I recently completed a wonderful project for the Roucheleau family. They took down a butternut tree from their family camp in Vershire, VT.
Two 8' logs arrived at my shop loaded inside a horse trailer. We dragged the logs out and I started carving the next day. The logs were without bark and appeared worn and not of much value. I used the chainsaw to rough out a couple bowl blanks. I chucked the wood onto my Powermatic 3520b with a Oneway Big Bite, sharpened my heavy 3/4" bowl gouge and went to town on the first piece.
What a delight to turn! Woodchips flew all over the place in a 12' radius from my machine. This wood carves like its name suggests, butter. Before long I had two nested sets of bowls. The grain patterns were absolutely gorgeous. Butternut has fluted grain. This bowls growth rings were tight, suggesting slow growth rate. These two attributes combine for a dynamic, dramatic grain movement. Some of the patterns are mesmerizing. I love butternut.
Several family members requested bowls from the logs. I carved both trees into about 20 bowls. They visited my shop and picked through the lot for their favorites, which proved to be difficult. Not to toot my own horn or anything but I nailed it in terms of balancing the grain and maximizing the woods potential. Yup. I did.
This was a meaningful project and I'm grateful they trusted me to chop up a tree that holds familial value. They will forever have a piece of their camp with them wherever they call home.