This article is compliments of Paul Miller; Retired wood boat builder; Hobby furniture maker. Paul also writes for Lumber Jock (LJ) Blog as ‘Shipwright’.
“I love to think outside the box and I love to do things I’ve never tried before. Almost every project I start involves design as you go flexibility and at least a couple of things that I hope I can accomplish but that I’m not sure I can. I try to use local hardwoods when I can rather than commercial “store bought” material. I like that it gives a feeling of heritage to the piece.” PM
On a recent trip to Europe, Paul made a special visit to Les Fils de J. George in Paris. He says “to some Paris may be the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, or the palace at Versailles…………….
They are fine and I did see them but the real attraction for me this trip was an old building out on Rue Gallieni where some of the last sawn veneer in the world can be found. I won’t get into singing the praises of this stuff here but suffice to say that at about ten times the price of the common sliced veneer what we see here is pretty special.
About a month ago, we received an email from a supplier commenting on the strengthening US dollar and it’s affects on the increasing cost of lumber. This is an upward trend that is a double-edged sword for Canada; a country reliant on exports and a robust trading partner with the US.
“The Hardwood Review Weekly has had two recent articles that offer an explanation as to why lumber has been in tight supply and prices have been on an increase. Here is a condensed version covering their basic content:
“Overproduction No Longer Inevitable – Several Reasons Why Supply Won’t Overtake Demand Anytime Soon” by Andy Johnson, Editor
Source: Hardwood Review Weekly, November 29, 2013 (Vol. 30, Issue 11)
Source: Hardwood Review Weekly, December 6, 2013 (Vol. 30, Issue 12)
Supply Side Constraints to Increasing Production:
- Fewer sawmills (many grade and tie mills have closed and were dismantled)
- Limited capital availability (credit requirements have tightened considerably for hardwood companies)
- Labour shortage (pool of qualified loggers, sawyers, graders and machine operators is quite low)
- Highly competitive timber/log markets (rapidly rising lumber prices have mills eager to buy as much raw material as they can afford)
Jan and I have traveled north – beyond on the rapids – to The Broughton Archipelago on three occasions since 2004. We have always been the smallest, oldest and most wooden boat up there. It is a go-to destination for yachts, mega-yachts and super-mega yachts without a doubt.
Being ‘bookie’ people, we have quite a library aboard. We collect books on natural and cultural history, on local stories – from then and now and of course, the various boating bibles on the go-to destinations. If you read my articles, you’ll know we love to mix travel and timber-talk as much as possible…..and what better occasions to see the industry in action. These books spin a tale of hard work and the pioneering spirit, industry growth and decline…..and reinvention. Up in the Broughton’s, you can ‘live’ history.
I have discovered a fabulous synopsis of the History (150 Years) of the Forest Industry in BC. This is credited to The Historical Thinking Project at www.historicalthinking.ca. This project is committed to the incorporation of historical thinking into curriculum, classrooms and educational resources. Can’t argue that!
By our customer and Victoria High Teacher, Stewart Wheeler
Victoria High School’s woodworking and construction program starts at the grade 9 level and gives student’s the opportunity to take up to 7 different courses by the time they graduate. In grade 9 students do a simple table -600mm long by 285mm wide by 440mm high out of pine or another inexpensive wood. They will also build a giftbox using a choice of different woods. In grade 10, students will do a detailed display table that introduces a variety of wood joints and techniques – biscuited mitres, mortise and tenon, pocket holes, dados, rabbets, cross laps. They will also be introduced to turning on the wood lathes by producing a simple bowl. The last required project is a box of their selection out of a “Box by Box” book from Lee Valley which has a range of boxes that vary in difficulty.
This wood is my absolute favourite of favourites. Quite simply, it has a richness that speaks to my senses like a fine cognac long-aged in French oak barrels, or perhaps your preference is Grand Marnier. My kitchen cabinets are made from yew, as are many of our doors here at West Wind Hardwood, and upon returning from time away, I am always struck by how extraordinary this richly coloured, unique wood is.
There are many, many species of yew; one of the more common is English yew. The name “Yew” comes from the Proto-Germanic “īwa-“and with a possible origination from the Gaulish “ivos” referring to the colour brown. Our local species is known as Pacific yew, western yew, American yew, Oregon yew, bow-plant, mountain mahogany.
Long associated with magic, death and rebirth/eternal life; attributed with magical and psychic abilities, yew was one of the ‘nine sacred woods’ used in the ritual fires of the Celts, and as a ‘totem’ tree by Celtic tribes. Reincarnation has always held a fascination for me; multiple lives and such. I hold the concept lightly having had no first-hand experiences but I was recently informed that I have lived three previous lives; my first as a female warrior in Pre-Roman Britain which I find curious considering the importance the yew tree held in these times. Perhaps some heed should be given to Hamlet’s words: ‘…There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’
A Norweigan housing cooperative (BOB) has revealed plans to build what is said to be the world’s largest apartment block.
Totalling 14 stories and overlooking the cities famous Fjords, BOB hopes to promote sustainable materials while boosting the county’s forestry industry.
“The biggest challenge in building a 14-storey wooden building is preventing big swings amid strong winds,” Commented BOB.
When completed the building will contain a rooftop terrace, a Japanese garden, an indoor patio, a glass façade and views of the fjord. Hopefully ready for sale by early 2014.
To cut down construction time, the building will be made from prefabricated modules and stabilized by diagonal timber structures.
photo by:(Flickr: kalevkevad)