Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Behind Every Good Chair is Some Really Good Wood

After a long chair class it's good to get out of the shop and build up the material stash. Sometimes it seems I spend half my time looking for chair materials and the best logs. Late fall is the best time to head to my favorite log yard in Kentucky. It was a good day. I found 2 sugar maple logs that would make any respectable wood turner blush. I love these 15'' diameter 12' long logs that are white to the center. Very little taper (if any) and straight enough to saw on the mill.

 Maple log #2. These make me so happy!
 After unloading the maple I cut them into 6' lengths to make milling down the pith easier.
 Six 8/4 boards from one half of the log of some of the clearest material I have had in a while.
 Maple this clear should be illegal. I hope I can do this log justice. I have many turnings to complete.
 If the maple wasn't enough I scored an 8' white oak for only $10 because it had several nails in it. My splitting wedge does not care. Great spindle material. I can even re-use the nails in some ladder back chairs or something....haha
 I also picked up this nice white oak at full price. $1 bd ft. I think it was about $75
 As much as I love local hardwoods sometimes I have to travel to get material. Last month I made the trip to the upper peninsula on Lake Michigan to buy some 8/4 pine for seat blanks. Almost every board was 20'' wide and clear for 10'. I've never seen pine like that around here in the south. The pine here grows too fast and carves too spongy. It also has a lot of sap. These boards after air drying should be fun to carve.
 I had a heavy load on a 20' trailer. Kim and Logan tagged along but 48 hours from middle Tennessee to Escanaba Michigan and back (in 2 days) was no vacation. Saw lots of stuff out the windshield but that was it. I wish someone had told me to avoid the $16 toll fee through Chicago. Overall it was a good trip and I should have plenty of seat material after these dry.


  1. Wow, that is a load of pine! Are you planning on making a few hundred seats or were you sourcing materials for other southern chair makers?

    1. Hey Bob, Believe it or not this will only last a few years for what I do. I'll probably make another trip next year.

  2. Amazing logs and Pine Greg! Should get you to stick some on a boat and send it my way!

    1. Glen, wish you were here to help me use them

  3. where in Escanaba did you find the pine?