No, not Chesty Puller but a first-order relic of Saint Castanea Dentata, a precious piece of an American Chestnut tree which was sold for scrap to the Olde Good Things salvage store in Scranton, Pennsylvania and picked up by me on a recent visit.

Figure 1. Fragment of an American Chestnut tree. Photo: author.

If you did not read the first chapter of the saga of Sancta Castanea, or if you do not know why it is a rarity to have a piece of American Chestnut to apply a finish to, read the hagiography here.

In any event, today I applied stain to Chesty, and the results, while good, are a tad blotchy. Figures 2-4 are close-up photos showing the grain. It’s worth recalling that Chesty is basically like a carrot peel, and the wood we see was effectively parallel to and very close to the outer surface of the trunk and thus mostly sapwood.

The light in my workspace is execrable: Sancta Castanea looks somewhat better than the photos suggest.

But still, I’m amazed to be in possession of a piece of American Chestnut. You can go to Olde Good Things or just about any antiques store and find furniture or paneling made of Chestnut, but to me this is somehow different, like seeing a tiger in the wild as opposed to a zoo or Joe Exotic’s circus.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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