Perspectives

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Woodworkers see things differently from other (some would say “normal”) people. Here’s a perfect example.

Driving on the interstate this weekend, my wife and I came up behind a big logging truck, fully loaded. This wasn’t just a bunch of dead trees destined to become mulch or 2x4s, but a load of some fine-looking cherry logs, several well over 2' in diameter.

My reaction: I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much cherry in one spot before. It’s always enjoyable to see furniture-grade wood in large quantities, and a special treat to see it in the rough like this. You see tons of SPF logs on the highway all the time, but you always know it’s probably intended for construction material at best. A load of cherry, though? That’s on its way to a hardwood lumber mill. I smiled, knowing that a load that size would be looked at and picked over by dozens, maybe even a hundred woodworkers. It just boggles the mind to imagine the furniture that’ll be turned out from all that wonderful material in all those woodshops. I wondered where it came from, and a glance at the license plates told me it was a load of Pennsylvania cherry, from right in my home state. Just thinking about it made me want to follow that truck. It occurred to me that I hadn’t made anything of cherry in way too long. As I’m watching the truck, I make a mental promise that my next project will be of cherry...

Sally’s reaction: “Yikes. If those logs fall off, we’re dead.”

My wife’s not a woodworker, so her not seeing the worth and joy of the wood itself wasn’t surprising. But it was still a bit disappointing that the only thing that came to mind for her was the possible danger posed by a huge truck loaded with potential people-squishing heavy objects. Made me feel glad I was a woodworker.

Still, I pulled into the other lane anyway.

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