If you read this in time and, you’re not too far away then, there’s still time to visit the Yandles Autumn Woodworking Show down in Martock, Somerset, today. I spent a bit of time there yesterday afternoon (my van was making strange noises by the time I left the M5, which I suspect indicates an issue with a wheel bearing – first time I’d heard it in almost seven-months though). I had a good look around without seeing too much that interested me or, too many recognisable faces (usually, there are a few) but, I really went for the 15% discount on timber! 😉
To be honest, it is only during their shows that I do buy timber from Yandles. They’re not quite as cheap as some of the other suppliers I know of but then, you do get to pick out your own boards; each one is priced up and marked individually and, they even prepare (plane) one face for you, so that you can pretty much see what you’re buying.
I went down with the intention of looking around for any suitable guitar bodies or neck blanks, without resorting to buying some kind of rosewood or, another exotic species… When I came home, I realised there were two small jobs for which I could’ve actually done with some small quantities of ash!
I came away with two of this elm boards; each just over 6in wide and at least 5ft long. I’ve been wanting to play with a bit of elm for too long, having never used the stuff before. It’s not really stable enough (in the solid) for guitar making but I was attracted to the grain in these two lengths; both free of knots. As I couldn’t decide on which to buy, I bought both! 😀
I’d quite like to make a small box at some point and I have it in mind to use some of this elm. As a species, it’s not renown for its stability and it can even move (as I’ve been told) even after extensive periods of drying, seasoning and careful acclimatisation. You can see from the edges that the grain doesn’t run parallel. I’m not sure I’d use this for a desk of table top, unless there was a secure method of bracing it down on to a sturdy frame.
Golden ash is something that I’d seen previously at another Yandles show. It only seemed to be available in small sections (this one’s 2x2in) and, after a brief skim with a hand plane, the heartwood does appear to be even darker than any ash I’ve seen before. You can just see the sapwood to the right but, even that is still darker than you might expect. I bought a 6ft length for a good price and I thought it might be good for odd bits and pieces, accents and finer details, perhaps. I need to research it though as I’d like to know what gives it that deep ‘golden’ colour.
When I got home, I realised that I could’ve bought some more of this for a CD rack idea I’ve had in my head for a while. It only requires narrow components but, I may have another source of hardwood (recycling) that can provide me with what I need there.
Least exciting of all was this wide board of sapele (about 10½in x 3ft in length). There’s almost enough material here to give me enough components to replace my mum’s rotten garden bench seat (I’ve given up in my search for meranti). I have another length of sapele somewhere in the workshop that should be able to provide me with whatever else I may need but, I was drawn to this one for its straight grain, running perfectly parallel to the board edges. However, it does still go against my beliefs in buying only sustainable timber…
But then, I don’t know whether the ash or elm that I’ve bought were grown locally or imported from Europe.
It’s quite possible that the elms boards alone will spend another few months in the workshop before I attempt to do anything with them. That garden bench seat does need replacing but, even if I do decided to play with the ash at some point, a lot of my spare time now is spent doing other things; getting out and away from the workshop. I feel as though I need to force myself to take an extended break after completing each project now. Otherwise, I get in to the unhealthy of becoming too much of a recluse; shutting myself away, creating stress and not socialising.
I will return! 🙂