Last year I got lucky by boldly introducing myself to local wood artists Darlene and David Brooks of the Treasured Tree. They were selling their incredible wares at the St Henry’s Annual Fall Festival (late September at the St Henry’s Catholic Church on Old Rt 66 near the center of Averill Park) and I mentioned that I had a fantasy of selling a line of candle coasters made from natural wood slices. David took some measurements and within a few weeks we were in business. I purchased as many coasters as he could slice me – all the while I was learning more about local hard woods and what gives them their unique patterns. I added some cork backs, stamped them with our website name and could not keep them in stock.
Last month David came over with a selection of incredible coasters and I have finally gotten around to sealing them and adding the cork backs. These included oak, apple, maple and soon birch. The set I sealed today were from a local Pin Oak he took down. The Arbor Day Foundation gave me some more information:
The name pin oak comes from its short, tough branchlets located along the branches and limbs. Because of its tolerance for wet conditions, the tree is also known regionally as swamp oak, water oak and swamp Spanish oak. The tree was first observed scientifically prior to 1770.
“The pin oak pleases me for reasons I cannot wholly explain,” wrote nature writer Hal Borland in A Countryman’s Woods.
But homeowners and city foresters are pleased with this tree for very specific reasons: strong wood; dense shade; tolerance of many soil conditions, heat, soil compaction and air pollution; free from most major pests; pleasing to the eye in all seasons; and easy to plant. Needless to say, this faster-growing oak is a common sight in yards, along streets and throughout parks.
These will be on site in June and I will update the blog when the other woods are added. Thinking of doing some stenciling with them as well. These make great Dad’s Day gifts!