Dale's Woodturning Dale's Woodturning
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About the Wood

 
  Most of the wood used for my bowls, pepper mills and other hand crafted items come from trees that have fallen during storms or removed for other reasons, including disease, over growth, land development, or just a nuisance, and are destined to become firewood, landfill or are chipped for mulch and landscaping.

I spend a lot of time gathering the woods I use for my hand crafted items.  My friends and family are always on the lookout for down trees.  Another good source of wood is landscaping and tree cutting services as well as recycling centers.
 

General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Prayer Tree

  Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree A tree that was present at the encampment of Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s army near Middle River in June 1862 has succumbed to disease and time.  The towering white oak that was known locally as Jackson’s Prayer Tree toppled to the ground overnight May 27, 2011.

Jackson's army had just completed a string of five military victories, including the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, in roughly a month that spring. According to the diary of Jackson's mapmaker, Jedediah Hotchkiss, the general attended a religious gathering on June 15 during the encampment.  A local legend sprouted that Jackson attended the prayer meeting under the tree, leading to its moniker.

The estimated 350 year old tree stood proudly at the edge of a farm field near Mt. Meridian in Augusta County, Grottoes, Virginia, owned by Warren E. (deceased) and Catherine M. Wilkerson now descended to Donna (Wilkerson) Miller and her husband Kenny.  The disease weakened historical oak was brought down by high winds on May 27, 2011. The wood was donated by the family to preserve the historical significance of the tree.
 
 
Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree The Woodturner's of the Virginias (WoVA) is leading an effort to give the massive tree a second life as wooden pens, boxes, bowls, platters and other items.  Some of the proceeds from the sale of items will benefit veterans and historic preservation. The tree's owners, the Miller family, agreed to allow WoVA to have the wood so the tree could be used in a meaningful way.  "This is the right thing to do," Donna Miller said.

Cutting the tree into usable pieces is expected to take some time.  At its uprooted base, it measures 7 feet long and 9 feet wide and one branch measured 19 inches in diameter.  The trunk, above where large branches had spread, measures 12 feet 9 inches in circumference.
 
Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree Members of the Woodturner's of the Virginias (WoVA) and Central Virginia Woodturners (CVW) cutting the main trunk of the tree into usable pieces.  This requires a large chain saw.  The 42" bar just barely reaches the center of the tree.  The wood will be made available to WoVA and CVW members who wish to participate in the SJPT project.
 
As a member of the Woodturner's of the Virginias (WoVA), I'm proud to participate in this project to preserve the historical significance of this tree for future generations.   In order to preserve the authenticity of items made from this tree, a card will be included with each item designating that this wood came from the "Stonewall" Jackson Prayer Tree and will include a brief history of the tree.
 

Osage Orange (Bois D’Arc, Bodark or Hedge Apple)

  Osage Orange Logs This is an Osage Orange tree that was removed during the restoration of an 18th century mansion in Culpeper County, VA.

Osage Orange (Bois D’Arc, Bodark or Hedge Apple) is a very hard and decay resistant wood.  It was used by the Osage Indians to make bows and was widely planted in hedge rows during the dust bowl to control wind erosion.

Osage Orange turns easily on the lathe when green but becomes more of a challenge when it dries.  It sands wonderfully, and produces a high polish when sanded resulting in a beautiful finish.  A lot of beautiful bowls and pepper mills in these logs....
 
  Osage Orange Bowl This is a beautiful candy/nut bowl made from the wood of the osage orange logs above.  I've made several pepper mills, pen and pencil sets as well as several other items from the wood.  



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