A few months ago, I was at my local WoodCraft store, engaging in a conversation with some old-timers about which local Colorado woods were suitable for pens. We discussed Spruce and Oak, Russian olive and Aspen, but nobody had the audacity to suggest Cottonwood. The wood is overly abundant here, and is known to be soft, stringy, and unfigured. Well, I finally decided to cut some Cottonwood, and I found several logs full of gorgeous black spalting lines. This wood is every bit as beautiful as spalted tamarind, without the cost or carbon footprint. Recently, a family friend and neighbor cut me an incredibly piece of Cottonwood burl.