Tuesday, May 19, 2009

About Face or Fickle Maple Bar

Have I mentioned how much I love being at the Squash House? If I wouldn't miss Mr. Squash so much, I would ask him to leave me here! He snapped a lot of great photos for me today. Here is the "patio blogger" hard at work with today's post - actually done last evening. The little Netbook was a great purchase and I wish I could thank whomever's wireless network I'm using in the neighborhood!

Ted, our builder, took us to Jensen's Hardwood today to make a final pick of the maple for our "maple bar". We looked at quite few pieces, but all of them had one "issue" or another. Mr. Jensen has an amazing amount of hardwoods in several buildings. Before I get to the "about face", I thought I would give you a little tour of his place. Monica, I hope you're reading today because I know how much you love wood, too! This is how the wood comes to Mr. Jensen - no trees are intentionally harmed in the making of his goods! They all come from downed trees, damaged trees, salvaged wood, etc. Norm Abram is seen on This Old House programs combing through places like this on the east coast.

Once the trees are sawed into planks, he stacks them in the back of his yard until they are sufficiently dry. Furniture makers flock to places like this! When the customer finds wood to purchase, he rolls the planks to the shop building on these homemade carts with wheels from train cars! Recylcing is the name of the game here!
While Ted and Mr. Jensen were discussing the only possible piece of maple with bark still attached that would work for our project, I started wandering the different rooms of his shop area. I walked way into the back of one room and immediately called out to Mr. Squash....I found something, and it wasn't anything we had in mind! It was still maple, but it was an entire maple burl plank! I had never heard of burl wood coming in such large planks! We started to get really excited about this piece of wood! I ran to tell the guys that I had found something I thought would work! Mr. Jensen knew immediately which piece I had found.

Ted made some measurements and we quickly agreed this was the way to go! Now the plank was over 2 1/2" thick, and we only needed 1 1/2", so Mr. Jensen said he would plane it down for only $15.00! Below are the fellows feeding the plank through the planer. Because so much was being removed, he had to unhook the vacuum which got clogged immediately.
Check out the sawdust coming out of the planer! We filled up and entire double trash barrel with sawdust!
And here is the beauty below. I wasn't able to edit any of these photos, so I hope they look good when you see them. The plank itself is about 12.5 feet long! We are only using 74" of its length and taking a few inches off each side. We will no longer have a rough edge like we originally planned, but the trade-off is the incredible burl texture! I wish you could see it in person!
It will be stained a slightly darker color than the butcher block counters, but all will coordinate well! It was a very good day!
I brought my crocheting with me for Babette, but we've been so busy I haven't had time for it. I spent most of last evening after dinner weeding part of the garden and enjoying the warmth of the evening with Mr. Squash on the patio! More tomorrow from the kitchen!

17 comments:

onlymehere said...

As a cabinetmaker I found this post fascinating! I can hardly wait to see this maple bar. Your home is so beautiful and intriguing with it's unique elements. That sewing room is a dream come true and I can hardly wait to see it all set up!

Carrie ~ said...

You maple burl counter is fabulous. It is so exciting finding the perfect piece for your project. I felt that way picking out my pine log mantle!! Looking forward to seeing the kitchen.

Sherri said...

So interesting...can't wait to see more!

happy zombie said...

Oh you KNOW how I *wood* love to read about this. Fascinating, Candace... simply fascinating. And I imagine it smelled so good there too. The entire process was so interesting. And the best part... you didn't have to stack a thing! BTW... I still get an occasional reminder in one of my arms from all that stacking.

I love the shot of you on your netbook with SHQ in view. Too cute. You're too cute!

Linda B said...

The Maple Bar is gorgeous. Isn't it funny how things that are meant to be just POP up? Way to go!

Kaaren said...

I have an antique burled maple wash stand and I love it. The patina that comes with age will be amazing. Great choice, Candace!

You certainly lucked out with your contractor by the sound of things.

Linda said...

I'm not really sure what a burl texture is, but it's a beautiful piece of timber, lucky you for finding it.

Stephanie said...

It's going to be just gorgeous. Sometimes I don't know what I want but I know it when I see it.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

This was the coolest story of a maple bar! Thank you for sharing. And you have the most awesome bar ever.

Jackie said...

The counter top is fantastic! Can't wait to see it installed.

Love to hear about places that are stilling making it while hand crafting!

Ulla said...

Perfect find! I know birch burl wood and can imagine how beautiful your maple burl bar will be.

Anonymous said...

Your piece of maple is beautiful. The photos of his workshop remind me so much of my uncles in the state of Maine. He has long since passed but I can still remember the smell of wood and sawdust there and love it. What fun for you. Sounds like contentment! Louise

Mel said...

Hmmm, I love the smell of a wood shop!

Fun tour, thanks!

Karen said...

Candace, I have been offline for a week and missing your blog :( I love the wood!
Karen

sewtakeahike said...

it's beautiful Candace! I love that you were able to take pics of the planing process!

Anita said...

This is really fascinating! It reminds of my father-in-law who said to me once, "I know a guy who has a log". He truly had a log that he cut up and we used in repairing an old church pew. That burled Maple is amazing!

Joanna said...

This is just fascinating!! Can't wait to see the counter finished. How wonderful to pick out the exact piece you wanted!