Since we have an abundance of folks here who use wood products, I thought this might be a good forum to gauge interest in a new innovative wood product contemplated for introduction by a small local company I’m acquainted with. The founder recently passed away from a freak accident, so maybe it’ll never get off the ground, but since I’m a friend, I thought I’d bounce the idea around here to see what woodworkers think of it. But first, a little history.
In Wisconsin, our native pine species fall into mostly three types: White pine (nicest for woodworking), Red, or Norway pine (not too bad), and Jack pine (smaller, least desirable…definitely cheapest)
Being a cheapskate and prone to trying to get my wood for free whenever possible, I have been known to scrounge around all sorts of places for wood.
The company I referred to above is a small pallet maker in the area who uses mostly jack pine and some misc. hardwoods including (recently) some of the local white ash that’s falling victim to a mycoplasmal disease called “ash yellows”. I had gotten to know the owner quite well over the years and as their business has expanded they’ve branched out (no pun intended…ok, maybe intended) into experimenting with these various cheaper or “opportunity” species to make various types of particle and chipboard. The idea was to not waste good wood. They’re very environmentally aware.
I’ve had the good fortune to be a “guinea pig” in being able to try these experimental products in some projects around the house. Since I get them for free, I really can’t complain, and, for the most part, they’ve been good products. Last year, they came up with a chipboard that uses a (secret) process and mix ratio to combine the now readily available diseased white ash with the always cheap jack pine in a way that results in a very strong panel that has look that’s just beautiful. The way the chips lay, it seems that it could be used in furniture making.
I’m going to get a photo in a future blog.
The reason I’m involved is that, even though I know it’s not true, I have this feeling I’m partly responsible for the owners fatal accident. I have been a visitor at the facility on many occasions to watch the development of these panels, and the last time I was there I was helping the owner make a small batch of chip mix for the product. We were concentrating on the ratio of the two species going into the chipper when I slipped and bumped my friend, whose arms were full of the jack pine and ash, and he fell headlong into the chipper….
Making a complete jack-ash out of himself… Happy April fool’s day! -SST
-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you