Turning Archive

Summertime and precious trees *PIC*

Ellis Walentine
As someone noted below, our summer traffic has been lower than usual for some reason. I can't answer for anyone else, but I personally have been working on home and garden projects this summer and hardly have had time for lathe work or message posting. In my case, my lathe and tools are on the other side of the continent, so turning isn't an option, although I would dearly love to be exploring the turning possibilities of old-growth timber that abounds here in British Columbia.

I don't normally talk much about environmental issues, although I consider them exempt from our forum rules restricting posts about politics and religion. But, having mentioned old growth, I feel it is important to clarify that I do not agree at all with cutting ANY old growth trees. Our old-growth forests are the last, best buffers against greenhouse gases, and they're being mercilessly cut down, for all the wrong reasons. The lumber I'm using up here in BC is all salvaged old growth, from logs that escaped log booms 50 or more years ago and have lain untouched on beaches and in the bays of our region. In other words these incredible trees have been off the radar for a half century or more. I'm still wary of using, and therefore glorifying in a way, rare and endangered materials such as old growth wood, elephant ivory and abalone, because their beauty can encourage further depredation of these materials.

So, my answer is to use salvaged materials judiciously and waste as little as possible. Our remaining old growth forests are the last refuge of complex ecosystems that sustain biodiversity and a healthy environment.

Ellis Walentine, Host

PS Here is my neighbor sawing up a 24"-diameter old-growth yellow cedar log that he dragged from the water last week. This stuff is remarkable for turning....

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