The Traveling Lumberjock #1: The idea

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Blog entry by PflugervilleSteve posted 07-22-2010 05:47 AM 1453 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The Traveling Lumberjock series Part 2: Sacramento, California »

I work for a scientific instrument company and end up traveling for my job quite a bit. I mostly stay in the US, but I visit Canada a couple times a year and occasionally travel to England and other parts of Europe.

I got tired of bringing knick-knacks home for the family from every trip because I’m running out of room for refrigerator magnets and coffee mugs! I had the bright idea earlier this year that instead of knick-knacks, I’ll try to find some local wood from wherever I’m visiting and bring a bit home. I’ve done this a couple times now and it’s pretty cool. It’s a bit like a treasure hunt looking for local sawyers and sources for wood.

So far I’ve had good luck with craigslist for wherever under materials. People with a portable (or not so portable mill) frequently advertise sawing services there.

I’ve not found a whole lot using, but it’s a resource. There’s always google searches for “City name” and sawmill, lumber, etc…

I sometimes call a couple local cabinetry shops and chat with them about potential local sources of lumber.

Call me crazy if you will, but I’m having a lot of fun and meeting some interesting people. I’m going to try and document what I find (both good and bad). Hope it’s interesting.

7 comments so far

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2880 days

#1 posted 07-22-2010 06:23 AM

Nice idea. How do you transport it? Car? Any issues with customs?

We did a cruise to Jamaica and I picked up some local mahogany. Should be enough for a guitar. It was soaking wet freshly cut wood. It took another 3 days to get home and it even dried a bit during that time.

When I got home I waxed the ends and stacked the pieces on a high shelf in the garage where it gets pretty warm in the summer. It’s been 2 years and it’s fairly dry now, especially here in Colorado where it’s very dry most all the time.

One of these days I’ll make an acoustic out of it.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3649 days

#2 posted 07-22-2010 06:45 AM

sounds like a cool and great idea! I definitely would love to hear about the details – good and bad.

what I also found amusing was your (assuming) typo about you sometimes calling a couple local cab. shops and shatting with them… although if you fix it, it won’t be as amusing anymore ;)

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

View PflugervilleSteve's profile


99 posts in 3042 days

#3 posted 07-22-2010 06:58 AM

Transport is typically a cardboard box and lots of packing tape. Besides my normal checked bag, I can take up to two 75 pound boxes at no extra cost as long as they’re not too big. Let’s hear it for Frequent Flyer status!

As for customs, I haven’t tried to transport anything internationally. I suspect that would be a pain in the butt, unless I can draw on it with a marker or something and pass it off as art, lol!

PurpLev – thanks for that catch – it was amusing, even more so as the stupid spell check didn’t catch it! I did correct it though, sigh… Getting old and conservative. Shooting the …. with cabinetshop guys is pretty much dead on accurate though!

View Jan_CQ's profile


12 posts in 3128 days

#4 posted 07-22-2010 07:22 AM


I think it’s a great idea.

I also do this, as I am frequently travelling in Asia. Unfortunately, the amount of wood that I can take with me is very limited due to air travel. As such, I will only get some special and small pieces of wood that I can take with me very easy. My plan is to make accent pieces of this for larger projects (such as drawer pulls and so on) from these small pieces.

It’s a good way to have some fun, go some places beyond the normal hotels, meeting rooms and other work/travel related places and of course meet people and get some inspiration.

For me, woodworking is a nice hobby, and in this way I can still enjoy my hobby during business travels.

I am curious to see what you will find during your travels. Good luck!


-- Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3018 days

#5 posted 07-22-2010 07:55 AM

I’m for it, like the idea and I do the same thing when I’m traveling, except I drive my 1 ton pickup truck to haul back what I find.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3105 days

#6 posted 07-23-2010 05:03 PM

I wanted to do this when I traveled from California to Illinois this past week for my Mom’s 90th Birthday party, but my sisters had me on a tight schedule of social stuff and the wood places were all too far away.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3722 days

#7 posted 07-29-2010 07:06 AM

I drive around with a folding saw and a pair of gloves in my SUV. I’ve hauled cherry, black walnut and honey locust home from nearby neighborhoods and when we visit my husband’s kinfolk in Georgia, I try to meander down the farm’s woodlands. Last Christmas I found several burled cherry saplings that may make some nice cane shafts and I coerced a cousin to let me cut off a piece of an ugly healed branch of an 80 yr. old pecan tree that looks like it will have some interesting figure of cane handles. Not quite the big boy lumberjack antics, but not too shabby for a lumberjill!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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