On The Shelf, From When I Was On The Shelf

The circumstances of getting my busted hip fixed was that the break occurred at lunch time and the structural repair was completed in the middle of the following night.  I think I got back to my hospital room about 3AM in something resembling a drug-induced coma.  A close friend is an x-ray tech for a hospital and when she described how the orthopedic surgeons manipulate the hip joint to make sure the bolts are set at the right depth such that they hold the joint together but do not interfere with the joint movement confirmed the need for that level of anesthesia.  Just hearing the description of the stresses they put on the joint made me hurt.


About six hours after the repair the surgeon stopped by to see how I was doing.  Admittedly I was not in the clearest frame of mind as pain and narcotics were doing their balancing act.  Dr. H said, “I’ve got a present for your wife.  It’s something I made.  You won’t know what it is but she will probably like it.”  With that he pulled a small ornament from his pocket and held it up.

“Oh,” I said, “it’s something you made from Dalbergia tulipwood on a Rose Engine Lathe.”  That stopped him in his tracks!  Woodworking and woodturning have occupied more of our conversations than my hip ever since.  It’s not that he was inattentive to my healing, but rather that once those conversations and examinations were completed, another discussion continued on wood topics.  The beautiful little ornament now resides on the top of a bookcase in the living room along with a multitude of other treasures.

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Recently he invited me to come and look over some piles of lumber he was liquidating in his ongoing downsizing as he intends to concentrate exclusively on ornamental turning rather than general woodworking.  These were mostly a mix of walnut, including a lot of 5/4, 8/4 and 16/4, figured maple, and black cherry.  I was not especially interested in these, although I may talk myself into some of it.  If you are interested in buying this pile of vintage lumber that has been seasoning since around 1920 (he wants to sell the whole pile en toto), drop me a line and I will pass it along to him.  It is in Bridgewater, Vitginia.

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The lumber he had that I was interested in, and purchased, was some ancient mahogany.  I bought about 90 board feet, and have just the right project for it.  More about that later.