October 7, 2010

Wood, Precious Wood

The woodworker has a special relationship with wood. There's a deep appreciation and respect for the look, the smell, the feel, the way it planes, the color and the grain pattern. The Japanese believe that wood's beauty comes from the beauty of the soul of the living tree. I'd say I have to agree. Last Thursday a few classmates and I drove two hours north to a small town called Redway to meet Dan Primerano and view his private collection of wood. 

Dan gets most of his logs from fallen trees in the forest or through friends and acquaintances that clear their land. He mills his own lumber on a hydraulic mill and stacks it for a few years to dry. He has an impressive array of claro walnut, black walnut, madrone, eucalyptus, maple, chestnut, and many other local and exotic woods. The intent of the trip was to purchase some eucalyptus for a classmate's project and any other wood that one of us couldn't walk away without, but it became very clear that Dan was not willing to part with most of his wood. He was too emotionally invested in each and every piece. He did, however, spend four hours with us talking about his furniture and his wood collection. He allowed us to rummage through the stacks, and pull boards down to plane on them to expose the beauty of the rough lumber. In the end, my classmate found the perfect eucalyptus for the legs of his project. It's colors are the pink-blue-white of a rainbow trout.

On the way back, we stopped at a nice deli and had lunch in Garberville's town square and then stopped off at a beautiful swimming hole to spend some time in the water and the sun.

Admiring the view from Branscombe Road
Lily the cat helps out at the shop
Michele planes a piece of madrone
Dan explains the milling process
The hydraulic mill
Time for a swim!
Fog fills the valley

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