For my entire life, I’ve been surrounded by wood, bark, leaves, and stumps in some form. My uncle Tom is a master cabinet maker and wood-worker. My grandfather Otis was a logger and wood-worker for most of his 98-year-long life. Many other uncles and cousins were and are still contractors, house builders, and carpenters. My father was among them, and remains to this day a skillful and crafty handyman, wood-worker, and Do-It-Yourself-er. He and my mother were DIY-ing it long before HGTV hit the airwaves, and mostly because we grew up in beat up houses that were “hey, it’s not so bad, we can fix that in a jiffy!” sort of living structures.

Hey, it’s what you get coming up in Northwest Arkansas.

In addition to growing up around home-built see-saws, family-built homes, and enough sawdust to fill a California water reservoir, I’ve spent many of my days in the woods. In the backyard playing in the grass and climbing horse-apple and persimmon trees at one grandmother’s house, climbing up small birches at my aunt’s, and ascending the heights of thick, hundred-year-old oaks at another grandparent’s home. In forests, on mountaintops, in tall grassy fields on backpacking and camping trips. In hammocks snoozing the afternoon away by a river or creek. And who doesn’t love splitting wood?

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Wood is a big part of my life, I’m convinced it directly contributes a great deal to my happiness in general. And even though I’ve never been much of a wood-worker myself in any sense of the term, I’ve suddenly fallen into a fascination for it. The way cedar smells freshly cut, the way a well sanded hiking stick feels in hand, and the sheer beauty of it. Oak, cedar, pine, walnut, red oak, you name it!

More importantly though, I’m fascinating by the number of handy objects you can craft: tools, desk items, furniture, signs, coffee cup holders, rolling pins, you name that too! You can paint it, you can stain it, you can strip it, you can leave it as is and just seal it — wood feels infinite in its possibilities in what you can make, and more importantly, have fun making.

That’s why I’m giving this new blog series a try here on my personal blog: Stumped.

Not just because lately I’ve had a fascination with stumps and what can be created from them, but because it exudes the feeling I get when I bring a piece of wood home and have no clue what I’m going to do with it… that is, until a light bulb comes on! Until then though, I’m stumped!

With this series, I’ll be doing fun DIY projects, weird furniture, anything with stumps, stains and refurbishings, and whatever comes across my porch!

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I hope you enjoy this series. If not for just seeing the fun in woodworking, but also in taking something away from it in your own hobby time working with nature’s coolest resource.

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