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Showing posts from September, 2014

Great Designs in Wood (56) - The Tall Composite Structure

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I've posted videos before on this topic, and the good news is, that they keep getting better. Which is a sign, I think, that this concept has legs. Best sign of all is that young, sustainability-oriented minds seem to really latch on to the concept. And as they do, the concept of the wooden, sustainable city comes that much closer to reality.




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

Go Climb a Tree

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Well, what else are you going to do this weekend? Sit around and chow down on burgers and beer while watching forty-two football games? Come on, do like these guys, and go find a local tree to climb. Experience the exhilaration of swaying branches while breathing in clean, fresh air. This is the way to Go Wood.



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

Great Designs in Wood (55): A Visit with Furniture Maker Mike Korsak

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I was able to break free last week and visit Mike Korsak, a furniture maker with ties to Penn State. Mike sort of "evolved" into this entrepreneurial venture into furniture-making, and it's was nice to see someone with a desire and talent be able to get out and do his own thing for a living.

Mike specializes in what I would call "art" furniture...many of his projects wind up displayed in art galleries before moving on to their owners. Here's a link to his website, and below are a few examples of his work.














I hope you enjoy the visit...please excuse my limited videography skills. Technical difficulties forced me to have a commercial break, but please watch both segments, I think you'll enjoy.


And here's the shorter second segment...


Thanks to Mike for sharing a portion of his day with us.

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

Wood Science 101 (16) - Wood Weight Estimation Finally Pays Off

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A couple of weeks ago, I was passed on an email with pictures from a Penn State student asking about the species of a log on display at a local bike shop. He wanted to know, because the log was the object of interest in a contest - guess the weight of the log and win a mountain bike. It looked like an oak, but I decided to stop by the shop since I go by it every day on the way home, just to confirm.

Measurement of the rays, which were very visible through the gashes in the bark from the grapple that skidded the log from the woods, confirmed that it was indeed a red oak, and probably a northern red oak (Quercus rubra) or a scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea).
Information conveyed back through channels to the student, I got to thinking about the poor, undernourished nine-year-old waif living under my own roof. Being the sixth of seven in the Ray clan, he had become quite used to hand-me-downs, and had never had his own new bike. Wouldn't it be fun, I thought, if we made an adventure of m…

Is There Anything Better than a Wooden Boat?...

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...I found myself wondering, as I toured Giesler Boat Builders factory in Powassan, Ontario. The tour was part of the annual meeting of the International Wood Collectors Association that was held in nearby Huntsville, Ontario.


At the moment I was shooting the video below, I couldn't think of anything better than to own one of these beauties. I found myself thinking that wooden boats are one of those things that we modern folk think of as unobtainable playthings of the rich and famous, whereas this tour made me realize that hey, these are really practical products for real folks, and have been for centuries. Our tour guide (sorry, I lost his name) was simply great in his explanation and detail of the process, and by the time we were ready to leave I was sorry I didn't have the checkbook along.


From the Giesler website...
"Why buy a Cedar strip boat ?There are several advantages of wood construction besides its natural beauty. First of all, wood has strength. The weight to s…

How Man Conquered the World...Using Wood

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Here's another Friday week-ender, this time from the creative folks at The Danish Wood Initiative.

It tells the story of how the wood industry was born, and why it will someday rule the world "in a good and wise way".




If this simple message is so compelling, you may ask, why don't regulatory agencies, like our own EPA, get it? You might not be surprised that the answer lies in the concept of organizational self-preservation. Forbes contributor Larry Bell explains the tangled web in his January 2014 article, EPA's Wood-Burning Stove Ban Has Chilling Consequences For Many Rural People. While it uses the case of wood-burning stoves and boilers as an example, the same process applies to regulation of furniture and panel emissions, factory and dust emissions, health and safety, forest management, and on and on and on.

This is a good opportunity to recognize all the good folks who are working to get the "Wood is Good" message out there. Waaaay too many to lis…

Make Mine Freedom

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Thought you might like something a little different on this Labor Day. In an interesting look at how university Extension has always used social media to educate folks, here's a cartoon from 1946 from the Economics Extension department of Harding College, now Harding University. This conservative little college in central Arkansas put at the core of its mission teaching fundamental American values, and produced a series of cartoons like the following that extolled the virtues of the American economic system.

At the time, with World War II over, war-weary folks all over the world were looking for new ways to cast off the old and usher in the new. Great Britain, in perhaps one of the most instructive elections in history, cast off the Conservative government of Winston Churchill in favor of the socialist Labour Party. British folks were tired of sacrifice and want, and voted for the folks who promised plenty. In Communist Russia, Joseph Stalin reached his pinnacle of power as his co…