Thursday, May 3, 2018

An illustrated day, or pecans and pears grow on trees

First off, there was a sunrise:

The air is still very dry which leaves us with slim pickin's for sunrise pictures. I am having to water some trees I recently transplanted and it would be nice to get some rain. 

Guy I have known for 25 years called and said he had a pear log. A tree that he had planted 30 years ago died and he had to cut it down and then he gave me the resulting log, pictured on the left below. Also pictured is a pecan log that another guy delivered to my house earlier this week. I ripped both logs and perhaps one can tell that the pear was freshly cut and the pecan log has been drying for months. It is so dry that even the insects have moved on.

Because fruit wood is prone to splitting, checking, cracking and otherwise falling apart I have taken a piece of it and rough turned a 10" bowl which I am currently drying in my microwave. I used a Makita right angle grinder on it to start smoothing it out, then sanded it down to - wait for it - 60 grit!

I will continue to nuke it and sand it intermittently and see what happens. Who knows, it might become a nice bowl. It could happen.

Then we had a nice sunset.

But that's not what I am here to talk about. The pear tree guy had grown up in Tokyo and as I ripped the log using my Stihl 088 with a 36" bar and square filed teeth the saw produced a big pile of long stringy shavings unlike the square chips that cross cutting produces. Seeing that pile of thin shavings took him back to Japan and he told me some stories about how they used to collect the long, uniformly thin shavings produced by Japanese craftsmen using Japanese pull planes.

Since he and his siblings were mere yutes they would put those long curly shavings on their heads and wear them like wigs. He really liked the pear chips because they reminded him of growing up in Japan so he grabbed a bucket out of his truck and filled it up with pear wood shavings. Who knows, they may be his latter day wig at this point.

Then he traveled further in down memory lane and talked about the Ise Grand Shrine located in Ise. What are the odds, right? Anyway, he told me that every 20 years the shrine is taken apart and completely rebuilt. And he was there for one of those events - must have been 60 years ago, he's in his early 70s, so that works.

What that process means is that the building is tied to antiquity and also brand new. Don't ask, it's a Japanese thing - their ideas about originality and authenticity are very different than ours. Kind of like the story of George Washington's hatchet - replaced the head twice and the handle three times, but by golly, it's the same one he used to chop down the cherry tree.

One benefit of this process is that every 20 years a new crop of carpenters learns the ancient ways of shrine building. I can't even imagine what an honor that must be.


windbag said...

Great video. Superb musicians. What's with the guy playing the flute backwards? I'm a Southpaw, but it never occurred to me to play a flute backwards. It just ain't right.

ndspinelli said...

Sixty, I don't know if you heard, but the past 5 or so years, many MLB players have switched to maple bats. They think the ball travels farther than w/ ash. The problem is they splinter more. Manufacturers claim they are improving on the splinter problems, although anecdotally I still see a lot of bats shattering. The newest innovation is Axe Bats. They are maple bats w/ custom made axe handles. They have several MLB players using and loving them. The company is in Renton, WA.

Sixty Grit said...

If you ax me that ain't right!

The rules of MLB say that the bats have to be made out of a single piece of wood. A bat made out of laminated wood would be much stronger. They would switch to aluminum before they would allow that, and who doesn't love the sound of a solid shot off an aluminum bat - ping!

A properly weighted carbon fiber composite bat would be nearly indestructible, but TRADITION!

Windbag - I am with you - I am left handed but that sh*t is just wrong!

ndspinelli said...

There would be dead pitchers and crippled 3rd basemen if they ever went w/ aluminum bats. I HATE the sound of aluminum and LOVE the sound of wood. I have listened to the sound of great hitters crushing baseballs. The pitch of the sound is different w/ great power hitters. I'm horrible w/ music but it's just a sharper "crack" and higher pitch. I've heard the crack from greats like Mantle, Killebrew, Jackson, Frank Thomas, and more. But the most startling sound was made by Richie Allen when he played for the White Sox. I had sneaked down to seats about 10 rows from home plate. So, I had a better vantage. There wasn't a big crowd so you could hear it better. Everyone jumped in their seats like they had been shot. This was before they measured homers but it went out in left center field in the blink of an eye. Allen used a 44 oz bat, one of the biggest ever used and it was like a broom handle to him.

Sixty Grit said...

I have a Lou Gehrig signature model bat, made by Hillerich and Bradsby, it is stamped "Special Services U. S. Army" above the signature and I think my father found it in a thrift shop sometime post WWII. My point is - it weighs a freakin' ton. It is ash, as were many of the bats I used to turn.

One of my favorite parts of the baseball hall of fame was seeing the bats that the old timers used - they had to provide their own bats and if they broke one that was money out of their pocket. So their bats barely tapered. But they never broke, so there is that.

deborah said...

Beautiful bowl, reminds me of a peach pit in texture.