Showing posts from January, 2019

Martha King Goes Wood Her Way

Looking for a source of inspiration to get out and split some more wood this weekend?

Well, watch these videos of Stihl Timbersports professional wood chopping competitor Martha King, and get pumped. Must chop wood.

And this one is my favorite, because you can literally hear her effort.

Martha is one of our favorites here at Go Wood, because she's a Penn Stater who competed on our woodsmen team from 2007 to 2009 before moving on to bigger venues. Regardless of where life leads her, you know Martha will be a success, don't you?

Go Martha!

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

Survival of the Fittest: 2019 is a Whole New Ball Game

It happens. Even the best companies can find that the market they once dominated has dried up and gone away. After struggling through the long recession, WoodPro Cabinetry in Missouri has given up the fight.

Several years ago, I wrote a piece called "The Best of Times, the Worst of Times." The gist of that piece was that even though economic indicators are trumpeting the robust health of the US forest products industry, the underlying reality is that the industry is getting smaller, and that is not good. I concluded the piece with this statement …

"The health of the US wood products industry can't be judged just by short-term profit statements; it must be judged by the total throughput of all resources utilized for and by the industry. All the machines, all the plants, and yes, all the employees. If our wood industry leaders can't get us back on track to increasing the total throughput of these resources in America, the names of our American wood products compa…

The Tangled Web of Palm Oil Production - We've Been Here Before

Unless you're a real health and fitness devotee, you've probably never thought about palm oil. I never had, until I heard a recent radio program discussing its role in the migration of Central Americans to the U.S. Seems the struggle between small farmers and large palm oil production companies was resulting in land that had been farmed traditionally on "communal" lands to be taken over for organized high-production management.

The same thing is being experienced by farmers in Indonesia and Malaysia. Here is a well-done documentary that is well worth the time, if you're interested in the impact of renewable energy policy on the world in general.

I made note of these comments in the video...

"Since the EU decided to save the climate by imposing biofuel quotas, member states are committed to adding at least 5% vegetable oil to fuels...The quota is expected to rise to 10%."

"Since Europe introduced its biofuel policy, the land used for palm oil monocul…

Timber Famine - Always Just Around the Corner

Out of the many dire circumstances we are constantly reminded of, timber famine strikes closest to home here at Go Wood. The most frequent question I get at events for the general public is something along the lines of "We're almost out of trees, right?"

Fortunately, not right. I always wonder where those folks have come from to ask me that question. If you look at Philadelphia on a map, you see a great urban coloration across most of southeastern Pennsylvania. But when you approach it on the ground, you're driving through a lush green forest literally until you're within the shadows of the city's great skyscrapers. And when one drives from the western border of Pennsylvania to the eastern border, 300 miles away on I-80, he never leaves sight of vast eastern hardwood timberlands. Timberlands that were harvested indiscriminately between 1800 and 1930 for timber production and conversion to farmland, are now in the process of reverting back to their natural st…

A Hidden World of Beauty - Japanese Keyaki

Here's a fascinating video on the harvest and sawing of Japanese Keyaki wood, which is the product of the Japanese Elm, or Zelkova serrata. The Japanese are fantastic at making an art out of everything they do, and it is certainly the case in sawing this old "elm".

I love the low-tech methods used by these guys.

About the species, from Wikipedia...

"Zelkova serrata is a medium-sized deciduous tree usually growing to 30 m (98 ft) tall. It is characterized by a short trunk dividing into many upright and erect spreading stems forming a broad, round-topped head. The tree grows rapidly when young though the growth rate slows to medium upon middle age and maturity...

Zelkova serrata is planted as a lawn or park tree for its attractive bark, leaf color and vase shape. It provides good shade and has an easy fall cleanup..It is highly resistant to Dutch elm disease, which makes it a good replacement tree for American elm. Zelkova serrata is similar in appearance to the elms, …

The Cost of Big Government

While driving along today listening to National Public Radio, I became fascinated by a program in which experts on Central America were discussing the various causes and effects of the the region's problems, and the U.S. role in it all. There is a lot of history there, including Guatemalan coups in 1954 and 2009 that US administrations played large roles in.

But the part that caught my attention was a comment by one of the experts that palm oil, being grown for biofuel production for the EU, was largely to blame for the mass exodus of poor farmers in the region to the United States. Now, I've had time to check out that point very briefly, and I'm not sure his point is exactly accurate with respect to the issue of biofuels. So, I'll continue to research it and will bring home a blog post with my interpretation of the issue in the coming days or weeks.

In the process, I've tumbled into the wormhole that is the issue of government spending. Naturally, the Departments…

Bamboo can be Beautiful, Too

We have another treat today for those of you impressed by the skills of our GoWood Girls and southern star Hannah Barron. But this time we go around the world to marvel of the beauty of what can be done in bamboo...not exactly wood, but most people don't know the difference.

Go Wood reader David sent me a link to a chat about bamboo products, and way down in the comments I found the video above. It was worth the time...sometimes the most interesting things are found in the comments. :-)

The original poster shared several pictures of how bamboo had been used in a makeshift camp in Thailand, including this one of what presumably is a common use of bamboo for plates.

Of course, as an avid Go Wood reader, you know that bamboo is not really wood. You can see that explicitly in the picture above...the bamboo is a hollow, segmented tube. Essentially, and literally, each stem is an oversized piece of grass.

"In bamboo, as in other grasses, the internodal regions of the stem are usual…