50 board feet of red elm has found its way into the studio. These three planks pictured below have very straight grain and I can't wait to find a project that can use this amazing wood. I purchased the planks from a local sawyer who specializes in milling and drying locally harvested logs. He takes great care in milling these special trees and it's an honor to check them into the 'wood library' here at Studio Tupla.
Finding local wood hasn't been as easy as I think it should be. There's plenty of wood in the area, but I've found that sawyers ready and willing to mill the thicker planks needed for my type of work are few and far between. Most of the local wood gets milled at 4/4 thickness and finds its way into the larger production shops. What I seek is a wood consultant, you might say; someone who looks out for you as the logs come into the mill and, knowing your work, will think to give you a call when those special planks appear. Exotic woods, too, have found their way into my studio, but as I connect with more and more local sources, I feel like everyone and everything on the planet breathes a sigh of relief.
Of course, I couldn't wait to see the inside of the plank, so I tuned-up my block plane and made a few passes over the rough surface. This revealed the sweet, mellow color and straight grain of the red elm as you can see in the center of the image below.
I'm not really sure where these planks will lead me, but I'm thinking this elm would make a great bench or stool. Below you can see that I cut off a short section of the edge on one of the planks to simulate cutting two sides of a leg with the end grain running at 45 degrees. I found that the ash-like qualities of the open-pored grain, combined with the darker mellow tones of the wood in general, would make for some nice bench legs. The rift-cut faces of this mocked-up leg worked very nicely with the hand plane, and I think will work equally well with a spokeshave. For now, these planks are resting quietly in the wood library. Their time will come.