3,600 Year-old Chess Set

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A couple years ago, The Senator, the Oldest Pond cypress tree in the world was burned down (3,600 years old). In tribute to the Senator tree the local government selected 3 artisans to make art pieces for museum in exchange for wood for their own personal pieces to sell.  Jeff Matter has made several pieces, his specialty is wood turning and has recently completed a custom one of a kind Chess board and pieces from the remains of the 36 century old wood. The set has a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.  If you are familiar with wood and its age identifying rings you would appreciate the uniqueness of this cypress.   Some of the wood has grain rings so close together you have to use a jewelers loop to see them, some 70-80 rings per inch not to mention the unique mocha colored sap of the heart wood, no other cypress I’ve seen has this characteristic.

- Steve Hamblin : friend of artist

“The Senator,” a 118-foot, 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree located in Big Tree Park in Longwood, Fla., burned to the ground in a matter of hours Monday morning. Though the state’s Department of Forestry once suspected arson, the fire is now being treated as an accident. “The thought now is that the fire was due to a lighting strike about two weeks ago,” said Steve Wright, a spokesman for the Seminole County Fire Rescue. “We think it was smoldering inside the tree and we only saw the blaze today, when it reached the top.” The tree burned from the inside out in a sort of chimney effect. The Senator is hollow and it is thought that the fire burned its way through the middle. “No one knew until it came up at the top,” Wright said. “It’s hard to reach the inside of a 118-foot tree. At one point, it began to collapse on top of us and we had to pull back and try again.” The Senator is a historic landmark and believed to be one of the oldest in trees in the world. The tree was donated to Seminole County by Sen. M.O. Overstreet in 1927 and was dedicated by Calvin Coolidge as a national historic landmark two years later. Beyond the history of the tree, The Senator was a part of the culture of the area. “I heard it on the radio this morning and I cried,” said Donna Williams, a longtime Seminole resident. “Anyone who has lived in this area, not to mention those who were born here, it’s part of your life because it’s so gorgeous and awesome. I got a chill.”

ABC News Check out this link to watch a video about the tree!

Also, check out this site for a video about the artist!


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