extraordinary, wonderful, amazing material. The Senior Cat loves it with a passion. He has taught his children to love it too.
His big woodworking days are over. He no longer makes conjuring apparatus for magicians. We are trying to work out a way of him using his small lathe safely. (He needs to be sitting down these days.) Still, his passion for timber has not diminished.
His passion for timber is like mine for yarn. Only our passion for words is greater. So, he was very interested when I came home with something very precious yesterday.
I had been to an Open Day at the local hand knitting guild. One of the reasons for going was that I knew someone who made items from timber was supposed to be there - and he was. I wanted, if possible, to get a present for someone who has been extraordinarily generous to others. We can't possibly hope to pay her back but, if I could find what I was looking for, then we can give her something special.
Yes, yes he was there! I had handed out various things that I had come to give other people and then I prowled into the other room. His little stall was just inside. He was talking to someone else. It made no difference. My paw went out. Yes again! It was just the sort of thing I was looking for - practical and not too difficult to post but still a work of art.
I know Huon Pine when I see it. The Senior Cat still has some Huon Pine in his workshop. It is recycled. He rescued it when a shop was being refitted. (He happened to be passing at the time - one of those serendipitous moments in life.)
Huon Pine is a soft creamy golden yellow colour. It is so fine grained that it works to a silk like finish in the hands of a good craftsman. It grows at the rate of less than a millimetre a year. Anything made from Huon Pine is likely to have come from a tree thousands of years old. Huon Pine is one of the rarest and most beautiful timbers there is to be had. It may not not be felled any more. Anything you buy made from Huon Pine must come from recycled timber.
There was very little made from it on the stall. I had known there would not be and consider it my great good fortune to have found anything at all.
While I was waiting I talked to someone else who was looking at his work. Huon Pine, blackwood, silky oak, ebony, blackheart sassafras, red gum and more...I can recognise them and explained to her what she was looking at. Yes, she loved the Huon Pine as much as I did but it wasn't the colour she was looking for so she chose ebony - as dark as Huon Pine is light.
The stall holder finished talking to his other customer and turned to me. He knew that I knew what I was holding. We chatted briefly about it. I handed over the money for it and for two other small items that will go towards making special items to be raffled off for charity. They were made from silky oak and ebony, also lovely timbers. He doesn't charge much, not nearly enough. He says he just does it because he enjoys the challenge in retirement.
I am thankful that there are people who want to do such things in retirement.