The oak tree in my yard had seen better days. It had never been a great tree, mostly due to the fact that the jackholes who planted it never spread the roots or unpacked it from its root ball — it was never to be a long-lived tree. So when it blew over a few weeks ago I was not riddled with shock once I found out what had happened. I looked at the now-dead tree and thought it could still serve a useful purpose, other than firewood.
First I cut it to a six-foot length and stripped the branches off, then removed a lot of the roots that had rotted and were not strong. A quick shave with a knife in a strategic pattern produced a nice carved feel that left a little discoloration here and there for effect.
A few coats of shellac and a bit of leather work mixed with a big-ass glass diamond turned what was a sad little dead tree into a great wizard staff for my sister, who is very into going to Renaissance fairs in costume.
It all depends on how you look at things, I suppose. The Mrs. saw a dead tree, and I saw a badass instrument of magic.