Large Spalted Hop Hornbeam
|Donor:||Edwards Smith Fine Woodworking|
This vessel, crafted by Edwards Smith, is made of Hop Hornbeam which is a very dense wood that is also known as iron wood. In Vermont we call it hardak. The wood is so dense that it was used for tools in the absence of metal.
There are two hornbeams in the US. American Hornbeam grows in the mid Atlantic states. The wood is white and the bark looks like beechwood but the trunk is more deeply furrowed. Hop Hornbeam gets its name due to the seed’s resemblance to hops that are used in flavoring beer and its bark is shaggy brown and not smooth and white like its cousin to the south.
A burl is a dense collection of germinal centers, each of which would sprout if conditions were right. No one really knows why they form but many surmise that it is a plant reaction to injury of one form or another. The growths are on the outside of the tree and look like tumors.
Since the grain runs every which way inside, they produce beautiful patterns when you cut across them. This piece was not only a nice burl but it was spalted, or attacked by fungus as well which adds to the visual interest, but makes it tricky to work.
This will make a perfect accent or presentation piece in a hallway or on a table, making a bold, yet refined statement. 10 1/2 X 9 inches, 7 1/2 pounds.