am the Magnificent Maple. My family is the most beautiful
and picturesque of all trees. From season to season, my beauty
and value are measured and recognized in so many ways. Imagine
the pride in having a professional sports team named in recognition
of my family. The Toronto Maple Leafs.
I get even more pride when I see one of the largest countries
in the world, Canada, adorn their flag with my Leaf as their
symbol of love and loyalty to country.
Entire industries have been formed, directly related to
my characteristics. In the fall, people flock from the cities
and drive into the country to see my fall colors as the forest
changes from the summer to winter season. I even have Companies
sell countryside tours, so my fall foliage can be viewed
by countless admirers. During this same season, landscaping
businesses sell their services to help property owners clean
their lawns from my fallen beauty. My leaves turn into many
brilliant colors, from crimson red to golden yellow and all
types of shades in between.
Our fall beauty is captured on post cards and calendars
throughout the world. When our leaves fall, we are, oh so
silent, as we drift and float through the air before nestling
on the ground. We make a neat rustling sound when children,
parents and pets play in and amongst us.
The maple syrup industry harvests my sap and boils it down
to a heavy rich topping for pancakes, muffins, glazing hams
and other varieties of prepared food. The scent and aroma
of hot maple syrup has peaked everyone's appetite at one
time or another.
In the forests, my leaf-laden branches are home to many
of God's creatures. Birds and animals nest in my trunk and
amongst my branches, surrounded by my strength, foliage cover,
concealed and protected from the elements.
There are many species in my Maple family. The Sugar Maple
is best known for offering sap for Maple syrup. The Norway
Maple is very popular to adorn landscapes due to my full
and leafy branches and my predictable symmetrical growth
upwards. The Red Maple is also common in landscaping, in
part to the deep violet colored leaves.
When I am harvested, my hardwood is used in kitchen cabinets,
and in furniture for homes and businesses worldwide. I am
a highly desired hardwood and I don't need an introduction
or explanation. My grain accepts stains well for custom finishes.
It is my hardness that makes me preferred for many roles.
I resist scratches, dents and telltale wear signs. I also
am commonly used in flooring. My trunk has distinct coloring.
The center core is about half of my dimension. This center
core area is a deep dark brown color. The outer portion is
a pure select white color. Very distinct, yet separate colors
that contrast. This is similar to a deer, which has a white
underside and a much darker fur on the upper body.
As I look upon my past, it is a full life, reliable for
many, in so many ways. Once harvested, my living role ends,
and my duty for eternity begins. My wood can and has been
used to make almost anything. A challenge I pose in the furniture
industry is how to best utilize the contrasting colors of
my trunk. In large diameter trees, 4' or so, the various
colors can be more suitably milled to create individual pieces
of material. When separation of my colors is not practical,
my natural colors are masked, by staining my wood to a consistent
even color. This is what happens to me in the manufacturing
furniture world. Few people actually get to see the full
range of colors in my natural state.
On my harvesting day, I did not for see being used as cargo
platform. I was milled to 4" square sections, 12' long and
bolted together with 4' cross-sections. I was an awesome
powerful platform. Sheets of galvanized steel, 12' long,
4' wide were stacked on me. Stacked to 4' high, I was carrying
3 tons of metal. For years, I was moved from steel mill to
fabricator and back as I was used to ship and store these
sheets of steel. In this role, I could be in fabrication
facility for years at a time. When emptied, I have been tossed
outside. I have been left in the rain and snow, frozen in
the winter and baked in the hot summer sun. Oil, grease and
grime seeped into my exterior. Recently, I was loaded and
sent to a new fabrication facility. This facility did not
recycle the cargo platforms. We were discarded. As I watched,
discarded cargo platforms, similar to myself, were cut up
by employees and taken to summer camps and burned in campfires.
Over the months, as the steel sheets I was holding were being
used, it was going to be sometime soon when my load would
be depleted and I would be tossed out. Who would cut me up,
taking me to a summer camp and set me on fire? Would I at
least get to roast some marshmallows?
On this particular day, when my last sheet of steel was
used, God's will bestowed upon me eternity. I was tossed
outside with a few other similar cargo platforms. This "new
location" where I had been working had been a favorite hunting
ground for a wood working enthusiast. I learned that he comes
here often. His fee for authorization to remove us is a 12
pack of Labatts Blue. Leave it to Canada to bestow upon the
Maple family one more measure of dignity. Put the fire out!
Have a drink on me!
I was put into his van, along with a few other cargo platforms
and driven to his shop. Here I was carefully disassembled,
cut into 3' sections, sawed and planed to ½" widths,
stacked and stored. All the dirt, grime and oil that coated
me had been removed. I was stacked neatly with other pieces
of rescued hard wood in the Maple family. In this workshop
there were shelves for Oak, Mahogany, Cherry, Ash & Beech,
all stored right next to me. Over the next few weeks, more
pieces of wood would come into the shop, carefully milled,
sorted and stacked.
Eventually, the pieces of Maple in my pile were removed
from the shelf. I was placed on the worktable, and aligned
side by side. In the next few days we were glued together,
sanded smooth and assembled. My form and future were taking
shape. I was going to be a large serving tray. This tray
was special. It was being made specifically for a person
that liked my natural finish, complete with my contrasting
color. It is highly unusual for my Maple family to not get
stained. No more stains on my grain! My natural contrasting
beauty would show for eternity.
As I was nearly complete, I saw that I was part of a three-tray
set. I was the large tray and there would be a medium sized
tray and a small tray. I liked how the other 2 trays would
get stacked on top of me. I would still be carrying a load,
albeit a small one. I was proud of our natural finish. To
see my dark center core right next to the select white outer
core, it gives me goose bumps, just thinking about it.
I have gone Full Circle. Before you now, my natural beauty
has been skillfully captured. I will turn a bit darker over
time, every so slightly. Simply care for me as your would
care for any other hardwoods in your home or office. Please,
share my story with others and invite them to visit me and
other works from my Craftsman Creator at our web site; FullCircleWood.com
Maple, Serving Tray, 3 piece set.