We left the house approximately 6am and didn’t return until nearly 10pm. The sun was just sliding into the ocean as we were on the final leg of our trip on the (almost) longest day of the year. It was one of those beautiful pinkish-orange sunsets and the water was like a glass mirror, reflecting the soft light back to the purple hills of Digby Neck as we drove south on Rt 101 along the shore. It was a fine end to a very full and enjoyable day.
The next statement that I will make may get me banned from this site. I am going to say it anyway though, because admitting is the first step in recovery:
“I have enough wood now.”
There. I have said it. You can shun me now and cross me off of your buddy list and shake your heads at me in shame that I would ever admit something so preposterous. But unless I decide to build a house or full scale replica of the Queen Mary other such structure, I have absolutely no business setting foot in the wood store or lumber yard for a long, long time.
It isn’t that we got a lot yesterday. We really did fairly well. We purchased a piece of sepele mahogany, some cherry, some more roasted birch and some padauk and hickory. We also got some smaller pieces of bird’s eye maple that had an amazing amount of figure to it and a piece of aromatic cedar for Keith to make pens with, as well as a small piece of thuya burl and chetekok that will make some beautiful pens. Oh, and I found a small piece of pau amarillo, which didn’t have the usual bright yellow, but was softer in color and had a pinkish streaking throughout it. That piece was only about a foot long by 8” wide by an inch, but would make at least one nice tray or plaque. And finally, I picked up a piece of the whitest holly that I have seen to date. Again the piece was about 6” wide and a foot long and an inch deep, but for small things like jewelry and accents or ornaments, it would do fine.
I suppose we did get a bit after all.
On our way home, we stopped at Bernie’s to unload. He wasn’t there (probably at his camp) but we decided to take stock in what we had there and sort. That is when reality hit and we saw the huge variety of nice wood we had. These were all 1-2” boards that were all 8” or wider and anywhere from 3-4 feet long. Besides the addition of the wood above, we had in stock oak, walnut, maple, birch, grey elm, hickory and mahogany. That is in addition to what we have here that is all dressed and planed to various usable thicknesses. There was not enough room on the large shelf that Bernie has designated for our use. There were probably five boards left over and we will have to consult with him as to where to store them.
It was a good thing for us to take inventory and really see what we had. There were many species of wood that we had truly forgotten about. The bottom line is that there is enough there for a year’s worth of project (if not several years) and if there isn’t enough of one particular species, I think the best thing to do would be to pick something else. Everything we have is nice and it is time to use it instead of “collect” it.
The day was really fun. We stopped at our favorite diner in Weymouth to have a nice breakfast. They have good food at those “breakfast specials” prices and it was right on our way. It was a mostly sunny day, but cool. We needed jackets to have the top down on the car and actually didn’t put it down until about half way there.
The “road kill” numbers were high though, and there were more than the usual casualties. It must have been the time of year because I don’t remember ever seeing so many dead critters on one trip. It was sad, so I kind of decided to make an “I Spy” type of game of it to lighten the mood. At last count, there were 11.5 on the road and 10.5 on the shoulder and three shoes. There was a tennis shoe and later a child’s shoe, which is kind of customary as far as shoes on the road go, but what struck me as odd was that there was one shiny-ish black business type shoe at one point. Those are a rare find and should qualify for extra points I think.
Once we were in the city though, it was bright and sunny and a beautiful day. We headed right to the two wood places – Halifax Hardwoods and East Coast Hardwoods and were done with both of them by about 11:30. After making a couple of trips there a year, I suppose that the trips get more streamlined, as we pretty much know what each place has to offer and we get our business done and get out of there relatively quickly.
We stopped at a place near East Coast and had a very poor lunch of the saltiest hamburgers we ever had. It was kind of a greasy looking diner but we thought it would be decent because it was quite busy but it proved to win our vote as the “worst hamburgers ever”.
We then went to Michael’s in Dartmouth to look for some casting resin for pens for Keith and were quite disappointed, not only at their lack of selection for that kind of material, but also for their high prices on everything else. No wonder people aren’t doing crafting anymore. It used to be that it would cost less for people to make stuff themselves then to buy it. Now however, in order to buy the supplies to make something it seems to cost far more than if you were to purchase it already made. The Martha Stewart section was the most comical. It seems that Martha could find a way to package just about anything to look la-de-da and charge several times what it was worth. One example was the “Martha Stewart Colored Pencil” set which cost I think $39. It is funny that you could get the same size set of pencils at an art store for about half the cost. Everything with the Martha Stewart name on it was grossly overpriced. Oh, and we got to hear announcements over the PA system from Martha herself letting us know how “summer crafting was a good thing.” I am sure for Martha it was. Someone had to pay for her lawyers. But I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. (And no – I didn’t buy a thing!)
We then went to the mall and walked through the entire thing – again not getting anything. I suppose I just don’t “need” anything. I think it is good to be happy with what I have and not wanting all the time. I must be happy. Nothing at all appealed to me and we began to wonder why we were even there. We walked out again without spending a penny.
Our final stop in the Halifax/Dartmouth area was to Lee Valley Tools. Keith had wanted to get some things for his pens and try a couple of new kits. He did get some things there, but not really a lot. Again, there is nothing that I wanted or needed. We began to head home.
We went through New Minus on the way home, which is a good sized town with decent shopping and made a stop at the Home Depot there, just to look. I did buy some blue painter’s tape there, but other than that we came up empty. Keith has been looking for letter and metric drill bits that don’t cost an arm and a leg and they didn’t have any metrics or lettered ones at all. I have been hunting for the Gorilla Glue Wood Glue to no avail. Not one store has it of all that I checked. Maybe they don’t even have it in Canada yet.
I can honestly say I am all shopped out for quite a while. As I said earlier, we stopped at Bernie’s on the way home to drop off the wood and headed home. I am sure that subsequent road trips this summer won’t really involve any lumber places anytime soon. I just don’t want to keep buying more and not use what I have. It goes against my “minimalist” lifestyle that I like so much.
It was good to get out and get it out of my system though. We tend to romanticize things like trips to the wood store and dream about them and such and in reality sometimes it is just too much. If I were being totally honest with you, I would say that I don’t have any need to go back for at least a year. If not more. With the small stuff I make, there is plenty there for literally hundreds of projects. And that is no exaggeration.
Part of finding happiness I believe is knowing when to say when. I can’t see how living in constant want of more could be a good thing for me. It is like leaving the table when you have had enough to eat, even though the meal is great. It is sometimes hard to do, but it is far better than feeling over fed and bloated.
Now comes the fun part – seeing the wood transformed into beautiful things. I find that will bring me the most joy and happiness and satisfaction. And hopefully some others will benefit from it too.
I hope you all have a great day today. I’ve got some drawing to do! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"