Wednesday, June 26, 2013
A major part of my work is the search for the best reclaimed & salvaged timbers. More often than not, this timber comes from building demolition; beams, joists, floorboards, ready to be recycled and begin a new life as a table or bench. Increasingly, I am being contacted by people who have heard about a tree that is coming down, or has blown over, or dropped a huge branch. Often its by natural causes, sometimes the tree is sick, sometimes it is at the mercy of building development; we all know the drill. The loss of any tree is always sad, and it seems fitting that something useful and beautiful be done with its wood, to pay homage to its life.
An orchardist in the Adelaide Hills was removing a number of trees that no longer bear the fruit that they used to. It's a factor of farming that can be difficult to witness but the cycle of planting, growth, death and renewal is as old as civilization, and I had to remind myself that these apple trees are part of a crop, as much as tomatoes or potatoes. In any case, the farmer was keen to see if anything could be done with the wood so that it would not be wasted.
In the milky sunshine of a cold Hills winter day, with frozen toes, I salvaged some useful lengths from the fallen trees. The timber will be milled, and carefully air dried for a number of years before it can be used. Then sometime in the not-too-distant future there will sit a table, in a house, with a family around it, and that table will have started life in a sun-drenched valley in the Adelaide Hills. An homage paid.