The old time woodshop journals #33: Return from the storm

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 11-02-2012 10:07 PM 1542 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 32: All the things of wood and wonder Part 33 of The old time woodshop journals series Part 34: Back at the log »

My words from my last project began with…..

“Well friends I am here inland in NJ, they say the storm known as Hurricane Sandy is fast approaching us.”

My friends I am here to write that it approached, and sadly this time she wasn’t a very kind lady at all to the tri-state area. For me and my family I am amazed, blessed and happy to report all is well and we have electric back as of yesterday morning. For millions the Jersey Shore has simply been blitzed, almost reminds me of being a kid in the dirt pile outside with little matchbox cars and army men swooping some sand over the little make believe town. When we were children we never think make believe disasters provide real fears or harm, they just pass some hours of pretend.

But this time there was no pretending and no toys, just homes gone, memories lost in the seas of mother nature. We were in the dark for 2 1/2 days without smart phones just plain cells conserving energy and food. No gas stove so we rigged a country styled cook-in over the fireplace and tried to keep happy and grateful to be far inland away from the monstrous floods so many dealt with.

Some good old fashioned battery radio with updates and our police scanner non stop with police, emt’s, and countless workers moving non stop to try and make some small solace of a maddening swirling wind.

I have lived in NJ my whole young life and I realize we are fairly a greenhorn state when discussing rough weather. We are not very battle tested when mother nature sends some tilting of the storm scales our way. We get a few heavy snow storms per year heavy thundershowers things like that, but this time I can say we got caught by something that in my opinion is now a game changer regarding preparation and future real estate placement.

The earth is changing all of the time, no more than simple logic is tapping us on the shoulder as the wicked waves of clouds and possible destruction churn every few months on the weather map.

As the night got fairly cold I began to learn the humble lessons weather can throw your way. I began to also admit how bad this storm was this time around, no over hype it was really going to have it’s high winded ways.
With all of that considered the actuality of it compared to so many other horrible weather events in our country or across the globe I would say that Sandy was not the worst in the category of overall catastrophe. The following days displayed that we are just not an environment of people that have adapted to tougher climates and situations here in NJ. With that thought I will conceed a ton of destruction and damage was done. We just need to learn a little more patience and put down our gadgets.

I would love to paint a brother and sister love thy neighbor scenario, but this would be a false impression to spin to my readers from my keyboard to your monitors.

I saw a few more impatient and impolite people personally than I care to admit. Lines of people standing and many arguing over gas. Most of the standing crowd early on could not even think of being without power for a day so they needed to fill there generators up.

As I currently write this, sadly there are still an incredible amount of cold folks with no power who I am sure are at wits end. I really hope and pray they get power as soon as possible, especially for the elderly.

Flipping the coin and wanting to inject some optimism there are some great folks helping and doing amazing work as well. For my personal accounts I did not get the feeling it was as many as I would like, although I suppose my wishes are far more corny almost huck finn than most people act in these busy times.

Finally on this part of the story I add my deepest condolences to the many people that lost any family or homes.

Now attempting to regain some additional positive ground I think it’s high time to introduce some good old fashioned out in the sticks wood stuff!....How about it LJ’s?? Tough times in the neighborhood but we still gotta keep it sawing!

I was extremely blessed that my home, family, and friends are all ok and no trees for the most part damaged any homes or vehicles. But we did have some big ole mamas and papas fall in my back woods!

2 days after the storm I was out to the grounds. The sunshine made a cameo exposing some real treasures…..Cherry….Cherry….and did I say…Cherry?? If you have been hip to my spoon making blog work than you know I love, love, love, Black Cherry wood…just some great stuff for making those wooden spoons!

For a guy like me this was some pirate wood treasure abounds lads and lasses! Arrrrgh…look at all this branch work fallen and just waiting for some sawdust!

I was an adrenalized downright goof almost slobbering at the thoughts of firing the old keystone 2 man saw up and having a workout hauling some sweet cherry back to the shop.

I am dam sure that many would rightly cuss any sign of a tree at this horrible time, all the more I want to take these old time pieces back and put all of my soul into them. Make something to warm a heart and remind us that the tree is all apart of life even though sometimes it can damage, harm or kill us. Nature has that marveling complexity…the grand beautiful experiences of it can sometimes weave into something that can raise the highest of hells.

Out to the woods we go!

Pic 1: There she fell friends, a big ole cherry tree giving me some work well into the winter for some carving, spooning, and treenware learning!

Pic 2-4: A pretty darn good amount of stock here to choose from indeed.

Pic 5: Out here where the sticker vines are minding your manners…lol

Pic 6: Nature set it all up for this spoon guy. A great split from the fall right where I would have done it…...this will be a future blog and spoon because this is telling me where to start the journey! My trained eye already tells me, 2 spoons for the split.

Pic 7: Yikes …..I’d better get sawing instead of playing photographer….lol. This is all going to eventually be hand sawn. Let the madness…....begin!

Pic 8: A nice guy in the summer selling what he had from his garage at the auction had this big boy just sitting underneath some rakes and garden stuff….....feeling the teeth a bit I asked….”How much for the saw?”.......”10 bucks”........SOLD!....LOL. Friends the blade is a mere virgin… worries for the sharpening this one pretty much sat untouched for years in his garage.
I converted the 2 man to a single operation sliding the handle down and got the shoulders fired up and watching the sawdust sail all the while smelling better all the time! Sweet Cherry!!!!!

Pic 9-10: Train your eyes if you looking to sport a good spoon. All of the early craftspeople did this all the way from wheelrights on up the line. They all eventually trained the eyes to see the shapes in nature…then started at getting the stock cut. This can become a fun game, a woodworkers puzzle if you like. Next hike see in nature where the spoons, walking sticks, bowls etc. are in the trees.

Well gang I sure appreciate if you hung in there and read this longer than usual blog….lol. I got a nice 40% of this stock cut down in this session and it was a sure job to get it there….lol.

I once more send me prayers and best wishes to all in need. I still need fuel for my trucks and more food…hoping that will be less of a struggle by Monday. Keep calm to any locals that may read, let’s work together.

To all of my good friends I sure thank you for your comments and positive wishes. I hope to get back to normal soon in my lifestyle and bring more woodwork your way!

Thank you for your time and inspirations, be good to each other!



-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

8 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35223 posts in 5179 days

#1 posted 11-02-2012 11:51 PM

make great use of all the new found timber.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2853 days

#2 posted 11-02-2012 11:53 PM

Hi Joe,

Thanks for writing this post. Here in Eastern Canada, short of a few historical ice storms, we really haven’t had to deal with such a catastrophe. I find it interesting to hear how people react and how people manage.

Take care

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4878 days

#3 posted 11-03-2012 05:09 AM

Glad to hear you did not lose your home as so many have and that your family is safe.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View woodpezzer's profile


124 posts in 2982 days

#4 posted 11-03-2012 05:50 AM

Hey Joe, I’m glad you made it through the storm relatively unscathed. It seems these events are hitting us here in the states with increasing intensity and frequency. We’re still working on clearing the mess from a brutal 100mph storm in 09. It takes time. I hope you and all those affected by “Sandy” are back to normal soon.

It’s great that you found a nice supply of wood to carve. Like you, I often find myself visualizing a spoon or walking stick in an interesting looking limb. Nice photography—I got a kick out of the little spoon drawing!

Take care and keep writing and creating!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30552 posts in 3116 days

#5 posted 11-03-2012 06:45 AM

Glad you came through fine. Very sad situation. I do hope you’re able to salvage some of mother nature’s cast off’s.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3582 days

#6 posted 11-03-2012 10:18 AM

Glad you and your family fared well. Mother Nature is a beast. Sadly, you can only prepare for such devastation, but, still are never really ready for it. I wish the best for many still without any of our “luxuries”.. I’ve sent my donation. I did it for Katrina, I’ll continue to do it as I can. God bless all the good folks helping out.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Brit's profile


8079 posts in 3621 days

#7 posted 11-03-2012 11:50 AM

Nice to know you’re OK Joe. It is difficult to plan for events as big as Sandy. Even if you try to cover all the bases, mother nature can throw you a curve ball.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Doug's profile


1152 posts in 3539 days

#8 posted 11-03-2012 05:13 PM

As with the others I am also glad to hear that you and your family are safe. In Sept. 2009 my family and I were without power for about six days. A storm came through the area and power went down all over the place. Times like these can do one of two things, it can bring out the best in people or it can bring out their worst. I suppose which side comes out depends on the choices we make.

Thanks for sharing this life experience with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and those who are going through this.

Enjoy the new harvest of Black Cherry.

-- Doug

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