut was one of the dominant tree species in the eastern forests of North America a hundred years ago. It’s estimated that in the early […]

American Chestnut – Down But Not Out

Sycamore display case made from a single board
While at the lumber yard picking out some wood for a bygone project, I came across some sycamore with an awesome grain pattern that really caught my attention. On impulse, I bought a single board of the sycamore figuring that I would find something to make from it. After watching it collect dust in my […]

Sycamore Display Case

This rather unassuming chunk of wood represents the initial stages of an abstract wood sculpture that is being crafted by my friend Rich. The wood came from a white oak tree that had been cut down 3-5 years previously and had been slowly air drying in a garage since then. My involvement with the project […]

Wood Sculpture

My dad added a porch to our house back in the 1970’s and I must say he did a pretty good job overall. Especially for someone who wasn’t a professional builder or carpenter. However, there was one critical flaw in the construction: the main sill plate running across the front of the porch was made […]

When Wood Goes Bad

As woodworkers, we use wood to build beautiful furniture and other objects. But wood does have a dark side: it can be harmful to our health. Trees contain toxins in the bark, fruit, sap, wood, and foliage but for the majority of woodworkers, exposure to the wood and, in particular, wood dust is the primary […]

Wood Dust Health Hazards

Oak table top with scalloped corners
After discovering an old dilapidated Singer sewing machine in the upstairs storage area of my dad’s garage, I decided to “repurpose” it as a table. The original wooden work surface of the 100+ year old machine was badly warped and discolored due to water damage so I made an executive decision to replace it with […]

Scalloped Corners

Here is a collection of miscellaneous tips to help you be a more eco-conscious woodworker: Dust control Controlling the dust in your shop not only improves the quality of the air you breath but also makes it easier to collect sawdust for mulch and other eco-pursuits. Poor dust collection can lead to health problems that […]

Eco-Woodworking Tips

Homasote panels
No, we’re not talking about unseasoned lumber. In this case, “green” refers to reconstituted wood products that have recycled content, low toxicity or other eco-friendly qualities. These products include formaldehyde-free composite wood panels, bio-panels made from agricultural fibers such as sunflower hulls, wheat straw, and sugar cane fiber, arsenic-free pressure-treated lumber, engineered structural wood, and […]

Green Wood Products

FSC certified wood
As a woodworker, you can do your part to support environmentally responsible sustainable forestry practices by purchasing certified woods. Certified woods come from “well-managed” forests in which the long-term health of the total forest ecosystem is emphasized – the trees, under-story plants, water resources, wildlife habitats, recreational pursuits, and employment opportunities for local communities. A […]

Certified Wood

Reclaimed barn lumber
Reclaimed, rediscovered, recovered, recycled, and reused are terms that refer to wood that has been given a new lease on life. The category includes: 1) timber recovered from river beds, lake bottoms, swamps, and the forest floor; 2) wood previously used in industrial mills, warehouses, barns, homes, boats, wine tanks, railroad ties, fences, furniture, and […]

Reclaimed Wood