April 27, 2019
We recently had a customer email us to see if we could make a landing net out of ash. Inspired by the start of the 2019 baseball season, he also wanted to know if we could scorch the net to produce a look similar to a Louisville Slugger. Sure, I replied, no problem at all.
I had never scorched a net before but the process is fairly straightforward. You pass a flame over the face of the wood, toasting the edge grain. Edge grain is made up of two distinct patterns – summerwood and springwood. Trees grow at different rates throughout the growing season and the early springwood appears lighter while the summerwood, which is more dense, appears darker. This look will be different for different species, but in ash, it is very obvious.
When scorching ash, the darker summerwood turns even darker very quickly but the springwood takes a little patience to turn colors. Unfortunately, the transition from normal to toasted to just plain burnt happens very fast, so it is important to keep the flame moving or else you’ll have to sand and start all over or, even worse, end up with a chunk of charcoal.
Fortunately, I took the scorching process very slowly and sent pictures to my customer at various stages. He was able to dial in his exact look and he’s very happy with the final product.