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One Man's Furniture is Another Man's Pizza?

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Blog entry by HungryTermite posted 02-11-2011 02:13 AM 1222 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I work as a design engineer and every once in a while someone will build a mockup at home and bring it in to illustrate a point they are trying to make about a design. The other day someone came in with a crudely made wooden mockup made up of what looked like poplar stained to look like walnut. Knowing that people use poplar as a walnut look-a-like and thinking to myself that it seemed like a lot of trouble to go through for a mockup that didn’t even have tight fitting or square joints, I approached my co-worker to find out what the deal was.

Me: “Why did you bother staining that poplar to look like walnut for a crude mockup? Seems like a lot of trouble to go through.”

Him: “No trouble at all. I didn’t stain it, I just used walnut.”

Me: <speechless>

It turns out that he has a pizza oven in his back yard and uses scrap walnut, oak, and other hardwoods that he gets for free from a friend who runs a cabinet shop to fuel the oven. Apparently, hardwood works great because it burns hotter and leaves nice hot coals afterwards. The pieces look like they were all jointed and planed and S4S for a project and looked like they were about the right size for a face frame.

After expressing how much it pained me to hear all of that because not only is the wood he burns expensive but I have also been wishing I could get my hands on some to make projects out of he kind of chuckled in amusement and later offered to bring in a few of the larger pieces for me to find something to do with. The pieces he used would have been perfect for some custom frames I need to make.

So today I learned that people use nice wood for lots of things besides building stuff out of.

I also learned that I need to find some better friends.

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.



11 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3111 days


#1 posted 02-11-2011 02:22 AM

heh, NICE!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3138 posts in 3175 days


#2 posted 02-11-2011 03:40 AM

We hope you gets lots of nice pieces of wood now from your co-worker. Can’t wait to see your next project post!

Unfortunately, your story brings back bad memories of a relative helping himself to my stash of fancy picture frame moldings to nail up on his deer stand! (I was trying to forget it!)

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View NoLongerHere's profile

NoLongerHere

893 posts in 2139 days


#3 posted 02-11-2011 04:20 AM

Hey, it’s still good wood.
Just disassemble it when your done with it.

I thought you were going to talk about the loose joints.

It drives me crazy when my “coworkers” do a crappy job because it doesn’t matter.
To me, it takes about the same amount of time to do it right so why choose to do it wrong?

But that’s another blog….sorry.

View HungryTermite's profile

HungryTermite

90 posts in 2512 days


#4 posted 02-11-2011 05:27 AM

I did tell him that he shouldn’t be surprised if the wood in his mockup (which is sitting in my office) magically turns into pine.

I would never pick on someone elses joints on a project that they rushed through lest they pick on my joints on the projects I spend lots of time on. I am getting better but my joinery needs work.

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 2446 days


#5 posted 02-11-2011 06:06 AM

Run to the cabinet shop and make friends with his friend and give him your scraps LOL. I to use hard wood for my cooker but I’ve got to cut my own.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View rkoorman's profile

rkoorman

381 posts in 2287 days


#6 posted 02-11-2011 08:28 AM

Been there, done that. My neighbour was doing about the some thing. I bought a lot of cheap fire-wood and exchanged it for his good stuff. There was a lot of spalted wood just laying around, ready to be burned.

-- http://thewoodworkersattic.blogspot.com/

View NoLongerHere's profile

NoLongerHere

893 posts in 2139 days


#7 posted 02-11-2011 03:09 PM

HT,
I must have read in to this line that you were bothered by the joints. oops.

” it seemed like a lot of trouble to go through for a mock up that didn’t even have tight fitting or square joints, I approached my co-worker to find out what the deal was.”

But I liked your reply.
You must be a pretty cool boss to work for. Nobody likes to be picked on, especially apprentice carpenters.

One of my favorite lines I use with the boys is: ” Not bad. but what can we do to take it to the next level?”

I believe we must pay it forward.
Our immortality lies in the knowledge you leave behind.
Our mark in the world lives on in the things we create.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2136 posts in 2572 days


#8 posted 02-11-2011 03:32 PM

Kind of like watching someone use gold nuggets as a shim for a burning barrel, just because they had some laying around…

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

3112 posts in 2243 days


#9 posted 02-11-2011 03:51 PM

It’s all about training those you know ! A former neighbour showed up at my door some years ago, he wanted me to look at several cardboard boxes of scrap he’d brought home from a lakeside trailer he’d just bought. It was mostly walnut with some oak thrown in. The trailer’d belonged to a cabnetmaker who’d been using it in the firepit on coll nightys, but Jim thought I’d likely start shoveling my snow into HIS driveway if I ever found out he was burning tghe stuff. I’ve made a whole lot of projects from the wood, jigs, almost anything you can think of and still have a lot left as it came to my shop.

;-)

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View HungryTermite's profile

HungryTermite

90 posts in 2512 days


#10 posted 02-11-2011 04:34 PM

Ah, I am glad I am not alone. :)

Reed: I guess I was bothered by them but not in the way you might think. In my own work I tend to relate the type of wood used with how well the joints should be made. The reason I haven’t yet made anything out of anything other than pine is that I don’t want to “waste” the money on better wood when my results will irritate me. In the case with my co-worker, it’s not so much that I was bothered as it was that something seemed “off”.

I think I am a cool boss but who knows. It’s tough to get an objective answer from the people who work for me about what I could be doing better. Maybe I am terrible and they just don’t want to tell me :)

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

3341 posts in 2548 days


#11 posted 02-11-2011 05:09 PM

I got a great buy on scraps from a hardwood supplier, they used the scraps as firewood in the boss’s home,
but they sold me a couple of garbage cans full for $10 each, of course I was buying $140 worth of maple at
the time. Some days you can find good buys.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

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