Open letter to all Red Oak Trees

Dear Red Oak Trees,

I think I owe you an apology. As you may or may not know, last June I received a call from a lady who told me that one of your brethren had fallen as a result of a major storm.  The caller did not know who your fallen brother was, all she was able to tell me was that he/she was a hardwood. Then she pleaded with me to take some of the “material” (please excuse the gory language), and I reluctantly agreed.

Once I saw your mighty fallen brother, it took me a while to identify him/her, but then it was obvious it was a Red Oak. To make things easier I will refer to him/her as “Red.” I really did not want to take any part of Red but I felt obligated to at least “harvest” what I could. After what seemed like hours of cutting and hauling which almost killed my chainsaw and my back, I have to admit I was not very happy, but I had fulfilled my promise.

I had a number of large chunks of Red to use for bowl blanks, and I turned a few blocks into large vessels with thick walls. Well, after five months of drying, the vessels were ready to be mounted up on the lathe for final turning. The first vessel was wildly out of round even though the walls were over an inch think. Truing up the vessel was pretty much a grueling task. Even with a really sharp tools, all my efforts were in vain, (long story), and I pretty much had somewhat of a “curse word fest” after wasting a lot of time on this vessel. The second vessel was even larger and was also so far out of round that I would never be able to true it up. Another cuss fest ensued.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Red Oak. I have used it to make five beds and a big chair, I think red oak is fine for furniture, but I am pretty sure that I will never use Red Oak for turning again.

I do regret my poor choice of words when referring to Red, I really didn’t mean it, I should have known better. I hope you will not hold this against me when I use your “product” for further furniture making.

Most sincerely,


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About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
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One Response to Open letter to all Red Oak Trees

  1. No doubt about it. When it comes to bowl and hollow turning, red oak is better left on the stump.

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