Two barrels

at 30 gallons apiece, plus the beautiful wisps on the floor from hand planing, and the pile that spilled when I waited too long to empty the dust collector. That’s a lot of shavings, especially considering that they came from just three planks of fine Pennsylvania black cherry–how can there be anything left?

Three days ago they were sequential flitches – stout planks the full width of the tree, like slices of a carrot going the long way.

A day of looking, hoisting, flipping, composing, squinting to see growth rings, grain graphics, curl orientation. Another two days of milling: commitment anxiety before the first cut on the bandsaw, brute strength pushing a 16″ wide cut over the jointer, wondering whether THIS planer pass will finally remove the last sawmill marks (please…), the whisper of a freshly sharpened plane on the edge joints.

The shavings have gone out to the yard for mulch, lots and lots of mulch–surely there can’t be much left of those 3 big flitches. But there they are: a 7′ long dining table top with a gentle herringbone-patterned curl, ready for glue up. Much has been taken away, but much has also been put in.

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