I figured that the new shop should have a fine door that speaks to what goes on inside. Sometime around 1992, I acquired some walnut from an old woodworker in Pleasant Grove, UT. The walnut had grown in his yard, and he’d had it sawn into 12-quarter planks. Well it’s 2008, and that walnut was still waiting for a project so it has found its new purpose. It’s been a rewarding project. I haven’t applied woodworking skills at this level of fussiness for quite some time.
I like to make a connection to the wood I am working. That connection is always special when the wood has both a story from the inside and from the outside. Wood, of course, is a contankerous medium. It always has a story to tell from the inside, and sometimes it expresses itself at the worst possible moment … almost always when you ask it to do something it didn’t want to do! But on the other hand the wood may also have a story from the outside. And that’s the case here. I wish I could remember Stan’s last name, but after 16 years, it does escape me. He was a member of my barbershop chorus, and about 80 at the time. He’d reached the point that he realized his stash of walnut was probably not going to be used by him. He was pleased to pass it on to me (and accept whatever cash was involved at the time). But more than the cash, he was happy to see that precious walnut go to a fellow who would appreciate it. Some of it went into bench top for an organ bench at the ML Bigelow organ shop where I was working as a craftsman at the time. Stan — the musician — was excited to hear about that. I have a feeling he’d also be mighty happy to see his walnut in this woodshop door.