Craigslist is the epitome of entropy.
I've never haunted the online classified site much, but our recent search for a new place has lead me to put an app on my cell phone that reads the site. Of course this has lead me to peruse both the "Tools" and the "Materials" areas. No tools have caught my eye, I've gotten down to some very specific things I'm looking for in that area and I'm probably never gonna find those among the mounds of used air compressors and Cold War Era power tools. I hadn't found much in the materials area either. Until.
I found a man selling around 70 board feet of rough saw 4/4 white oak for $100. As it happens I wanted to use white oak for my next project. A carved, joined 17th century chest for my oldest daughter's 16th birthday. At a buck forty three a board foot it seemed like a pretty good deal to me. I sent off an email and the next day he answered with a phone number and address.
I borrowed my father's pickup and went for a drive out into the country. I never really got the whole story but the man had some connection to a saw mill and a kiln, and the white oak looked good so I ponied up the bills. Then, like any good used car salesman or illicit drug pusher, he pointed to another stack of dead tree sitting in his garage and said something like "I'm looking to sell this stack of curly red oak too if you'd be interested."
I had to stop and figure out if I had heard him correctly. I had never heard a curly flavor of oak before. I looked through the stack and there was a lot of it, around 60+ board feet. and not just lightly figured or narrow boards. Wide and highly figured stock.
I'm not much for rare or exotic woods. I admit I love to look at the use of Tiger Flame Maple is Glen Huey's work. It's incredible looking, I just figured I would never have the chance to work with such stock. I buy my lumber on a budget and by the project. I debated and fiscal responsibility lost out. I pulled out some emergency cash I keep in my wallet and ponied up.
As I drove away I had a little buyer's remorse. I was on a schedule so I piled the boards in my shop and left. But as I did some research that night and thought about it I got a little more excited. The next day I got back out to the shop and took another look at the boards. I was impressed all over again. The stuff is fantastic and special. Even with the rough skim planing that had been done to the boards they sang. If I can get these planed and smooth and finished properly . . . . they will be an amazing part of a project.
I keep thinking about James Kernov's books that I've read and the piles of stock he would buy by the flitch to be selected for the perfect cabinet doors later. I'm kind of working backwards on this project, usually I select my project and choose my stock based on that. This time I have some mind blowing stock that is inspiring thoughts of a project. It's kind of exciting.
I'm not going to rush into it, I'm going to let it percolate for a while, but it's fun to think and plan.
Ratione et Passionis