Showing posts from August, 2011

Rosewood + Ebony + FSC certification = Trouble for Gibson Guitar

Readers of Go Wood may remember the student project posted back in the spring that involved the production of guitars by the students that included one made from rosewood. One commenter asked about the status of the rosewood and mahogany used in the project, to which Brandon Treece, one of the students on the project, replied...
"These materials were purchased by C.F. Martin guitar company in Nazareth,PA. As their website states "committed to corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship, and to support this commitment, Martin maintains FSC chain of custody certification.""
At the time, I assumed that was assurance enough that the guitars were legal. Now I'm not so sure.

Last week, facilities of the Gibson Guitar Company were closed down by government officials for alleged violations of the Lacey Act. Since the action involves legalities and actions I'm not familiar with, I won't comment on this story other than to say that global regulatory pro…

The Circle of Life

Well, it's an early fall once again here in central Pennsylvania. I just came in from walking the dog, it's in the mid-60's, the sky is clear and cool...and the high school band is practicing the old stand-bys. I  live next to State College High School, and this time of year I always love to hear the new State High band practicing in the cool of the evenings. Tonight as I walked the dog, it was pleasant to hear the refrains of America the Beautiful, followed by the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Mine eyes have seen the glory...!

It occurred to me that although we face what seems to be an insurmountable mountain of problems as a nation, the youth of our country are as vibrant and as full of hope and intelligence as we ever were, perhaps more so. A few days ago, we received a visit from a young man, a family friend, who spent the summer in Silicon Valley amongst the tech-heads who seem to be shaping the future of our country...and he seemed oblivious to the problems we discuss…

Great Designs in Wood (15)

Here's a guest house design in the Florida Keys that combines so many great elements of wood design and use that they're hard to describe in a short blog post. The description of the house at Fancy Cribs gives you for a feel of the design objectives:
"TOTeMS Aechitecture designed the amazing Casey Key Guest House that is located in Casey Key, Florida, USA. On a barrier island, along Sarasota Bay was the chosen location, the structure of the house was influenced by the owner wish “…respect the land, and the rest will follow” and of course by the oak trees. So the house has a beautiful, organic shape dictated by nature.

The house has an open structure to the east and west and solid to the north in order to provide privacy between a neighboring property. The large windows on the open facades offer beautiful views of the oak hammock, and Intercoastal Waterway. To enfold the structure there were used glulam beams, putted in a curved shape they made the distinction between wall…

Making Charcoal the Old-Fashioned Way

If you didn't get out to Penn State's Ag Progress Days this year, you missed a nice living history presentation of 19th-century charcoal-making. Luckily for you, you can catch it here at Go Wood!

You might recall we discussed real hardwood charcoal around Memorial Day, just in time for summer grilling. Well, the history of this life-sustaining, industrial revolution wood product is shared here by Sandy Smith of Penn State Extension, with his fellow colliers Bill Metzel, a historical re-enactor from State College, and Paul Fagley of the Pennsylvania DCNR, historical interpreter for the Greenwood Furnace State Park. Video is about 20 minutes long, and well worth the look at a side of history you've probably never heard or read about.

Tip AmountOption 1 $2.00 USDOption 2 $4.00 USDOption 3 $10.00 USD

Public, or Private, Ownership of "Excess" Housing?

Wednesday, I introduced a straightforward proposal to turn the housing market around in a hurry.  John Krier, the author of The Simple Solution, is a semi-retired west-coast lumber industry executive who, as an owner of 14 rental units, stands to profit from the current rise in rents due to the shortage of rentals as "empty" housing numbers mount. He and I discussed this yesterday after I called him to let him know that I had received quite positive feedback from the office of a prominent national politician...they had reviewed the article and the full proposal and had forwarded it to their legislative staff in Washington.

The Simple Solution to the Housing Crisis

We ended the last post...

"Or, we can re-engage private investment in the game."

Fortunately, we're hearing rumbles out of Washington that the experts are thinking along the same lines.
"The Obama administration is seeking ideas from investors on how to convert thousands of foreclosed properties owned by government-backed entities into rental homes, administration officials said.The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will be joined by the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in soliciting proposals, said the officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly in advance of an announcement planned for later today. ... Encouraging investors to buy foreclosed homes in bulk would help shrink the U.S. housing surplus, stabilize property prices and provide affordable rentals, Morgan Stanley housing analysts said in a report Aug. 8.The collapse of the U.S. residenti…

"When Fall the Banks of England..."

All I know about banking economics I learned years ago from the movie "Mary Poppins". In the story, an irascible but lovable London banker, George Banks, is living the good but stressful life of maintaining a household at 17 Cherry Tree Lane in 1910 London; a wife named Winifred who is fully engaged in the suffragette movement; two self-identified "adorable" children, Jane and Michael; a cook, a maid, and a nanny, who turns out to be Mary Poppins.

Near the beginning of the movie, Mr. Banks is walking home from a long day at the bank, and he is accosted by his neighbor, the retired Admiral Boom of His Majesty's Navy, from the admiral's rooftop, which looks like the deck of a ship in some weird way. Admiral Boom fires off:

"Good-day, Banks! How's the world of finance these days?"

Mr Banks: "Excellent, Admiral. Credit rates are moving up, up, up, and the British pound is the envy of the world."

Later in the movie, in a scene at the bank…