I attended the show last Friday as I do every year, it’s an exciting part of the year for me as I guess it would be for any amateur and professional woodworker. We get to meet old friends and catch up, you see loads of tools for sale that are mouth watering, but the best part for me is the timber.
This year I was pretty selective and had to choose carefully, unfortunately not all the stuff is dry and guess who forgot to take his moisture meter. Yep, and boy did I pay the price for my forgetfulness. But that’s what happens when you’re in a rush, I headed up the highway in my beat up van travelling 80 km per hour in a 110k zone. I wasn’t anyone’s favourite on the road, but hey, my fuel injectors are clogged and if I do the speed limit it will stall and not start up for 15mins. As I was travelling up there like an old man with a white hat in the rear window, you guys know the type, I watched how everyone just zoomed passed me. Some looking annoyed at me as they pass me by, others sticking their finger out the window, but I just plotted along like the old Beverley Hillbillies. It dawned on me then, just how many people are in a rush and I’m sure it’s work related, but everyone is annoyed with everyone on the road. Speeding up, pushing the car in front to go faster, others taking over as if there’s some massive pot of gold waiting to be taken on the other side, and then, all of a sudden out comes the revenue collectors. Blue and red flashing lights pulling them over one by one, handing tickets and not to some police ball. There goes their weekly earnings, while I continued to pass them by, glancing in my rear vision as they diminish into a spec and then nothing. I thought about my hand tools and how much slower they are compared to machinery, and how everyones in such a rush to get production done and out of the shop both amateurs and professional like. It put a smile on my weathered face and made appreciate even more the way I work wood.
So I arrived on time, with no speeding tickets and walked straight over to the Tasmanian timber section.
I knew what I wanted, and what I wanted was pretty darn expensive as they always bloody well are. Sassafrass.
I paid through my you know what for it, but I got it and will end up making a box for myself to store my wax and seal and make some other useful things for charity. Then I headed over to another section where they had even more exotic timbers. Huon Pine is great for carving, but get a load of the prices.
Well a little way out of my price range. So, I turned my direction to the great outdoors where the most timbers are. This is where I needed my moisture meter and now I had to rely on my hands and their word for it. I can usually tell just by feel in a ballpark figure how wet or dry it is. I headed over to a trustworthy source I know air dries his stuff, he doesn’t say it like someone I know, but actually does it. So I picked up some African Tulip which is light as a feather and has a nice texture to it, will look great as draw fronts, and alongside it is my favourite Hoop Pine.
Here’s a closer look.
I went back inside and stumbled upon a slab of birch and bought that as well, unfortunately for me when I slapped the moisture meter on it when I got home it was at 28%. Holy crap 28%, so I texted the guy and thanked him for it. It all turned out to be an innocent mistake, he said he built furniture from it 6 months ago and dried it himself in his own kiln, some guys are just spoilt rotten, and he couldn’t understand why it was so green. Nonetheless, he refunded me the money and said keep it, I felt bad about it and insisted on him to pick it up, but as it turned out it wasn’t worth travelling the distance for it so he insisted that I keep it. It will be ready for use in a couple of years, sorry I didn’t take any pics of it. Here’s another pic of a beautiful timber, another favourite of mine Camphor Laurel.
This is considered a weed in Australia and is more poisonous to other surrounding trees, but is gorgeous and takes an oil finish really well. The last time I bought timber from this guy I’m still drying it, yet the same old story it’s all air dried. There was another massive slab to the right of it, it was so big and wide it couldn’t fit in anyone’s pick up nor van, and that too is apparently air dried yet it was cut down only 6 months ago. None the less you learn these things over time and you make a judgement call.
Then I went over to Steve Hay and said G’day, he’s demonstrating one of Terry Gordon’s plane.
I finished off the day by saying G’day to some of my other old timer mates and talked nothing but wood. Since our wives are not interested in listening to us, at least the show gives us the opportunity to get together once a year and let out a year’s worth of unspoken wood talk to each other.
And so my day ended with a smile, as I chugged back home in my old beat up van down the highway watching fingers out their windows at me as they pass me by, and then waving back at them as I pass them by as they pull over to be greeted by their friendly over zealous neighbourhood revenue collectors.