The Woodworking Life

The Woodworking Life

Building with Choke Cherry - Part II

comments (4) December 4th, 2009 in blogs

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
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A few coats of clear shellac, rubbed down with some 0000 steel wool reveal some potential. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

A few coats of clear shellac, rubbed down with some 0000 steel wool reveal some potential.


A few weeks ago I began the process of rough cutting and drying a few boards I pulled out of a choke cherry log donated to me by one of my colleagues at Fine Homebuilding. Since that time, the moisture content has gone down from about 30-percent, to just under 15% and I've transferred the pieces outside, to continue the drying process on a covered porch. The wood was drying way too rapidly here at the FWW shop.

Yesterday I thought I'd take one of the unusable pieces (too much nasty checking), cut it down to a nice rectangle, mill it up and shellac it. I was curious as to how this fruit wood might look with a clear coat on it. I wasn't disappointed. The beautiful waves of pink and red are quite stunning and I'm looking forward to using what few pieces I'll get from the log, as accents in an upcoming project, yet to be determined.

So, what do you think? Drawer fronts for a small cabinet, panels for a small door? I'm open to anything and would love to hear your opinions.

Read Part I

And for more on the topic of backyard lumber, be sure to check out Gus Carlson's article from issue 128.

Lumber from Your Own Backyard



posted in: blogs, milling lumber, choke cherry, drying lumber


Comments (4)

Woodman1047 Woodman1047 writes: The choke cherry wood can be used in a small treasure box. The one's I have made are 2" x 2" x 4" with a lid using small 5mm barrel hinges.
This is a wonderful way to showcase your special woods, and the treasure boxes become great gifts.
Doug Stowe has several books on the boxes he has made, and has many ideas for using small special beautiful wood pieces into something special.
Good luck.
Dave
Posted: 8:02 am on August 17th

McCanon McCanon writes: Chokecherry -- an eye popping species. In our locale, a huge trunk would be 3-4 inches in diameter. Most of the standing dead pieces curve with deep splits and have a diameter of 1-2 inches. Finding some lengths to work with, lean towards the lathe. I've turned letter openers, tree ornaments, hour glass spindles, etc. The wood color is blond to white with veining tan to nearly black. When people see something of Chokecherry, their first comment is "WOW' that's chokecherry?" I use only the standing dead. Give it try, you'll be surprised.
Posted: 2:51 pm on December 10th

DaveRichards DaveRichards writes: That's beautiful wood. My father-in-law picks choke cherries every year to make jam. I never thought about using the wood, though. I'd better not cut his favorite trees, though.

Have you thought about exposing your samples to sunlight for a few weeks? I'd be interested to know what happens to the colors with UV exposure.
Posted: 9:56 pm on December 4th

danmart danmart writes: I played around with some of this cherry and found it difficult/challenging to get some acceptable joinery to make larger sections. Like apple it seems to go best in floating panels or small pieces to highlight the interesing grain.

Don't get disappointed by the amount of unusable stuff. Take the losses and make the best of the good stuff.

dan
Posted: 7:19 pm on December 4th

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