So I called Rob up a few day’s ago and asked if I can come up on Sat. to flatten some butcher blocks with his wide belt sander, and I get a his typical “Sure, come on up, we’ll help you out” response. Every time I need some help with larger projects, him and his crew (who is Ray, and his pack of dogs) are always willing to help out. No questions asked, just “come on up”. As usual, I’m greeted with his friendly family (sorry Rob, don’t know their names) with some very loud barks, which to a first time visitor, could be very scary. But I know by now, these are friendly hello’s from all the animals. As I get out of my truck, I’m bombarded with wet noses and licks to the legs. Obviously, I can’t get far until I return the hello and thank my welcoming by scratching and petting my way out of the pack.
Now on to some business. So I bring my blocks into the shop and Ray comes in and gets to business flattening them, which takes about an hour (check out the post I’m about to put up in the projects). Everything these guys do, is laden with precision and detail. So, as you can imagine, my blocks are in ship shape, perfectly flat on both sides and look great. His 37” wide oscillating belt sander is the best thing I’ve ever seen, I want one so bad!! After all is said and done, Rob takes me through his grounds, once again, showing me all the “slabs” and “specimens” he and Ray have been milling. Shit, he even had a stack of doug fir beams (must of been at least 4X12’s) that had to have been 50 ft. long (or longer), one solid piece, at least 15 or so. I’ve never seen any beam THAT long, let alone a whole stack…. Ok So now I’m just trying to keep up with Rob while he’s going over everything he has, showing me this, and that. To him, it’s nothing, to me, it’s more than I can even imagine. In my whole career as a woodworker, I’ve maybe gone through a couple thousand bd ft. of material through my tiny little shop, and here Rob is telling me about the 10,000 bd ft. of material that he goes through in one year that is waste, cut offs and fire wood as we look at this mound of a pile. All I can do is shake my head. DID I MENTION THAT THE 10,000 BD FT. IS ONLY THE WASTE AND FIREWOOD!!!
As I’m getting ready to leave, I’m talking more business with Rob and was bouncing my ideas off of him and he says “here, take this and play around with it, oh, take this too” as he hands me a couple nice pieces of lumber, one is blue oak while the other is sycamore. Man, I didn’t even come up here for lumber, but nonetheless, Rob is more than willing to give and help out this tiny little woodworker. Most people wouldn’t even want to waste their time with someone like me, they usually have better things to do…Not Rob, what a guy. So we’re getting closer to my truck and I remember I wanted to see if he had any “small” cutoffs of any burls or nicely figured wood that I can make some boxes out of or something. He looks down at some claro walnut roots and say’s “what about this”. As I look at it and all of his machinery, I think, yeah I guess this is small for him, but it’s way too big for any of my tools. As I try to decline it nicely because I really wouldn’t be able to do anything with it except stare at it, he yells across the yard “Hey Ray, can you come up here with a chain saw”. Of course Ray doesn’t hesitate at all and brings up a 36” chain saw and starts going to town on this root. After it’s cut up into little blocks Rob brings it inside and puts some nice straight edges on the pieces for me so I can resaw them at my shop and also takes one block and resaws it right there into 5/8” pieces. Of course during this time I hardly take any pics but there is a few I can share with you…..
Thanks again Rob for everything. Everytime I come to visit you are more than generous with your offerings and always willing to help in any way. Anyone local to southern Cal, visiting Tulepeak timber is a MUST if you haven’t already done so….
-- Childress Woodworks