Video: B.C. wood artist turns 250-year-old Gary oak into keepsake

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There’s no shortage of lumber for processing on southern Vancouver Island, says Turner’s Peter Hackett.

Garry oak trees are known for their longevity, but they don’t last forever, especially in urban areas.

For example, a tree in the Jubilee area that is around 250 years old lives on in a series of vases made by Victorian woodturner Peter Hackett.

Although it is not that old as a tree species, this tree was suffering from root rot. Today, the wooden vases remain as mementos in the homes on the land where the trees originally stood, some are sold quickly, and others are on display in Oak Bay galleries.

People who want to memorialize the trees that have lived with them for decades often find him through his website. Seedlings are like family members and are essential to people, and when an old tree reaches the end of its lifespan, people look for mementos.

“They want that to continue and that relationship to continue,” he said. “This big thing that has been there for hundreds of years will continue to exist. That’s my reward.”

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For this particular tree, I noticed several slices that were 3 to 4 feet, 6 inches in diameter. This was difficult to convert into a bowl.

So he envisioned a lovely 13-inch-tall vase, made from wet-treated wood and given an unusual oval shape. Although some capital investment was required, it turned out to be worth it, with little loss due to cracking due to drying.

Whether you’re looking to utilize trees that need to be felled, trees found by landscapers, or driftwood, there’s no shortage of wood.

“Now the forest has found me. In Victoria it doesn’t matter, all kinds of wood are available.”

He once spun red cedar driftwood aged 270 to 300 years, counting the annual rings. He was shocked that it was only 10 inches in diameter and had so many rings.

“There’s a story there that I don’t know,” Hackett said. “I’m curious about the story.”

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Hackett uses lots of scrap materials to create “a tree a day” to show his awareness of climate change. He has made 250 of his pieces so far and is popular with neighbors as well as those who occasionally visit his design specialist home (one of his in the Lower Mainland is a number). I ordered one).

After he was discovered during the Fernwood Art Walk, the vase was stored at the Avenue Gallery. It took a while for Mr. Hackett to find a tree and a story worthy of displaying in his gallery.

It’s a creative job, and part of the reason he shifted to the woodworking arts in the first place, after a career as a scientist and research manager.

“I wanted to do something that used the other side of the brain,” he says.

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It took him a year to stew, but he settled on wood carving and did not move on to it until he moved to Victoria several years later.

One day about five years ago, Hackett told a friend that he was interested in wood lathes. The friend took him to another house in the neighborhood, where a new acquaintance inspired his addictive new hobby.

The next day, he embarked on “YouTube University.”

Learn more about the artist here

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