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Monday, February 22, 2010

Rustic Fencepost Weed Pots

In the last week or two I've been turning some rustic weed pots (vases for dried materials) from weathered old fenceposts and limbs of various woods.

The trick is to find pieces that have been ravaged by the elements on the exterior (hopefully deeply furrowed), but still retain a durable, attractive heartwood within.

 The first photo shows one made from Red Mulberry; it has a bright yellow heartwood beneath the grizzled surface, but in time that will slowly, gradually turn to a russet red on exposure. There will be a striking contrast between the weathered surface and the exposed heartwood over the entire color range.

I've also turned some from Cherry, and an as-yet unidentified wood that's quite pretty (second photo) (6/8/10 Update-- the "unidentified" wood is Common (or European) Buckthorn).

The most appealing to me, however, are those made from the remnants of the great American Chestnut. This once-mighty tree of the eastern forests is all but gone now, wiped out by the chestnut blight of the last century. Its legendary durability has kept a few fallen trunks lying about the forest floor, slowly crumbling away to dust. If I'm lucky enough to find any of these with enough wood intact, I make weed pots to keep their cherished memory alive. Old Chestnut fenceposts are still occasionally found in the forests here, remnants of long abandoned New England farms.

These handmade, rustic weed pots evoke a certain nostalgic feeling, particularly in those of us whose roots lie in the countryside. There's just something about the look... a rough, time-worn, weather beaten outside that speaks of the struggle and will to survive what nature (literally) throws at us; and then that bright, smooth, polished heartwood rising out of the grizzled grey, a testament to endurance! Maybe we can relate.

Some of these pots will be available for sale at http://www.timberturner.com/.

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