These boards were recovered from some old house; the surface was grimy grey. I assumed they were Oak. As my saw exposed the clean surface underneath, with its graceful, oversized grain, I realised that I was holding a relic of the Old America in my hands.
This is Chestnut wood, a forest tree that covered our land in beauty and abundance. A blight decimated these magnificent trees decades ago, and forestry researchers have still found no way to bring them back.
Dimensions are 1- 1/4 inch across at the blade end. They are random lengths from 16 to about 19 inches long. One edge is dark– that’s the weathering i was talking about– and they all have wormholes, which will not affect performance in the least. The natural oil finish enhances the famous Chestnut Red color.
When these are gone there will be no more.
My “Whappers” are an amusing, surprising shape, kind of a double-but-opposing wedge. This gives them a nice balance in the hand and a delightful warm sting. They are narrower than a paddle, wider than a cane, with a nice weight and more gravitas than a paint stirrer.