That piece of wood...

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Forum topic by Clarkie posted 08-06-2016 12:14 PM 801 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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481 posts in 2230 days

08-06-2016 12:14 PM

I’m wondering what it is that keeps us holding onto one particular board or boards for that “special thing” we want to make, but never do. Case in point, I came into possession of a beautiful piece of straight grained fur. The board was 4 inches thick and 22 feet long by 26 inches wide. I kept that piece for a little over 5 years, moving it around the shop, tripping over it and periodically admiring such a great stick of lumber. My fellow woodworkers would on occasion tell me what a shame it would be to cut that board, and up till the fifth year, I agreed. Then came the time when I became frustrated moving that stick form here to there while needing space for other projects. I offered it up for anyone to take, but none had the room, yet they strongly urged me not to use it, lol. Well finally I was determined and I took the first cut, making 3 work benches from the stick.
So, my question is, does anyone else have that problem of that perfect piece of stock that they are “saving for something special”?

19 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile


2689 posts in 1611 days

#1 posted 08-06-2016 03:05 PM

Yes, commitment issues!

Fortunately I have ample storage ‘up high’ where those special boards are not under foot. Defining ‘special’ to me means really great grain or ‘rare’. For the great grain boards, if the dimensions are too small to use in a project I’ll figure out a way to just use the wood where it will be best seen (think table tops). Rare stuff gets used for accents, etc. (drawer pulls, small boxes, etc.)

View Aj2's profile


2269 posts in 2187 days

#2 posted 08-06-2016 03:22 PM

Nope I don’t even know what’s it’s like to have a hoard of wood.
I’m always on scout for wood.
And I have no problem cutting up anything I’ve made if I see enough wood there to make something else.
It really is a sickness.
It drives my wife nuts.


-- Aj

View MrRon's profile


5483 posts in 3632 days

#3 posted 08-06-2016 05:20 PM

Believe it or not, I had a piece of 3/4” plywood I kept for years awaiting the proper time to use it. It was made many years ago when 3/4” plywood was exactly 3/4” and had face plys thick enough that you wouldn’t sand through it. It was flat with no voids. I finally used it on a project where a flat surface was needed. I’m always on the lookout for old lumber.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4101 days

#4 posted 08-06-2016 09:13 PM

About two or three weeks ago when buying maple for a project I saw one of THOSE boards and bought it and I know it will hang around until just the right time. Sometimes projects are just in the wings waiting for that special piece of wood, sometimes its the other way around. I may have misunderstood but it seemed that you wrote of GIVING a piece of wood away!...the words are assembled in a syntactically correct way but I just cannot understand that someone would voluntarily GIVE a beautiful piece of wood away LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View onoitsmatt's profile


428 posts in 1565 days

#5 posted 08-06-2016 09:33 PM

Ha Clarkie! My first thought while reading about that piece of wood of yours was “make a couple of workbenches!” Glad you did!

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View Clarkie's profile


481 posts in 2230 days

#6 posted 08-06-2016 11:25 PM

Well, so I’m not the only one with problematic wood storing, lol. Mr Ron, I remember when plywood came in 1 1/2” thicknesses, and when linoleum was a highly sought after answer to bare floors. Mark, always a good idea to buy the wood when you can even if you don’t need it right away. Splinter glad to hear you have adequate storage space for those special pieces, I envy you. I remember another time when I saw a ad in the paper for straight grained fur at very reasonable prices. I went to see what the man had, man what an amazing amount of good fur. The lengths were 16 footers. He had 2×12’s, 2×10’s, 2×8’s, and of course 2×4’s. I asked why he was selling it off, he said he had planned on building a 3 stall garage and it wasn’t going to happen now. The wood was stored under cover for 3 years. I needed 2×12’s for a front porch stairway, so I asked the price of them, get ready, he said I could have any or all for 10 cents a foot. I bought as much as I could manage to store in my shop. I told my friends who were woodworkers and they just blew it off, saying they didn’t need any now. Few months later they were coming by the shop trying to buy what I had in stock, notice the words ‘trying to buy”. They should have bought when I did, but, oh well. Okay, thanks for all your input and stories.

View Ocelot's profile


2234 posts in 3027 days

#7 posted 08-07-2016 12:33 AM

i was walking in the woods one day, about 10 years ago, and came upon a red oak that had been freshly exploded by lightning. a piece caught my eye. i picked it up. still trying to find the perfect thing to do with it.

no caps. typing one handed with toddler in lap

ill take pic soon

View BorkBob's profile


127 posts in 3081 days

#8 posted 08-07-2016 12:33 AM

My grandson is building a huge dining table of cherry. He found some stash on Craigslist and we went to look not expecting much. Well, let me tell you about cherry Nirvana!! The guy has had it stickered and stored in a barn loft for years. We bought, for $1/bd.ft.: 2-4”x4.5”x9’, 8-4”x4.5”x5-6’, 5-6/4×9-11”x5-6’, 6-6/4×7-11”x8-9’. Most of it is clear although there is some checking and cracks.

There is still a truckload of lumber there. More cherry, some white oak, red oak and maple. We did not get too nosy because it was about 110* up there. If he still has it in a few weeks, we may buy it all.

The cherry is in my shop and ad I think on of the 4×4.5×9’ hunks is going to stay there just to look at.

-- Please Pray for Our Troops / Semper Fi / Bob Ross /

View BurlyBob's profile


6216 posts in 2654 days

#9 posted 08-07-2016 02:13 AM

I’ve got a piece of black walnut with some incredible grain characteristics. I’m hanging on to it till I can find someone who can resaw it so I can book match a table top.

View Clarkie's profile


481 posts in 2230 days

#10 posted 08-07-2016 02:37 AM

BurkBob, nice score on the cherry for sure. I’d go back and get the rest, good stock is getting harder to find. Hello Burly Bob, how big a piece is that walnut? Always enjoy working with walnut and cherry, just a pleasure to work. I’m reminded of another story, a friend gave me a call asking if I had any wormy chestnut in stock. He was making a top for a Stanley 45 box, and needed enough for the top piece. I told him no, I didn’t have any at the time, but to wait and see if I could locate some. Just so happened that weekend while at a garage sale, the guy who was having the sale, asked if anyone needed any lumber. I asked what type of wood, he responded, “wormy chestnut”, lol. For the sum of 10.00 he filled my pick up with wood. I called my friend and he had gone ahead and ordered some from a distributor, costing him about 35.00 with shipping. Funny how things happen.

View bondogaposis's profile


5399 posts in 2740 days

#11 posted 08-07-2016 03:39 AM

I have been holding on to a big leaf maple burl slab for over forty years through 6 moves, Hell I’ve never had a wife last that long. I guess I should make something with it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1788 days

#12 posted 08-07-2016 06:12 AM

no caps. typing one handed with toddler in lap

ill take pic soon

- Ocelot

I’ve typed single-handed many times, and never used it as an excuse to not use caps. With either hand, pinky on shift key and thumb or index finger on target letter key or thumb of shift key and pinky or ring finger on target letter key, depending on which hand I’m using and which side of the keyboard the target key is on.

Do take pix and show us!

I was determined and I took the first cut, making 3 work benches from the stick.

- Clarkie

If you have not already, show and tell us on the Workbench Smackdown thread, please.

View Clarkie's profile


481 posts in 2230 days

#13 posted 08-07-2016 10:48 AM

Hello Bondo, man, talk about commitment, 40 years for that piece of “special stock”. I have an acquaintance that has had 4 wives and 8 moves and still has the car he is going to complete one of these days, lol. Splatman, the benches made from that stick happened over 35 years ago, sorry no pics available.

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 2903 days

#14 posted 08-07-2016 12:07 PM

I have a declining load of 1876 oak from a barn in SW Pennsylvania, but I do use it very rarely.

My one piece that is being hoarded is an unreplacable place of chestnut that came out of a different barn. About 12-14” wide, and almost 5’ long, 1” thick, I have only ever made one thing out of it that I can remember, the face on my first guitar that I ever built. It was also from the 1880 era. I look at it a lot, but cannot bring myself to put a saw to it.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Clarkie's profile


481 posts in 2230 days

#15 posted 08-07-2016 12:18 PM

Hello Paul, well, reverence takes many forms. Funny how once you do use that special board it comes to life most times and is much appreciated by others. I think this may open another topic in the future, about what is the oldest tool that is still in use by you, how long it has been the favorite. My first hand tool was an 1895 Stanley 45 with the cutters and box. It is still with me in my toolbox, like an old friend.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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