So instead I decided to make some saw handle blanks for him.
Last time I was home I trimmed a mirabelle prune tree, and the lowest part was large enough to yield a couple of blanks.
This morning I sliced it with the saw mill in 5/4" thickness.
There was a bit of rot in part of the trunk, which was partly the reason for the trimming, but there is enough for some saw handles.
I have read that apple tree was once common for saw handles, and it should be steamed while the wood is still green.
I have some apple wood, but it has been downed years ago, so it is close to bone dry. And the pieces are not sufficiently large to make a saw handle from the heart wood alone.
So the prune was still my choice.
The slicing was pretty fast, so in order to stretch the experience a bit, Asger and I rigged my small deep fat fryer up to make a steam chest that could be used for steaming the blanks.
It was a low tech solution consisting of two plastic buckets mounted on top of the deep fat fryer that was filled with water.
The wood steamed for about one and a half hour, and then we stopped to go in for some lunch.
I'll let Brian Eve take a picture of them once they are dry to see if the colour has changed at all.
Mirabelle prune, fresh from the saw mill.
The steam set up.
The outer bucket helps to keep the temperature high and the steam inside.