My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #86: I'm Baaaack! What a terrific day!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-28-2010 01:42 PM 5505 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 85: Short and Sweet - I'm Heading to the Wood Store! Part 86 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 87: "The Grizz" »

Well you could have all figured that I would be late with the blog this morning. That was kind of a given. We got up at 4:30 yesterday morning and hit the road and we didn’t get home until after 9pm. We were tired, but quite excited and wound up and I didn’t get to bed until after midnight. I woke at 5:15 this morning and got a drink of water and went promptly back to bed. It just wasn’t time yet!

What an incredible day we had! It was perfect from start to finish. It was fun, relaxing, educational and most of all inspiring. There are so many ideas going around in my head, I don’t know which one to do first! I felt like a child at Christmas time waiting for the morning to come to open presents, but I already got mine. I just have to make them now!

We got to East Coast Specialty Hardwood soon after it opened. It is truly an incredible place. After walking through the office section and being greeted by two bouncy black labs, we made our way through to the warehouse. One of my first stops is always to check out the bins of exotic wood ends. These are small pieces that are already planed to about 3/4” and priced. Here is a picture of the bin area:

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

You can see that it is literally like a candy store of wood! Here are a couple of closer pictures for you all to see:

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

I can imagine Martyn’s shop having something like this for all his beautiful boxes! You guys would all go crazy here! Can you imagine what it would be like if all us Lumberjocks planned a shopping trip to one of these places at once? We would probably clean them out! I had to show what a $40 piece of Ebony looks like. I didn’t get any ebony this time, as I have some of my piece left here, but it sure is pretty!

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

Across the room there are the bins of larger, less exotic wood drop offs. These are usually great for me because of the small size that most of my projects are. A couple of pieces from here really goes a long way for me! We usually scout out these two places first to get a feel for what they have and then move on to some serious wood choosing.

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

(I wonder how many pictures I can post? I guess I will find out, won’t I!)

There is one main isle that all the hard wood is stored. This is one side of it. Notice that there is an upper level and a lower level. Each species is labeled and the length of each board is marked on the end. Lengths vary as do widths so you can really choose exactly what you need. If you need shorter, you go to the other side and they are happy to cut a piece down for you. I love choosing wood this way and it is the only way I will shop for it.

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

Some close ups of the bins:

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

I could have taken more pictures, but I think you get the idea. We spent probably an hour and a half there picking some really cool pieces. As I said the other days, I have a good supply of ‘meat and potato’ wood that I use every day, so this trip I was particular choosy and got to get some new species of wood to try. A couple of pieces that I am really excited about was a piece of Pau Amarillo which I have a particular project in mind for. I found the pieces in the bins of little wood for $4.30 each (I got 2) and they will be perfect for something I was thinking about. The other piece I can’t wait to plane and work with was a piece of Grey Elm. From the pieces they had there that were already planed and dressed, it was really cool looking. I found a nice piece about 3 ft long and 12 inches wide that I can use for several projects, but one in particular that I have in mind. I can’t wait now until we get another day at the shop to get this wood ready for me to cut!

We loaded up the back of the Mustang and filled it pretty good:

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

The back seat fits pieces up to about 3 feet long. Most of the pieces we have were that or less. We did have one piece of Padauk that was a bit longer, but it fit behind the seats pretty well. We even got a nice block of Basswood that we are going to slice and use for segmentation projects. I don’t know if it will work as well as the Maple, but the block of it was only $13 so it was a good time to try. (Later in the day at Michael’s, we saw a block of basswood smaller than the one we got for $42.00!)

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

After we were finished at East Coast, we headed to the other places in the Dartmouth area. The man from East Coast was kind enough to direct me to a place where I could find out about getting some Corian, and even gave me the name of the manager there and told him to tell him he sent me. We found the place quickly enough and I inquired about any ‘scraps’ they have. We talked for a bit and I told him that I was just needed small drop offs for projects I want to try on the scroll saw. He went into the back and gave me a nice sized piece to try, which was about 3/8” thick. He said there was very little that they consider ‘waste’ and that they usually charge about 25 cents a square inch for it. He asked more what I was doing it and I told him there was a project that I was working on for the magazine and he said ‘wait a minute’ and went in the back and got another piece. When I asked him how much I owed him, he said ‘nothing’ and told me it was just laying around. I was really thrilled and I think I will make him something out of it so they can put it in their show room (that is, if I am successful in what I am going to do with it!). I took his business card and hopefully I will have a good source for it in the future. :)

We then went on to Busy Bee Tools to look at the DeWalt planer we are considering and also a band saw. I can’t get any equipment now, as I have no where to put them if I did, but it is fun to plan and it is something to look forward to and think about for the future. I wanted to see these things up close and be able to really look at them.

From East Coast Hardwood Trip Aug 27 2010

We walked in the place, which was pretty big and the manager behind the desk said “Sheila?” I kind of looked up and looked at him and he repeated himself and asked if I was Sheila. I told him I was and he said “from the magazine?” and I said yes. I asked him if I knew him, because I felt really silly not knowing who he was and he said no, that he just knew me from Creative Woodworks and recognized me from my picture and has been a subscriber for years.

I was absolutely floored! I have never ever been ‘recognized’ before and here we were in this big city and in a place where I had never been near and someone knows who I am! It was really kind of cool! I told my partner that we would have to keep the top down on the car the ride home so my big head could fit in it! LOL

We stayed there for a while and the manager Mike was a great tour guide of all the tools. He had (of course) a nice yellow DeWalt saw and asked if I wanted to try it out. I felt silly so I graciously declined (I would have really been nervous!) but he showed me the beautiful work he did when he did demos and classes. He did compound cutting (another thing I want to try to do) and puzzles and he said he had classes every month.

I saw some Olson blades there and snagged some of the 2/0 reverse ones that I am running low on and he offered up some of the Mach 3 blades from his private stash that he gets from a supplier in Ontario that comes in a couple of times a year. He wouldn’t let me pay for the sample blades and gave me a Busy Bee canvas bag too! What a nice man! I told him about all you guys and Lumberjocks and got his email and hopefully we will have a new member here soon. He does all kinds of woodworking and I am sure he will fit in here fine. I plan on sending him some nice patterns as a thank you for his hospitality, as he was saying he needed to get some more stuff that he could teach easily. With Christmas coming up, I want to give him some ornament patterns that he can do and teach. It was a great experience and I feel as if I made a new friend. Being “famous” has its benefits! LOL

We had a wonderful lunch at this awesome grill and ate outdoors in the sun on the patio. The weather was perfect, as it was warm and not windy at all and the sun was shining brightly. It was fun to sit and plan the rest of our day over a great meal.

We stopped at Michel’s crafts where I found some great crystals along with some materials to do some gold leafing that I want to try. Then it was on to the big mall where I treated myself to some Chanel soap (I had birthday money to spend). I found that Chanel goes very well with the smell of sawdust. :)

We then did a few more stops at the mall and made it to our final destination of the day – Lee Valley Tools. They always have something that is fun and while we were there, we picked up two wonderful books – a comprehensive book about band saws and also a finishing book by Bob Flexner. I want so much to learn all about finishing and it is so much information to learn! I have heard so much about Bob and I think that this book will help me be well on my way to at least the basic things I should know. I also (finally) got my hands on some sanding sealer. I just hadn’t been able to find it and haven’t gotten an order together to get some shipped. So it was a great time for me to grab some.

On our way home, we dropped off the new wood at Bernie’s. They were out at their camp and not there, but we were able to cut down that Pau Amarillo so I could at least take that home now. I can’t wait to get back there to get the new wood ready so I can play with it! I probably have enough to keep me going here at least for a short while though. :)

By the time we got home and unloaded, it was nearly ten. I read mail, but didn’t respond because I was just too tired. Jeff wrote yesterday about Halifax Specialty wood, which Grizzman asked me about before I went. I thought that Grizz was talking about East Coast, but I found out last night that there IS another place right near where we were at that is called Halifax Specialty! I don’t know if that is good or bad news! We looked at the store online and it looks quite inviting and like it will be lots of fun. The best part of all is that it is open on Saturday, so it will be easier to go there and see what is what. They do have Aspen which East Coast doesn’t carry and I like to scroll saw so for that reason alone it is worth the trip! Maybe I will get there one more time before the snow comes. :)

So that was my day. I hope you liked seeing the pictures. I should have probably taken more, but I was so caught up in choosing wood, I was glad to take at least that. Today I need to do lots of email returns and stuff and I am trying to get the website updated by today or tomorrow and a mailing out. All the new stuff needs to go up there and also there have been many people with wonderful pictures for my customer’s gallery that I have to post. And then the new project needs to be finished and made into a packet. Then I can start on the other new stuff!

What to do first, what to do first?! It really is fun to have so many cool things to choose from!

Have a wonderful and fun Saturday, everyone!!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

12 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4104 days

#1 posted 08-28-2010 02:01 PM

Sheila, this was so interesting and I loved the pictures. I was just curious – do these people ship the smaller pieces of wood by UPS or is it just for local pickup?

Well, it certainly sounds like that you have had a real nice trip and I’m glad that everything went well and that you arrived home safely. I hope that you can make room for the band saw and planer in your shop real soon.

Thanks for making this post and giving us this report and all of the wonderful pictures of that beautiful wood.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4158 days

#2 posted 08-28-2010 02:11 PM

I believe that they ship anywhere. It is just the cost and I like to pick my own. The other place that Jeff and Grizz mentioned, Halifax Specialty Hardwoods seems like they have a more comprehensive web presence and they also say they ship. I would imagine if you ask they will set up something. I know shipping from Canada TO the States is much cheaper than shipping from the States to Canada. They throw on lots of taxes and duties here. :(

I am glad you liked the pictures. It was a great time!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4104 days

#3 posted 08-28-2010 02:21 PM

Thanks, I’ll check it out. We sell hardwood and mouldings locally – nothing fancy – just the regular cabinet woods so I don’t ever have much of a chance to work with any of these fancier woods. Anyways, I appreciate it.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4274 days

#4 posted 08-28-2010 02:48 PM

Great pictures, very jealous now. Especially of that piece of Ebony. I don’t normally see it that large in the UK. I’d spend hundreds in that wood shop.

Anyway I am now thrilled that I know someone famous.

Also glad you got some sanding sealer, lets us know what you think. I use wax over it because its a really quick and easy finish to do, finishing is not my area of expertise. You must polish the wax out properly though (buffing wheel) or finger prints show up very easily.

Now I wonder how much a flight over there would be and what the baggage allowance is?

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Abbynormal's profile


34 posts in 4073 days

#5 posted 08-28-2010 02:51 PM

Wow what an awesome collection of wood, get in a lot of trouble visiting those places :)

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4541 days

#6 posted 08-28-2010 06:16 PM

well you trip came out just like i hoped it would..i imagined it all that way…sure will be happy for you when the day comes that you can buy a bandsaw and planer…i take it you dont have a spare bedroom in your house…i would set it up with those tools right away if that is what i had…for what you do…it would get you by until you had a small shop to use…...well know how us wood workers are…if it would let me wood work..i might set it up in my livingroom…lol…dont need tv…when i can watch the bandsaw or planer run…lol…..priorities…lol…....happy for ya sheila…now where is that project you teased me with….......grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View tdv's profile


1203 posts in 4308 days

#7 posted 08-28-2010 07:07 PM

You just made us all jealous (just kidding) in the UK where I live we had a local craft supply shop who sold some really interesting exotics in short ends but he went out of business a couple of years ago & now it’s hard to find pretty wood, you struck gold & unfortunately it’s too long a drive for me & I’d probably get my feet wet.(ha ha!)
Blessing & make good things

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4080 days

#8 posted 08-28-2010 07:14 PM

I am sooo jealous. We have nothing like that nowhere near here. I luck up on ways to get good hardwood every now and then. For the most part though I have to either work with what I can get or shop the big box stores for construction grade and then plane it down to what I need (wasted wood, which I hate).


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4353 days

#9 posted 08-29-2010 02:38 AM

´waaoow what a fantastic day you and your partner spend together in those places
don´t worry about the green glow over the horisont its just me with an empty vallet
wisching I cuold go bananas in those places we have nothing like that here in Denmark

thank´s for sharing it


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4158 days

#10 posted 08-29-2010 02:59 AM

I am finally getting time to write and do some emails. I have been watching the nice comments all day but was a (fairly) good girl and didn’t play on the computer until I finished! I got some major things I had to get done today and just finished now.

Man am I tired though! Running around for fifteen hours sure takes its toll on this old girl!

@Martyn – How big is the ebony you get? I thought for some reasons you got much larger pieces than that. I had/have one board that size and took a couple of ‘slices’ off of it that are about 3/16” thick. I have used them for my whale pins and bat charms, but I really reserve it for the special projects. I may have a question or two about the sanding sealer, as I want to use it soon and try it out. :)

@ Grizzman – we don’t have any room to spare. I really would hate to move now because in every other way this place is ideal. We are considering asking around about renting a shop somewhere near, but we will have to see. I bought a lottery ticket yesterday but that didn’t pan out so for now, we just have to work hard and dream!

To the rest of you guys – I never knew of a place like that even in Chicago that had that kind and quality of wood. Then, yesterday Jeff tells me about Halifax Specialty Hardwood and now I have TWO places to go! That is really going to be something if the other place is as good as this. But I watch money very carefully and allow myself only what I afford. I really live very simply within my means (besides my one little Chanel indulgence!) and I don’t really do anything but work. It is great because I do love my job as you know and it doesn’t give me much time to spend what little extra money I have. Since I go there only a couple of times a year, the trip is very well planned out and I have a set amount I can spend. I don’t do jewelry, fancy clothes, vacations or other things like ‘normal’ people and I really try to take care of the things I have so they last me long. :) One day when I am rich and famous I will have a killer shop like lots of the people here. Until then, I will dream with the rest of you and make due (happily!) with the nice set up I have and take pleasure in days like yesterday! :D

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4256 days

#11 posted 08-29-2010 03:06 AM

Looks like you had a ball there Sheila! Glad you came away with something. Have fun working with them, I know you will.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4274 days

#12 posted 08-29-2010 01:33 PM

Sheila, I’m used to Ebony in 1 1/2”” square blanks or 3” x 1/2”, both about 18” long. That piece looked much wider and thicker, at the same time. It would seem an ideal size to start from on some of my recent projects.
I usually find myself adapting the construction technique to the materials I have and this can be limiting.

Regarding the sanding sealer, please feel free to drop me a PM with questions.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics