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Victoria’s Camosun College fine furniture students give new life to fallen Garry oak tree

Tree came down during November wind storm and struck Lansdowne campus library in Saanich
Fine furniture students work to mill and process lumber from a Garry oak tree that fell on Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus library building during a fall 2022 storm. (Camosun College/Flickr)

The destruction that came when one of Lansdowne’s Garry oak trees came crashing down during a wind storm this fall will luckily end on a positive note for future classes, thanks to Camosun College’s fine furniture students.

The large Garry oak that fell and struck Lansdowne’s library building in early November is being carefully processed into sought-after lumber by students in the Fine Furniture/Joinery Trades Foundation program, as a part of ongoing applied learning projects within the school.

“It’s wonderful to be able to put this material to good use and it’s a fantastic learning opportunity for students to be able to take what we’re learning in the classroom, then actually see and work with these huge pieces of natural material, outdoors, where they fell,” Sandra Carr, Camosun College fine furniture program leader and instructor, said in a release.

From wood-turning blanks, to table tops and public seating, each piece of the oak tree’s twisted trunk and limbs will be chosen for specific projects that will make best use of their features.

Sinead Strijack, who got a chance to cut large slabs from the trunk for a future project, said she’s looking forward to having her first experience wood-turning on pieces that she helped process herself. “Since you don’t need to let the wood dry in the same way before you turn a bowl, it’s great to be able to actually work with the pieces we’ve cut to make a project,” she said.

While the large slabs that have been smoothly milled and sealed will have to air dry for at least two years before they can actually be used for fine woodworking, lumber that was reclaimed from the aftermath of a 2019 storm is just about ready for students to begin working with.

Carr added that replenishing the supply of campus-grown lumber will provide students with more options for future projects, which is something she said she’s excited to make use of.

“In the past, we’ve used these reclaimed materials to create projects like public seating for new buildings at Camosun, it’s always nice to see the lumber used and given a second life on campus,” she said.

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Austin Westphal

About the Author: Austin Westphal

Austin Westphal is the newest member to join the Saanich News team.
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