turned cherry wood bowl

Baroque Letter Opener

As we transition from surface mail to e-mail the letter opener may become a relic of the past. Nevertheless, the design of this letter opener from the Baroque era is still charming and makes a handsome desk accent piece.

Some of these I made in mahogany but later used makore, a hard wood from Africa. How I got that wood is an interesting story. In Albuquerque I lived at the foot of South Sandia Peak. My house was at 6,000 feet and the mountain rose up from my front yard to a height of 9,500 feet. Every day I would look at the mountain and wonder what the view from the top must be.

Finally, I had a weekend to myself and I set out to scale the peak. I left very early in the morning while it was still dark. By noon I had made it to the top. There were trails all the way and you could walk upright so the going was not that hard, just long.

I always carry some carving with me so I can amuse myself during rest breaks. So at the summit I was carving one of these letter openers. A man from another party came up to me and said he was a woodworker too. He made architectural moldings and paneling for commercial buildings. He said that he had just completed a building and had some left over makore if I wanted it.

I had nothing to write with so I scribed his phone number into the letter opener I was carving. The only problem is that when I got back home that evening I could not read my own writing. However he had described the location of his shop and after several visits I connected with him. Now I have a lifetime supply of this handsome wood. There must be some reason why my wife calls me a "wood magnet." I seem to find wood in the most unusual circumstances.