Originally Posted By: northern hewer
Hi everyone tonight

I am used to reconstructing period structures with all their little imperfections, that is what gives the old buildings their magical looks--

somehow I think that the modern clients expect too much from you guys!!--wood will shrink,check, split,twist, have funny little stains (in the wrong spots) is there anyting else that I have missed--please jump in and let us know what other weird properties that wood has


As Tim suggests, perhaps "imperfections" doesn't quite define it… Idiosyncrasies, signatures, details, traits, etc. might be more apt.

Wood's flammability is only an imperfection in the eyes of the fire chief and insurance man. But in the woodstove, flammability is very much appreciated. Perfection is an honorable goal, but it's important to preserve the idiosyncrasies, signatures, details and traits of wood and those who work it.

Wood is a wonderful medium. The colors are like moods; the grain patterns become signatures; knots are like fingerprints: you could look at a thousand and not find its twin.

Other weird properties are sounds, smells—even dust, I suppose. A piece of hardwood has a distinct resonance when dropped on the shop's cement floor. Nailing softwood two-by lumber makes its own reverberation. Freshly-cut birch smells like peppermint; oak is almost ammonia-like; pine--well, that makes for a nice scented pillow customers like.

And those "magical looks." I would like to see some of those period structures with all their little "imperfections" you appreciate and speak off, NH... Like Tim said, a slip of the axe is its own beautiful signature.

I think wood is like language in a way. Different languages help define cultures, help record their idiosyncrasies. I'm glad there are different species of wood to choose from. The world would be a dull place if we all spoke the same tongue.

Don Perkins
Member, TFG

to know the trees...