From There And Back

A Journey by John and Phyllis Wrobel

On December 3, we embarked on our journey to South America aboard the Golden Princess leaving from Los Angeles (temp 64F).

Cabo San Lucas, Puntarenas and Peru all shared desert dunes, high humidity and throngs of people selling everything on the streets.  Alpaca clothing was popular in South America.  Four stops in Chile gave us time to enjoy the lush regions, historic sites, local markets and the Casablanca Valley wine region. Read more

Forest Fact: What’s in a Name?

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Logger – usually refers to a number of workers whose job it is to harvest timber and bring it to a mill. The term “lumberjack” is similar to logger but is not used in BC. It is an eastern North American term.

Faller – Fallers are specialists who may have voluntarily become certified for this dangerous position. They are specifically trained to hand fall trees and are highly skilled.

Forester – usually refers to a Registered Professional Forester (RPF). Foresters have university degrees, or equivalent, specializing in forestry and have spent at least two years articling before passing a rigorous registration exam.

Tech or Technologist – usually refers to a Registered Forest Technologist (RFT). RFTs have a two-year college diploma, or equivalent, in forestry and have spent at least two years articling before passing a rigorous registration exam.

Accredited Timber Cruiser (ATC) – a cruiser is a specialist who is trained to accurately figure out how much and the quality of each tree species is available for harvesting. A cruiser has on-the-job training and must demonstrate competency before being allowed to use the title ATC. Note that RPFs & RFTs may also be ATCs.

Accredited Timber Evaluator (ATE) – a timber evaluator is a specialist similar to an ATC however, the timber evaluator has more experience and is able to supervise a team of cruisers. Like ATCs, ATEs must demonstrate their competency before being allowed to use the ATE designation. Note that RPFs & RFTs may also be ATEs.

My World of Wood

Wood is my world; the world that gives me an opportunity to exist; to raise a family; make my mark in life. The cycle of dependence is large and varied. It’s a world of relative grace and comfort thanks to that wood in those trees. Yet the term ‘wood’ is rather loosely used, and I often wonder what defines ‘wood’ in other people’s worlds.

How do we find wood useful? Could a rough board or an old stump qualify? Some suggest it would best be served in its original ‘tree’ state. Loved but untouched.

Culturally modified & will live to see another day.Culturally modified in a very utilitarian, one-time fashion.

(left) Culturally modified & will live to see another day. (right) Culturally modified in a very utilitarian, one-time fashion.

In a woodworker’s world is there an expectation that ‘wood’ needs to be re-manned; touched by human and/or machine ‘hands’ to be valued? Its form altered; enhanced? Or is wood……..trees…….best left alone; yet even mammals and birds; insects and amphibians do not leave trees unmarked. What is natural?

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Big Trees – Big Dreams

Ballet on Water – Pas de Poisson – Photos by Jan and Shelley Nielsen
Ballet on Water – Pas de Poisson – Photos by Jan and Shelley Nielsen

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.

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Pender Island, BC – A Hotbed for Wood Enthusiasts

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This summer, Jan and I have spent a number of days boating our local waters on Dulwen.  We became reacquainted with Pender and Saturna Islands.  Pender offered a couple of interesting venues for the boaters and woodworkers alike.

Firstly there was the first ever Hope Bay Boat Fest in June. This event was a great opportunity for wooden boat aficionados.  Stay tuned for 2014, it will only be better and West Wind hopes to be involved.

Secondly, the Fall Fair in August offered a slice of old country style farm fun.  Congratulations to customers, David MacKenzie and Sergei Petrov for their winning entries in the Wood Working Division.