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Some people collect art, bottle caps, wine, marbles or pens. I have a tendency toward collecting wood. Sometimes it is for a particular purpose but other times it is just because I saw it and it struck me a particular way. I suppose my style of collecting wood is similar to keeping a working wine cellar. One buys a bottle or two for no particular reason other than the year or the region or the grape or the style of the label. But more than likely it is purchased with the intent to drink it sometime. Perhaps now, perhaps a special occasion, perhaps for no reason at all. Perhaps an identical bottle can be purchased again later, but at some point all the bottles of that year, vintage, grape and region will be gone.
I collect wood like that. I'll visit a lumber yard and see a particular piece of wood and buy it. Usually because it is wide, or thick or because of the grain or pitch deposits or some other unique characteristic. But that slab of 8/4" cherry with the black chocolate streaks is like a fingerprint: no other piece of wood will ever be quite like that one.
Wood I have
So for that reason I have several slabs of 8/4" poplar, curly maple, cherry, oak and mesquite. Some of the purposes I have for these large blocks of wood are table legs, hand planes or mantles.
This doesn't include the stacks of maple for the rails and stiles of my writing desk, the stacks of cherry for my wife's china cabinet, the long slender boards of poplar for my friend's sweater drawer cabinet, the (both thin and thick) wormy chestnut that my maternal grandfather harvested from a lot in Erie, the cherry log I'm drying in the garage, the white oak slabs that used to be stair treads in a century barn outside of Columbus. . . .
I think it is important to keep lots of lumber around. For example, with the exception of purchasing one 1" x 2" x 24" piece of poplar for a breadboard edge, we were able to build this table with stuff stickered around the shop.
Wood I want
I think I have enough for the moment. But you never know. I found some SYP recently with a few bird's-eye figures in it. . . .
Wood I have loved
This will eventually be a list of wood species that I have worked with over the years and my thoughts on them. The only issue is how to organize them.

© 2001-2010 Jeffrey D Gifford