From Tree to Tiller: Great Story of Yew Wood!

by Douglas
(Wishkah Valley , Wa.)

I'd heard in passing about yew but had never seen one out in woods. Was sailing up west coast Vancouver Island from Westport Wa. summer of 1977. Spent a few days tucked into Barkley Sound enjoying a great area with lots of oysters. Was mucking about a little cove when I spot this really gnarly looking tree. I had a tree book onboard and yes, it was a yew. Had a dead branch with a really nice curve so I cut off a 6 foot piece and using hatchet, plane and saw( Rush used hatchet/ax/sword to tame oaks/maples-from "Trees") I made a tiller that sailed me into an amazing amount of anchorages along B.C. coast and north of 54/40 to Chatham Straits. Also lots of Grays Harbor bar crossings.

In late 1980's I was snooping around clear-cuts in Olympic Mtns. behind Quilcene Wa. and found what I thought was an amazing amount of yew left behind. Nothing really big-12 inch butt- was probably largest but lots of it. Me and my Datsun pick-up worked like a mule but ended up with a nice pile of yew. The really nice clear went into frames for my 34 ft. troller built in 1922. Am writing this as I sit on a bench I made of yew, Alaska yellow cedar, locust and cherry. Plenty of hiking sticks for friends/family.

Am currently watching a few yew berries ripen with hopes of transplanting them into a clear-cut I've replanted in the past 5 years.

From me to yew
and yew to me
we cast our dreams
on the rolling sea..

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