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Woodworking Tour of the Berkshires

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Blog entry by Glen Peterson posted 03-02-2010 03:49 AM 1838 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In January I posted to an LJ forum about a planned woodworking trip to the Berkshires. We went on Feb 19, 2010, and it was a great day. Well, it was a cold day, when Steve and I left Glastonbury, CT for the Berkshires. During the trip we were joking about buddy movies and decided to subtitle our trip: Glen & Steve’s Excellent Woodworking Adventure as an homage to perhaps the worst buddy film of all time.

Our first stop was Bannish Lumber in tiny Chester, Mass. Their URL is http://www.bannishlumber.com/

As I suspected Mrs. Bannish was in the office and the wood stove was blasting. She is absolutely charming and just chatting with her is worth the visit. Bannish Lumber is a family owned flooring mill. They are kindly toward woodworkers and take the nice pieces of lumber and put them into the “retail shed” for folks like us. I’ve been to Bannish many times. They just give you the key to the retail shed and you’re on your own. You can pick through the wide selection to your hearts content. The retail shed is unheated and full of native hardwoods as well as pine. Here are two different views of the retail shed, an unheated metal building with lights I’ve never been able to turn on.

They have excellent prices on North American hardwoods, but wear boots and bring a pick up and a couple of flashlights. There really isn’t any retail service. Once you load you drive back to the office and give them your list to cash out. Steve and I bought a small stack of maple, birch, and white oak. Here’s Steve sitting beside our haul.

After leaving Bannish we drove west along state route 20 toward Great Barrington, Mass. It’s a nice little town and the home of Berkshire Veneer. Their URL is http://www.berkshireveneer.com/ Like Bannish it’s a small operation run by really wonderful folks.

There is no sign on the road or on the building, so call before visiting. As we drove in Ben, the owner, and Jonathan were leaving for lunch. I’ve met Ben a few times and I asked if we could join them. They brought us to a little place in South Egremont, Mass for some great burgers, and Ben actually treated. After lunch they gave us a tour of the facility. It’s a warehouse full of great veneer.

Ben and Jonathan showed us the stack of samples of the exotics in stock. I believe this is Macassar ebony on top.

Here are photos of Ben showing us some of his stock including beautiful walnut crotch veneer.

I bought some maple and some walnut veneer. Here’s the walnut rolled and packaged for travel.

Just south of Great Barrington is Sheffield, Mass the home of Berkshire Products. You can visit their web site at http://www.berkshireproducts.com/index.htm I haven’t been there before, but what a great inventory. It’s was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Berkshire Products specializes in highly figured woods and has thousands of big burls and slabs. Many of the slabs are huge.

Their stock of figured wood was by far the best I’ve ever seen. This is a piece of incredible birdseye maple.

This was a great tour, we really enjoyed ourselves. I still can’t believe I didn’t buy the birdseye maple, but they had a room full of boards, and I’m sure I’ll be back. Perhaps there’s a future for me in wood tourism if not blogging. Cheers,

-- Glen



13 comments so far

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

508 posts in 1714 days


#1 posted 03-02-2010 03:53 AM

Help, I tried to embed the photos in the blog above. I thought they would come out as actual photos rather than links to the Flickr account I just established. Having to click on the links ruins the blog post. I hope I can figure out how to fix it.

-- Glen

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

262 posts in 2012 days


#2 posted 03-02-2010 03:54 AM

Not only that, the links are all to private photos, so we can’t view them. :-(

View unisaw2's profile

unisaw2

179 posts in 1693 days


#3 posted 03-02-2010 04:00 AM

Glen, looks like you need to make the flickr photos public. (not private) You can edit this post, and use the preview button to see if the photos imbed.
Also directly from flickr help:
“If your account is new, first you need to upload at least 5 photos. After that minimum has been reached, then it shouldn’t take more than a few days until your photos appear in searches, groups, etc. To make sure your photos show in searches, remember to add accurate tags and descriptions.”

I’m not sure, but it may take some time for the flickr photos to activate. In any case, keep trying.

Looking forward to the veneer pictures!

-- JJ

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112104 posts in 2235 days


#4 posted 03-02-2010 04:08 AM

Hey Glen
Here’s a post that might help.

http://lumberjocks.com/GaryK/blog/8899

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View EternalDesign's profile

EternalDesign

237 posts in 2653 days


#5 posted 03-02-2010 04:19 AM

Love berkshire products! Try to make it there couple times a year.

-- Brian, Eternal Furniture & Design http://www.eternal-furniture.com

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

508 posts in 1714 days


#6 posted 03-02-2010 04:35 AM

Thanks for the help. I just made the photos on Flickr public, we’ll see if this works. Jim, I think it will take me a while to study the Gary’s post, and it’s gettin late here in the East.

-- Glen

View unisaw2's profile

unisaw2

179 posts in 1693 days


#7 posted 03-02-2010 04:46 AM

.

-- JJ

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

508 posts in 1714 days


#8 posted 03-02-2010 05:14 AM

Hey, It looks like I got it to work. The photos are now showing. It wasn’t that difficult after I finally figured out how to do it. Thanks for the help and the patience. It’s not perfect, but the photos look pretty good if I do say so myself.

-- Glen

View unisaw2's profile

unisaw2

179 posts in 1693 days


#9 posted 03-02-2010 06:01 AM

That’s better. Looks like a great place for veneer. Wish they had a place like that in Chicago. I like the walnut veneer best. Please let us know what you do with it.

-- JJ

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

508 posts in 1714 days


#10 posted 03-03-2010 12:24 AM

Once I figured it out, uploading the photos to appear in the blog was easy although it took a while. The photos have to be resized so they are small enough to fit within the LJ blog limits. On Flickr when you select a photo from your photo stream a series of action buttons appear above the photo. Select “All Sizes” I then selected “medium” which makes the photo 500×375 pixels. That seems like a good size for the blog and it’s under the LJ size limit. Below the photo are two different sets of code describing the photo. Copy the 2nd one called “Grab the photo’s URL” and paste it into the blog. When you paste the URL into the blog you have to put the proper format settings around it. There is a tab called “show formatting reference” at the top of this box when you are writiing. For photos the formatting requires an exclaimation point (!) immediately before and after the URL. I also set all the images on Flickr to public view although I’m not sure that it was necessary since I pasted a .jpg flie. Anyway it all seemed to work eventually, thank to all for your suggestions.

-- Glen

View Chris's profile

Chris

49 posts in 1678 days


#11 posted 03-03-2010 03:35 AM

Great place for large slabs is Berkshire Products. I go there 6 times a year because they dry my slabs from my tree service. The selection is amazing, slabs from all over the world, they buy them in logs and mill them themselves. Very friendly also.

-- One Time Tree Man

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

712 posts in 2276 days


#12 posted 03-15-2010 06:42 PM

What a great tour! I envy you guys. Thanks for sharing with us.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View lighthearted's profile

lighthearted

142 posts in 1971 days


#13 posted 05-14-2010 03:38 PM

Glen-
Thanks for the tour—I actually live rather close to Berkshire Products. I’ve yet to make it over there. I need to save some pennies 1st!

-- Chris http://thelightheartedwoodworker.com/

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