Showing posts from June, 2016

An Oak for Renewal

As I type these words, I'm a couple of hours away from my annual physical that happens every three or four years without fail. I made it to sixty a couple of weeks ago, and surprisingly, still feel pretty good. And just as surprisingly, I'm also feeling pretty good about things, in general.

I know, I know, things are pretty bad out there right now. People ask me all the time about the economy, and I have to find the silver lining on the truth by saying that well, the companies that made it through the last ten or twenty years, are still hanging on, and although their business isn't as great as it could be, or should be, at this time of year, at least there is some business to be done.

But best of all, I find encouragement in the attitudes of the survivors. Let's face it, it's been a long last decade or so, unless you're in the position of finding a high level of joy in increased numbers of jobs in poverty-stricken countries. (Which is, in fact, a good thing.) B…

Notes From the Road (7) - Sawing in the Swamps

I could sense Ivan's anticipation mount as we turned off the highway. We'd been seeing nothing but southern pine and swamps for a while, and he seemed to know he was about to experience something completely different from the Carpathian mountains. He asked me to stop so he could take a picture of the sign for the Goodwin Heart Pine Lumber Company.
As we headed down a gravel road into the swamp, Ivan sat at attention and started taking pictures non-stop. I'm not sure how he translated the sign below in his head, but it was perfect. He was suddenly completely interested in alligators and where they might be lingering.

At the end of the road, we rolled through the gate of George and Carol Goodwin's passion...the headquarters of their Goodwin Lumber Company. George figured out a few decades ago that pulling old longleaf pine and cypress logs from the swamp and rivers in the area could be profitable, and he's been buying and sawing them ever since.

Carol runs the busin…

Wood Science 101 (24) - Wood Identification Technology Pushes New Boundaries

You probably recall the three videos I posted back in 2013 from the French wood scientist Jean-Claude Cerre, showing high-resolution macrophotographs of various woods. Last summer, we featured Jean-Claude as a keynote speaker at our World of Wood conference here at Penn State, via a long-distance video call projected into our auditorium directly from his laboratory in France. Many wood scientists around the world, including here at Penn State and at our national Forest Products Lab in Wisconsin, have begun to undertake similar efforts to push the boundaries of wood identification and study to new heights, one that wood scientists and botanists of previous generations could only try to imagine.

Well, Jean-Claude has produced a new video with even more advanced techniques, and it is a marvel to behold. Enjoy.

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