A trip to the wood pile! A little eye candy for you custom builders...

Fat Drummer

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As some may know, I work for a large architectural wood supply company. Occasionally I enjoy a in house field trip where I take a water bottle, rag and camera and head out to the lumber building to see if there is any interesting examples to be found.

While many of our branches stock a lot of exotic species, here in my location we stick to the basic residential cabinet or commercial casework preferences (we only have 30,000 feet of room so space becomes a challenge) like hard and soft maple, red and white oak, poplar, walnut, birch, cherry, Pine, basswood, ash and hickory. But that does not mean I cant find some gems in the rough! All our lumber is architecturally graded and dried to between 6 and 8% moisture levels depending on the species so everything is ready to cut and build with.

We have several instruments manufactures that use our location for flamed maple that we cull out from our normal stock for them and I always think that is neat. So on Friday, I roamed out looking to see what may be lurking and here are a few pics of what I found. Remember, I am just poking around in the open piles and when I see something that looks interesting I will wet the rag and wipe the board to pop the grain, emulating what a finish would do.

Sorry for all the pics being vertical, it's just easier to shoot wood that way...

First some nice flamed maple (also referred to as tiger stripe or fiddle back)

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And a cool piece of Ambrosia or wormy Maple (a bit more rare to see it include flamed or curly figuring)

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A little interesting Walnut

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A neat piece of poplar that is very dark with minerals (harvested in the Appalachian Mountains )

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And a great piece of highly figured quilted cherry! And yes, I bought this piece dont you know, It will be a stave or steambent snare one day.

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And here is the sneak peak of a unit we will open this week... looks like a gold mind in there!

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All in all a good day in the wood pile...

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OK, I am done, I just thought it might be fun to see what was out there on any given day from a drum builders perspective. The only piece I actually kept with the cherry, everything else was "catch and release". Let the next hunter find those treasures.

Hope that was a fun look, have a great week!
Ward
 

jccabinets

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Nice looking boards! I wish I had the knowledge/tooling to make drums from solid wood.
 

dawoodude

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I have a sawyer, that cuts standing timber, saws to lumber on a portable mill and operates his own kiln that I visit regularly for my domestics. He understands my needs and leaves me to roam and pick through stock piles to select the "good stuff" as well. I can relate.
 

Fat Drummer

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Thanks guys, I had hopped someone would enjoy the trip out there as much as I do.

Terry, as a builder you really have the best deal in that you are at the very source. We do no machining or surfacing (at least in Chattanooga) so while I have a vast resource of raw stock, I have choose from what shows up, you can actually specify on the front end.

I also find it interesting that on this one short thread are three cabinet guys at the same time (with Jeff at JC of course). I know it's not all that unusual to see drum builders trained in the cabinet industry but I know very few personally, and you guys are two of them. While both of you came up in cabinets and developed the drum side from that, I actually went the other way. I started on the instrument side and went into cabinets much later.

I should reach out and see what you would charge me for a shell from that Cherry stock in my pics. Be watching for an email one day, I would love to have one of your stave shells along with Britt from Salem Street. Then a steam bent shell from Eric. Hey, all it takes is money... now I just need the money!
 

dawoodude

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Thanks guys, I had hopped someone would enjoy the trip out there as much as I do.

Terry, as a builder you really have the best deal in that you are at the very source. We do no machining or surfacing (at least in Chattanooga) so while I have a vast resource of raw stock, I have choose from what shows up, you can actually specify on the front end.

I also find it interesting that on this one short thread are three cabinet guys at the same time (with Jeff at JC of course). I know it's not all that unusual to see drum builders trained in the cabinet industry but I know very few personally, and you guys are two of them. While both of you came up in cabinets and developed the drum side from that, I actually went the other way. I started on the instrument side and went into cabinets much later.

I should reach out and see what you would charge me for a shell from that Cherry stock in my pics. Be watching for an email one day, I would love to have one of your stave shells along with Britt from Salem Street. Then a steam bent shell from Eric. Hey, all it takes is money... now I just need the money!
Be glad to work on a project with you anytime. I built a curly cherry shell pack for Doc Sweeny a few months back and still have enough for another shell pack I'm sitting on, but that fine peice of cherry you have is certainly over the top gorgeous. Quite a nice find.

FWIW, I do pick up some odds and ends from McEwen, likely a competitor of yours? Also, 90% of my lumber purchases are rough and I do all my surfacing on a spiral planer. I prefer the control. I could talk shop all day.
 

Fat Drummer

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Oh man am I jealous, I would love to be surfacing here in our location but it's not in the cards for the southeast just yet , or at least not here. We do a little in our Atlanta location but that is all in the south currently. I do keep a little 4, 6 and 8 quarter in the rough, but by far we stock 13/16" S2S and SLR1E with a little 15/16" hit and miss. But my market seems to demand SLR even if it's a hit and miss surface. I suppose were just odd in this area.

As for Hood, I suppose you are buying from their Louisville facility? I actually pull from their Nashville store on a few items even myself. I have a few lumber species and composite panels that I dont sell enough to buy in units so I will order broken quantities from them. We have a great respect for what they have accomplished and see them as a serious competitor in the markets we both service. We are considerably larger so not a fair direct comparison, but they really have the lumber business down better than us in many ways. We actually own HMI Hardwoods in Southeast Michigan, (with something like 2.5 million square feet of kilns), but that model has not flowed down south as of yet.

What we really need to do is get over to HDI Import Lumber in Leland (Wilmington) NC and cruse their lumber from Africa and South & Central America. This is a regrading yard (grain, width and length) and one of the largest importers of Sapele, African Mahogany and Utile in North America (along with all the stuff I want to go see like Zebra, Bubgina etc). I've never been and really just need to head over there one day, though I fear I would be totally bankrupt by the afternoon!
 
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dawoodude

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Oh man am I jealous, I would love to be surfacing here in our location but it's not in the cards for the southeast just yet , or at least not here. We do a little in our Atlanta location but that is all in the south currently. I do keep a little 4, 6 and 8 quarter in the rough, but by far we stock 13/16" S2S and SLR1E with a little 15/16" hit and miss. But my market seems to demand SLR even if it's a hit and miss surface. I suppose were just odd in this area.

As for Hood, I suppose you are buying from their Louisville facility? I actually pull from their Nashville store on a few items even myself. I have a few lumber species and composite panels that I dont sell enough to buy in units so I will order broken quantities from them. We have a great respect for what they have accomplished and see them as a serious competitor in the markets we both service. We are considerably larger so not a fair direct comparison, but they really have the lumber business down better than us in many ways. We actually own HMI Hardwoods in Southeast Michigan, (with something like 2.5 million square feet of kilns), but that model has not flowed down south as of yet.

What we really need to do is get over to HDI Import Lumber in Leland (Wilmington) NC and cruse their lumber from Africa and South & Central America. This is a regrading yard (grain, width and length) and one of the largest importers of Sapele, African Mahogany and Utile in North America (along with all the stuff I want to go see like Zebra, Bubgina etc). I've never been and really just need to head over there one day, though I fear I would be totally bankrupt by the afternoon!
Yea, it's Hood in Louisville and a lot of what they sell is 13/16 S3S as well as S4S cabinet maker stock sizes and a few moldings. I'm pretty sure they bring in all rough and farm out the surfacing and molding locally. I've known Allen, the manager for thirty years and I actually built his house about 15 years ago when he moved out to our little bedroom community outside Louisville. Good people, but roaming inventory is a no go, and I can understand with the number of trucks being loaded and unloaded every day. I get a lot of my stocking imports from World Timber in NC... Bubinga, Zebra, Padauk, Chechen, Wenge, Katalox off the top of my head. They wholesale only, no small or single boards for one off projects the way Boone or similar will. It's several hundred bd ft mix purchase at a time, which can add up quickly, but it helps hold shipping cost down when it's a pallet load. WT runs several kilns as well.
 


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