Carving a Display & Serving Tray from a Walnut Slab

About a month ago I had the opportunity to meet with another Iowa maker who lives in Ankeny.  Randy with Metal Wood Creations and I met through Instagram and quickly started growing a friendship over our shared love of making and experimenting with different materials and making techniques.  So, when I was planning a trip to the area to meet with some local stores and galleries about displaying my pieces, I knew I needed to take advantage and arrange a tour of Randy’s home shop.  I greatly enjoyed spending the afternoon with Randy and seeing his metal and woodshop.  He was so generous and not only gifted me a MIG welder, but he also gifted me several smaller slabs of walnut and pecan wood.  Since then I have been eyeing them in the corner of my shop trying to decide just want to make with them. 

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From Tree to Chair: Building a Rocker with Anne of All Trades

You may or may not know about Anne of all Trades.  Six years ago she started spending as much time as she could learning to work with her hands.  As her skills evolved and her community grew, she was able to build a life and career that she loves.  She has become "Anne of All Trades" with the goal of gaining and sharing knowledge and living as an example to empower and inspire her peers to get outside, to take risks, to pick up tools and explore their own creativity.

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Wood Wine Bar

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This is a fantastic question for one little redwood slab.  This story starts with a parcel of land along the central coast of California that was owned by a family who lived in Southern California where a redwood tree had fallen.  Though the exact cause for the redwood tree’s demise was not known, it was stated by the U.S. Forest Service that when high intensity winds occur along the coastal Redwood Forest during the wettest part of the year, soils are wet and root failure is most likely the culprit.  So, it is fair to speculate that the redwood tree in question was most likely knocked down by a mighty gust of wind.  The family who owned the land never harvested any living redwood trees. However, if a tree fell on its own they would use a portable sawmill to slab out the redwood and transport it back to Southern California to sell it to woodworkers.

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Wood & Resin End Table

Imagine yourself as a nice, strong hard maple tree chilling in the backyard of a lovely ranch home in eastern Iowa.  You love your space in the backyard—watching kids run through the sprinklers beneath your branches in the summer and sledding down the hill during the winter.  As maple trees go, you have a pretty sweet life, no pun intended.  Until one day it all changes.  There is an especially wet spring and you don’t feel so good. Maybe you start feeling a little colder than normal and shiver.  Your leaves have yellow spots.  Oh please, say it isn’t so! Anything but root rot!  Not only have you come down with the rot, but a whole colony of carpenter ants has taken up residence throughout your root system, trunk, and branches.  It’s like a 24-hour ant tunnel party—all day, every day—until that fateful day when you meet your end.  You say goodbye to the nice family who has taken care of you and watch as the first limbs come down, then your trunk. All that is left —a sad, lonely stump in the ground.

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