Here’s the story of the forest hook. We have the very best customers, so when one of our customers approached me asking if we would take a look at some wood she had lying around, off course I said yes.
The wood holds some fond memories for her, but she no longer has any intentions of making anything from it herself, and so it had been sitting around in her garage for over a decade.
However, she really wanted a crochet hook made from some of it and would we make her one? She just wanted a hook for herself, and we could do whatever we wanted with the rest.
We are suckers for good stories and fond memories and agreed to take a look at the wood. I told her right off the bat, that we couldn’t guarantee anything, and since we had no information about the wood we would only be able to make a handle fitted with a metal hook, if anything at all. We didn’t want to take a chance on making a wooden hook that might break due to poor structural integrity of the wood. So when she picked up her 3rd hook from us, we got several pieces of different kinds of wood from her. A piece of birch, some cedar, acacia and some we haven’t really identified (yet).
The wood hadn’t been waxed on the ends prior to drying and as a result had cracked. However since we only need rather small pieces to turn crochet hooks we were not too bummed about this. All in all nice, dry pieces except for one tiny, devastating detail. Unfortunately, all of the wood had at some point been infested with powder post beetles. Every single piece of wood had the distinct holes and powder from the larvae, and to begin with we were horrified. Were there still live larvae? Or how about eggs that could hatch? Would we have to move our excisting stock of blanks so they wouldn’t get infested?
Luckily all eggs found appeared dead/dried out, and no live larvae or beetles were found. But… all the pieces had been infested at some point, and that made it unfit as a material for crochet hooks for resale. The wood was damaged goods, as most people would be unwilling to buy hooks with handles that have at some point been infested with bugs.
Furthermore, we can’t guarantee that the beetle holes haven’t made the wood fragile and prone to breakage, because it all depends on how infested the piece had been. But we still wanted to make her a hook.
So Thomas cut out a piece of cedar and set to work. It soon became clear that no matter how much we looked at the pieces beforehand it would be impossible to predict if there would be beetle holes in it. Because even in his carefully selected piece of wood, holes appeared while turning.
Thomas is a perfectionist and called me in – should he continue? The handle wouldn’t be perfect, and as a wood-turner I think he was ready to discard it and tell the customer we couldn’t use the wood. Personally, I thought the holes were rather pretty and added to the story of this piece. Moreover, I was 85% certain the customer would agree with me. So, since I was the one who had dealt with the customer in person on all her orders, I suggested we send her a picture and asked her. Which I did, telling her that if we were to use the wood, there would inevitably be holes in the handle – did she want us to proceed?
When Thomas had finished the hook and called me in to have a look I was speechless. The cedar looked amazing, his signature shape of the handle was on point and it was just beautiful. The imperfections (the holes) just made the hook perfect to me. I shot a quick picture of the finished hook and sent to our customer, who was just as excited about it as I was.
The next day I received a text from her that she was visiting her daughter and could she please come by to pick up the hook?
Thankfully we were home, so I shot some quick pictures of the hook, and told her to feel free to drop by.