Well, I’m back from my travels and trying to get caught up. Hopefully I’ll see some shop time this weekend – if the yard work cooperates!
In any event, I wanted to do a quick post about an incredible tree that we saw while we were in South Carolina. The tree is called the “Angel Oak”. It is a Live Oak residing in the South Carolina Low Country near the city of Charleston – just outside of Kiawah and Seabrook Islands. This tree has been cared for by the city of Charleston since 1991.
Though they do not usually grow too terribly tall, it is typical of the Live Oaks of the south to have a spreading canopy and large overhanging limbs (usually draped with Spanish Moss).
However, the Angel Oak is nothing short of spectacular! Its canopy is huge – creating an area of shade over 17,000 square feet. It is 65 feet tall and has massive limbs that are so large that they rest on the ground and spread for huge distances from the trunk. The trunk has a circumference of 25.5 feet and its largest limb has a circumference of 11.5 feet and a length of 89 feet!
This is one enormous tree. It’s age cannot be exactly determined however, legend has it as old as 1400 years!
As I viewed this tree I could not help but to think about how long it has existed and what it has endured to do so. I also thought about how the craftsmen around it must have evolved during that time – potentially making things from wood harvested from around this very tree.
When you see something like this it certainly makes you contemplate the medium in which we work and how remarkable and unique it is. Wood is a renewable resource with many varied uses and benefits. Every piece is different, special and unique in one way or another. When you come upon something like this, the only thing you can do is stop to appreciate the majesty of a tree in its natural state and how special and beautiful it is. Usually when I see wood I am thinking about what I can build out of it. When I saw the Angel Oak all I could think was that some trees should be left standing.
In these pictures (click for larger view) you can better see the enormity of this tree with my wife and son for perspective. I’ll be back in the shop soon finishing up the Queen Anne Side Table and then continuing on with the Dreadnought Guitar project.