Friday, April 9, 2010

Wood Turning

Three camphor trees sent their roots into the septic leach field of our new home so the field has be be replaced. Camphor trees have a very aggressive root system and no trees should be planted over leach fields especially camphor and many others. So before escrow closed on our new home we arranged to have the trees taken out and a new leach field installed.

I happened to be reading Craigslist and saw someone wanted fresh camphor logs for wood turning, so I sent them an email. That's how I met local wood turning artist Chad Leuckel. I told Chad if he came by when they cut down the camphor trees he could have as many logs as he wanted. So bright an early this morning Chad showed up when the tree and septic workers were here to get some camphor wood. Speaking of Craigslist, I sold the refrigerator and the carpet we removed from our new place through Craigslist in one day. Apparently everyone uses Craigslist in this area.

Chad was drooling over all the wood he was going to get much like a potter would be drooling over some free clay. Chad belongs to the local wood turning group and talked about his wood turning work while he was here. He has been studying with a master wood turner for many years. I learned Chad must quickly work the fresh wood and keep it damp so it won't crack or split.

Here's our brand new leach field put in with the new type of system that distributes the water evenly. Most of the soil is sandy here in Florida as is this soil, although there is a small layer of clay near the top. There is a huge mountain of local clay around the corner from here that I plan to experiment with in my work very soon. More about that later.

Chad brought over some of his work to show me. The first bowl is turned from cypress wood. Since Chad likes to fish, it was only natural for him to specialize in making custom wood turned fishing poles. Some are inlaid with turquoise and other semi precious stones. Chad even inlays feathers into some of the poles.

Chad is going to make some wood turned ornaments from the camphor wood for me, much like the one shown which he turned from black jack oak and hickory and then hollowed out. The ornament was beautiful and light as a feather.

I made plans to visit Chad some time in the future while he is wood turning so I can learn more about the process. It was fun to meet a local wood turning artist and I was so happy the camphor trees we cut down went to good use. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  1. oh- what a great new friend you have made!

  2. i've never seen a leach field being put in, i've been wondering what is involved in it. i'm glad you posted this as we have to have a new one put in soon, our is failing and floods our basement when the tank gets too full. hopefully the previous owners of your house had to pay for yours, ours is going to cost around $5500 as it has to be pumped up a hill.

    very cool story about the wood turning guy, his work is gorgeous! you always have interesting things going on! :)

  3. Hi Meredith, thanks, yes I am hoping to find a bunch of new friends here.

    Hi Kim, thanks, yes the previous owners had to pay and the cost was about $2600, but a pump up system such as yours would definitely cost more. We were able to finagle where we had the leach field put in so we leave room for a small parking area adjacent our driveway. if we hadn't of been there the septic guy would have put it where we wanted to park. I was so surprised when I saw his posting about wanting camphor trees since I am always reluctant to cut down trees when they take so long to grow large.

    Hi 伊翊彬彬芷蘭, Passing through - how are you .. great

  4. how fun to have already made a connection in your art community! I bet that fresh wood was like a buried treasure for him AND you didn't have to haul it off!!

  5. Wow, how cool to find a new artist friend, one who uses feather symbolism as well! I've missed a lot while I've been away. So glad you are getting settled in your new digs and can put your own artistic stamp on the house and surroundings. It looks great. You have a mailing address now...please e-mail it to me so I can send you something.

  6. Very good that your trees will go to make art. Craigslist is very successful in our area too.

  7. Hi Cindy, thanks, you got that right about hauling it off.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, I thought it was so interesting he uses feathers in his work too, I'll email you privately. I too plan on sending some things out to friends now that I have a place to unpack and pack stuff up.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, I was so happy the wood didn't go to waste and was for art; so often large trees just go to firewood and that seems like such a waste to me for large trees that have taken so long to grow.

  8. Chad's wood turning is lovely, it is nice that you are getting to know other creative people in your area... Camphor trees and leach fields are obviously a good way of making friends!

    I had rather odd images in my head as to what the problem with camphor trees was when I first started reading your blog... It is just that "leach fields" made me think of those frightening wee creatures that live in swamps and suck blood (like on the old movie "African Queen"). I understood in the end!!

  9. Hi Peter, thanks, folks around here are ever so friendly and there are lots of folks who have relocated from other areas, so we don't feel like the odd balls at all. Ha. If you saw the swamps around here you'd be sure to think of that type of leech. By the way I really liked that movie African Queen.


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