Some Cumber, Some Lumber

I’ve now been to the “lumber yard” here twice, to pick up wood for a work bench, the first time, and today for bunk beds. It’s a comical experience, and I’ll let my pictures do most of the talking.

Uncut lumber waiting.

Uncut lumber waiting.

There are two types of woods available here- “Mango-type” and Sahl. I believe this just means softwood and hardwood, but I’m really not sure. The mango type woods are lightweight, flimsy, and costs about 40 Rupees per kilogram. Sahl is heavy, extremely expensive (ie, maybe 10 times the price of other available lumber), and beautiful, with a deep mahogany color of orange-tinted and densely swirling grain.

Good lucking finding what you want.

Good lucking finding what you want.

The lumber yard itself looks like a tornado came through. The main boss is an overweight guy, always sitting in the shade at the front cabin, whose general demeanor just exudes laziness. I don’t care for him. Elsewhere in the lumber yard are huge criss-crossing piles of rough cut lumber- as if the cur on the saw is 3 times bigger than it needs to be- with lengths varying from piece to piece and dimensions varying along the length of each piece, as if the guy operating the bandsaw was on the laughing gas I saw at Notting Hill Carnival. On top of some of these piles are workers taking naps.

Even more options!

Even more options!

Some of the wood is in huge blocks, some that are maybe 6″x12″ and 8 feet long. These are fed through a huge bandsaw which, as was the case in my first visit, is only as reliable as the electric grid (we waited 45 minutes for the power to come on). The guy who feeds the wood through looks Vietnamese, and has a concentrated face that looks like he’d be really good at cutting straight lines.

What I got when I asked for my board cut in half.

What I got when I asked for my board cut in half.

He sucks, though. I just don’t understand what is so difficult about cutting straight lines with a bandsaw. In fact, it’s not even that I don’t understand- I know for a fact it’s not difficult. The guy just doesn’t care.

Bandsaw in operation.

Bandsaw in operation.

Anyway, I procured some wood and used it to make the workbench below. The next project, which I started today, is making some bunkbed prototypes. The planning for the New School is starting to accelerate pretty rapidly, but it’s fun to have a couple projects going on at the same time.

The new workbench.

The new workbench.


6 comments on “Some Cumber, Some Lumber

  1. Josh says:

    Yikes, Luke. Looks like you guys could really use some kind of chain saw mill. Fascinating tho to see that big old saw in operation, with its ‘power’ feed.

    I’d love to see a picture of that Sahl wood you mentioned. Wonder what it’s used for.

    Nice job on the bench! Now you need a woodworking vice to add to the other one you have there. You could probably do something in a pinch with stops, wedges, and a good clamp if you have one.

  2. Tim says:

    Excellent outcome on the bench, Duke, especially considering the raw materials you had to work with. But take it easy on overweight lazy guys who like sitting in the shade, okay? Sounds a lot like the Buddha to me… And certain Mainers of your acquaintance.

  3. Rob Buckley says:

    Love Tim’s comment! I was overjoyed to read a post that sounds just plain old mundane… no harrowing bus trip, no heartwrenching tragedy. Don’t get me wrong, I was glued to both those posts, but nonetheless, a little chatter about guys taking naps on top of lumber piles and kvetching about the straightness of lumber is good too!
    Work bench looks like a pro made it! Eager to see the prototype of the bunk beds.

  4. Hope Cannon says:

    Ooops! Rob Buckley’s comment was actually from me, Hope. I thought I was cleverly signing him up to receive posts. Oh well.

  5. William Hoyt says:

    The saga continues. This is some of the best reading I’ve enjoyed in years, sure beats sitting at a desk making stuff up.

  6. Joel Skillingstead says:

    This is great Luke. Growing up in the NW I’ve spent some time in and around mill and lumber yards and these photos are sweet. I think you were lucky to get to get that board cut anywhere near straight. Also, you tell a great story.

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