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The Pack Rat Vindicated…

So in cleaning out some stuff, my father-in-law came across these carvings that had been mounted to another board. When I queried him about them, he said he vaguely remembers that they were the arms to a chair that was rotten. When he was in junior high he cut the arms off and mounted them to this board.


He asked me if I could do something with it. It has some sentimental value as he apparently had given it to his mother as a present and she had held onto it for many years. He only found it when he was unfortunately forced to go through her stuff after she had passed away. My father-in-law is a scientist and has always expressed a fascination with the wood species Lignum Vitae. Lignum is the densest wood known, so dense that it actually sinks in water. At one point in history this wood was used for ball bearing because it is so heavy and hard.

I came across some of it on ebay and one won auction later, had a block of the stuff. I admit to being a little daunted about cutting into this stuff, but with a very steady and slow feed rate into the bandsaw, I was able to resaw it into two book matched pieces. After some brainstorming I decided that the perfect thing for my professorial father-in-law was some bookends for his office and personal cabinet of curiosities.


You can see the interesting color and figure of the lignum and once I have planed off the finish on the mounting board I realized it was walnut. This is kind of a hodgepodge project, but there is a story and a lot of history behind this simple piece. I still have to decide on a finish to put on it, but I am looking forward to presenting these to him. I’ll post a shoe once the finish process is done. Just remember the moral to this story…who know what you can make of that random piece of junk you find in the attic. It could be a treasure to someone!


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