Sunday, May 12, 2013

Carrying Toggles Of Ancient Wood

My friend Bonnie and her husband once owned a woodworking factory in New Hampshire, which provided wood for one of the U.S.S. Constitution refits. In my previous build, I also made carrying toggles of wood which Bonnie claimed was "from the Constitution". It was Indian rosewood, which made me think that it was probably a scrap from a modern replacement part, rather than original wood. However, while cleaning out her house prior to moving, she found this venerable-looking timber and kindly gave it to me:
It definitely looks old. The hole on the top looks like it was drilled for a peg. There is a remnant of a copper nail. I started to get excited, thinking that it might have "monetary value", and did research. Some Dipstick On EBay had a similar piece, for which he was asking $10,000.
I took photos and sent a letter to the curator of The Constitution  Museum. He answered that it was:
1. Old
2. Oak
3. Very probably from a ship
4. Impossible to prove that it was from The Constitution, without Documentation, and
5. Of very little monetary value, even if it was.
I since learned that Constitution Wood, from the many refits, is not particularly rare. Guys used to have walking sticks made from it. The doors of the Customs House, here in new London, are made from it. Smaller scraps are sold in the Museum Gift Shop for $5.
In any case, I thought it would be a nifty piece to use. I made a turning blank:


Strange. This wood emitted an aroma when cut. I can only describe it as "oldness". I wonder if they treated it with something?
I like the way these came out!

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