One afternoon at the school wood shop at Santa Fe Community College, one of the instructors shouted out, “Mark, what kind of wood do you have on the work bench? Is it ash?” I said, “No, it’s elm.” I finished my milling and went back to the bench room and took a look at the elm board from several feet away. He’s right, I thought, that elm looks attractive from a distance.
The instructor’s comment immediately brought to mind the day at home in my modest shop that I had looked over at the two elm boards, and asked myself why I had purchased them. I finally got around to making a cremation urn with it, as it matched well with the glass I was planning to use as a sliding glass lid.
After I built the urn, I applied an oil finish, which made the colors of the elm pop. I subsequently sold two elm urns to the funeral home, which they, in turn, sold to their customers.
That’s some of the magic and beauty when working with wood. Long- standing boards are waiting for the right moment to be made into something personal.