I should be the poster child for why it is good to plan ahead. If anything, I hope that my documenting the day to day things in my life can show others how important it is to think ahead and be prepared for those unexpected things.
Unexpected isn’t always bad. It is just unsettling to some people. I think I mentioned not long ago how being flexible can be quite an asset in many situations. Yesterday was a good example of this.
I received a call from Bernie at 8 in the morning and he said the plywood that I ordered that I need for my painting class was in. I had ordered several sheets of 1/8” plywood for the sea shell pattern kits for the class. Each pattern had five shells and there were two patterns. Each class had the potential of 20 students, and I wanted to have some extra kits from the other class available so that if someone were only attending one class, they would still be able to buy the pattern and shells from the other. That is well over 400 ornaments that I would need to have with me.
Since I had a lot to do, I asked Bernie if we could come on Friday to pick it up, as we also wanted to get the wood prepared for the scroll saw candle tray class. He said he had other plans and it would be better if we went right away, so off we went.
We made a stop at the lumber yard that we went to last fall that was about 10 minutes from our place here. It is a large mill and is mostly geared to industrial customers, but they don’t seem to mind small customers like us if we aren’t busy. Their stock is limited there, but they do usually have a good deal of maple and birch available.
We were going to get some maple for the trays, but it seemed that they only really had one piece that was over 8” wide, which is what we needed. They said their stock was low and they were expecting more soon. We decided to go with birch, as there was plenty of wide boards to choose from. We picked a couple of additional boards and got them cut so that they would fit in the car.
When I went back to the office to pay for the wood, I found out that they had lowered their (already low) prices recently. The birch only cost $2 per b/f and the maple was $2.20 per b/f. In comparison, when we get this wood from our favorite place in Halifax, both types of wood cost somewhere around $7 per b/f. Quite a difference. We were quite pleased that the total bill, taxes included, was only around $40. That was a good surprise.
We spent the afternoon at Bernie’s shop resawing the boards and cutting them to size. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly as we would have wanted. His planer blades were not very sharp and we lost a lot of wood due to tear out.
Originally, I wanted to just plane the boards down from the get go, but I was outvoted. The guys decided to resaw it, the goal being to get a half inch piece and an 1/8” piece from each board. We had done this before and due to the way things are set up, it always appears we come up short. Bernie’s tools are a bit old and not as accurate as we would need them to be. But beggars can’t be choosers and we are grateful that he helps us out.
The planer, as I said, was not in a good mood. The wood really took a beating and my job was to run the pieces through the finish sander – a slow and tedious process – to get everything as even as possible. Most of the thin pieces were consumed by the planer, as they cupped terribly as soon as they were sliced off of the thicker pieces. Most of them wound up as firewood.
I felt as if we kind of set ourselves up for our own frustration. However, with the planer blades being as dull as they seemed to be, I don’t think that only planing the boards down to thickness would have been the answer either. It seems either way it was meant to be a long and frustrating afternoon.
We would have been better off taking the boards to the local lumber yard here and paying to have them plane them down for us. They have huge industrial equipment and charge for this type of service by the hour, but it would have probably taken about fifteen minutes for them to get the boards to thickness.
In the end, we did wind up with the wood we needed for the class. I have 23 – 8” x 8” x 3/8” squares of wood that will be fine for the trays. I think we will probably cut a couple of extra pieces just in case someone has a mishap with their piece at the class. I want to have extras there for them.
We never touched the maple board at all, so the cost per piece really was pretty reasonable. It is just the thought of the wasted wood and aggravation of working with tools that aren’t quite up to par that was a bit frustrating. It only makes us want to get our own tools even more (and with that, find a place to work with them).
We got home after six. It was a big relief to tick that one off of the list of things to do. One by one things are getting done and with two and a half weeks left to prepare, I think I am going to be OK.
I just need to take things as they come – one day at a time.
Happy Friday everyone! :)
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"