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A few months ago my wife sent me a text from work telling me that Packard Hill Covered Bridge, in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was going under repairs and would be closed for a day while the restoration project took place. I drive over the bridge if I’m headed that way – it’s a little short-cut road off the beaten trail.

Packard Hill Covered Bridge in Lebanon, New Hampshire

Woodturned Covered Bridge Series

A few months before this a buddy of mine who is a pen maker, and historical wood preservationist down in PA, was talking about how he’d love to do a “covered bridge series” of pens. He put the word out to collect wood if we heard of any bridge repairs going on. As a woodturner myself, I thought why not grab some from the Packard Hill Covered Bridge restoration — if they’ll let me have it. Maybe I can make some bowls, bud vases, or something else with it, too!

Sourcing Packard Covered Bridge Wood

I called the public works department to find out about the Packard Covered Bridge project going on over the next day or two. For one reason or another, it was postponed and he’d let me know when it was happening.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear from him again. I think he thought I was crazy for wanting the old crappy boards from the bridge. I mean, to most people – they’re trash, right?

To my surprise, he did call! The project was removing a few hemlock floorboards and replacing them. There was a bunch of 4 to 5 foot long pieces of 8×3 hemlock that were torn up.


Everyone thinks of this torn up wood as trash, right? The public works guy told me they’d dump it in the trash pile out behind the public works building. If I wanted it, I could go get it. Otherwise, it’ll go out with the garbage. Seriously. That’s where I picked them up!

I brought the wood home and pressure-washed the rocks and grime off the surface before cutting it up. After slicing it up, I sent a box full of wood to my buddy down in PA to help him on his covered bridge series of pens.

Packard Covered Bridge Woodturned Bowl

With plenty of wood to spare, I decided I would make a woodturned bowl with it. Sure, the wood is cracked, and beaten up – but it has history and loads of character! There are still a few boards left, so stay tuned. I may turn this into a ‘series’ of my own!

Wood turned bowl from Packard Covered Bridge repairs in Lebanon, New Hampshire

This bowl from Packard Covered Bridge come out awesome!

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