A Burly Shelf for Christmas

One of my favourite things to do is to go home to my mom’s place in beautiful Hope, BC, and snoop around in my dad’s old woodpile searching for treasures. Last Christmas we spent a few days there when I discovered a sort of triangular shaped chunk of wood. It was covered in dirt, bark, spider webs, and chainsaw marks. At first glance I wondered why this was piece was there. It wasn’t in the burn-in-the-wood-stove-pile, but rather in the I-could-use-this-someday-pile, so I figured there must be some potential that Dad saw in it. He always had an eye for potential.

I lugged the piece inside and made a few passes over one of the flatter sides with a #4 Stanley hand plane. What I saw got me excited. I spent a few more hours in Dad’s old workshop working over the piece, truing up the two flat sides to get a 90 degree angle and level sides. Then I took the piece home after Christmas, where I worked on it for the past year between commission carvings. It truly became a labour of love as I peeled back the bark to reveal some amazing art work by the Creator.

After many hours of work with hand planes, cabinet scrapers, wire brush wheels and dental picks, I lightly sanded it and prepared it for finishing. I chose my favourite finish for projects like this: Lee Valley Tools Tried and True Original Wood Finish, which is a mixture of raw linseed oil and beeswax. After 5 coats of this, hand-rubbed and buffed between each coat, here is the finished product:

Burl Shelf underside
Burl Shelf underside
Burl Shelf
Burl Shelf

Isn’t the wood amazing? It positively glows!

This shelf is a red cedar burl. It is approximately 19 inches wide by 8 inches deep and about 9 inches tall. It is currently hanging on the wall in my home, but it is for sale (shh, don’t tell my wife!). Please feel free to contact me by email if you would like it: gvmcmillan@gmail.com

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