The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Friday, December 30, 2016

"2017 is Going to be Better Yet"

If you care to reflect back on 2016, I'll bet you'll have a reaction somewhat like mine...that is, you might not know what to think of the year just concluded. So let's review...

On Go Wood, we started out at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which really got the year off to a great start. We followed that up in February with a trip out into the winter woods with Ivan Sopushynskky and Andy Blazewicz. And in March, we visited our friends at Rigid-Ply rafters to watch beams and trusses being built.

But then the year began to take a weird twist. We discovered a new breed of woody guys called lumbersexuals, and examined their techniques in firewood and in chainsawing. And we discovered a dedicated group of folks that re-created an 18th-century windmill in Holland. Perhaps the most outrageous thing we discovered this year was the Amazing Marble Music Machine. But really, that was not as weird as the Earth People of the Australian outback.

But as the year closed out, it seemed like everything else took a back seat to our American election, which certainly has to go down as one of the weirdest events in human history. Even as I traveled halfway around the world, when people found out I was American, all they wanted to talk about was The Election. And I found myself reflecting deeply about how the world really is working these days.

That is, the world seems to be being run from the screens of our smart phones. People seem to know more about what is happening in the latest virtual hot spots around the world than what is happening around the block from them.

And most of that seems to be bad.

Which is why I like this year-end observation from UK parliament member Daniel Hannan...

Yes, the world seems to be getting weirder, but I find that the folks in my town, my church, and in the plants I visit, are the same as always, warm, and kind, and caring. They share my concerns about the rest of you out there in the crazy world, but they don't seem to get too worried about it. Most are concerned about the health of their family, friends, and perhaps the company they work for. It seems like almost everyone is being touched in some bad way by the proliferation of drug abuse in the country, yet that topic rarely makes the headlines or political discussions, unless some actor overdoses. The problems and concerns of regular folks just don't seem to count for much in a world driven by ratings-hungry news organizations.

Which is why my new years resolutions for 2017 are a little boring, and will never go viral, but I think they should. Because we all need to focus a little closer to home.

In 2017, I resolve to purchase at least one wood product a month.Whether it's from an American company, or from a third-world country on Amazon, that wood product was made by someone who has their hands on wood and eats from the fruit of their labor. So my purchase dollars will support a real person going wood.

In 2017, I resolve to subscribe to the local newspaper and follow current events in my town more closely than the latest ramblings of any of the crazy nuts all over the world. Let the folks in their neighborhood deal with them...I'll pay attention to what my own city council and school board is doing.

In 2017, I resolve to double the number of real, flesh-and-blood close friends I have in the world, which means I have to make the effort to find two more. I really appreciate all you virtual friends out there, and I'm amazed every time I meet one of you. But I need a couple of more buddies to kick things around with, just to keep me grounded and honest with myself. Nobody does that like your best friends.

In 2017, I resolve to kiss my wife at least once a day, and hug my kids once a week. Those really are the best moments of my life, and I don't spend  enough time doing them.

Finally, in 2017, I resolve to improve the content of this Go Wood blog in any way I can. 2016 was a record year in the number of views of the blog. Over 30,000 views in December alone set an all-time monthly record, even though I didn't get to post much this month. If I've been given one professional duty to perform in life, its seems to be to provide you folks with entertaining and informative stories about wood. That's a good thing to be able to do for a living, and I vow to try to live up to the honor. Thank you for spending your time with me here on Go Wood.

And may you be blessed in 2017. It's going to be the best year yet.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Kiln-Drying Time Again

2017 Kiln Drying Workshop 
 January 9-12, 2017 
SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY 

 If you've been meaning to go to, or send employees to, a hardwood kiln-drying short course, you have that opportunity once again. For the sixteenth consecutive year, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry is holding its annual kiln drying workshop again next month. If you're drying hardwoods, or thinking of drying hardwoods. don't invest another dime until you've spent some time with Dr. Bill Smith and his team in Syracuse.

Click here for all the information.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Santa Claus Goes Wood, Naturally!

One of the more amazing and useful sites on the internet is Zillow. You simply enter an address, and you instantly get details on the house at that address, including square footage, list of features, and Zillow's estimate of the current value of the property.

Which led me to wonder what kind of digs Santa and Mrs. Claus have up in their North Pole retreat. Hollywood movies such as The Santa Clause have the jolly olde elf living in an icy winter palace. But, you'll be pleased, and probably not surprised, to find that the Claus' homestead is predictably a warm, cozy timber-framed cottage near North Pole Enterprises.

Bursting with curb appeal, but the curb is missing.
Charm oozes from every detail of this finely-crafted wooden home. Here's the listing...

Santa's HouseThe North Pole

3 beds2 baths2,500 sqft

A toy-lover's paradise nestled on 25 idyllic acres at the North Pole – perfect for spirited reindeer games. The home, constructed in the 1800s of gorgeous old-growth timber logged on site, is steeped in Old World charm but offers modern-day amenities, thanks to a 2013 renovation.

A welcoming entryway leads to the living room with a floor-to-ceiling river rock fireplace for roasting chestnuts. The gourmet kitchen is a baker's dream, boasting an oven with 12 different cookie settings. Cookies are served directly from oven to table in the adjoining dining room.

Boughs of holly deck the hall leading to the master bedroom, which features sprawling mountain views. Jingle all the way to two charming guest rooms that guarantee visitors are never left out in the cold. Cuddle close to the wood-burning stove in the queen suite. Or bunk up in the cozy loft. The more, the merrier.

Tiptoe down the hall to Santa's quiet study. An impressive writing desk is flanked by the same sewing table Santa used to make the original teddy bear. Substantial built-in shelving stores toy prototypes.

Over the river and through the woods is a state-of-the-art toy-making facility with workstations for 50 diminutive craftsmen. Nearby are a garage, with space for Santa's all-weather sleigh, and stables that board eight live-in reindeer, plus a bonus stall for red-nosed company, eagerly awaiting Christmas Eve. 


  • Lot: 25 acres
  • Floor size: 2,500 sqft
  • Home type: Single Family
  • Year built: 1822
  • Last remodel: 2013


  • Santa's Toy Workshop
  • Reindeer Stables
  • River Rock Fireplace
  • Sleigh Parking Garage
Sounds pretty nice, and looking pretty good for a home built in 1822. Another testament to the durability of solid wood construction.

You can see a video and slide show of Santa's pad here...

Enjoy this good holiday season, and when buying gifts, remember to Go Wood. Everyone loves it.