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May 25, 2005
Species Reclaimed

Woodworkers of the future — rejoice!

The American chestnut, prized for its timber and its crop of glossy dark nuts, once dominated Eastern forests from Maine to Georgia. The graceful trees were virtually wiped out by blight starting at the turn of the 20th century.

That loss, Case said, "was the greatest environmental disaster in the Western Hemisphere since the Ice Age."

Now, after years of breeding, cloning and crossbreeding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is ready to reintroduce disease-resistant chestnuts to Eastern forests next year.

Chestnut is one of the all-time great hardwoods; it is, along with woods like cherry and walnut, one of the classic American hardwoods. Ever since the blight finished wiping out the native species, however, woodworkers who have wanted to use it have had to rely on reclaimed stock or imported varieties. That isn't likely to change much for the next 20 years or so, but nevertheless, this is a very good development, a long time coming.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... I've always wanted to try a hot chestnut. Now, someday I'll be able to.

[Link via Instapundit.]

Posted by Russ at 10:03 AM, May 25, 2005 in Woodworking

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I had roasted chestnuts once in, of all places, Japan (they're quite popular there). Tasted terrible. Go fig.

Posted by: Beck at May 25, 2005 08:25 PM

That's because they weren't American chestnuts. :-)

Posted by: Russ at May 25, 2005 08:50 PM