While hurricanes Matthew and Irma certainly did a lot of damage, some beauty has also resulted from the storms. One person’s debris is the mother lode of timber for Jay and Andrew Morse.
The father and son woodturning team is turning what most would look at as waste into some lovely bowls and vases.
“This tree, I have never seen anything like this. It’s a redbud. A lot of rings and the rings are all different colors. I think it might have been the only part of the tree that was alive when it fell,” said father Jay Morse.
The father-son woodturning team is always on the lookout for what they call storm fall. Much of what they collect is from storm-fallen trees found right in their Jacksonville neighborhood.
It was a mini-tornado spawned by Matthew that brought them sycamore from Emerson and Old San Jose Roads. Tons of massive logs --one is 32 inches in diameter-- sit in their driveway, just outside their garage-turned-woodshop.
“This fell the night of the hurricane across the street and fell on the house, so we just rolled it across the street, as well as picked up some other stuff from Irma,” said Jay Morse as he gave a WJCT reporter a tour of their business, which is called The Oaken Bowl.
Despite the name, oak isn’t their primary bowl-making material. It’s too hard to work with. It’s rock-like and wears down their tools. Whatever the wood though, Andrew Morse says woodworking requires patience.
“You never know what’s inside it. Maybe you’ll hit a rotten spot. When it’s finished, then you can say, ‘I really like this bowl,’ and you want to keep it or sell it. Until then, take your time and don’t get attached,” said son Andrew Morse.
Each bowl spends a couple of hours being shaped on a family lathe which has been handed down through the generations. Jay Morse finds the whole process immensely satisfying, bringing out the beauty of the wood wherever he finds it.
Their creations are sold under the name The Oaken Bowl at fairs like Riverside Arts Market. Each bowl has a card attached, telling where the wood came from in northeast Florida —right down to the street.