At some point in your journey as a woodworker, you’ve developed your skills and acquired enough tools and you start to really think about the wood. It may sound simplistic, but wood is the woodworker’s medium, and the truly great furniture makers think about it a lot. We talk to several to get their insights into choosing lumber, from the very specific to the conceptual. John Cameron, John Reed Fox, Christian Becksvoort, Tim Coleman, Peter Shepard, Brian Reid, Garrett Hack, Greg Klassen, Thomas Throop, John Tetreault, Philip Morley, and Michael Fortune share their views.
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This was such a great read even if hobbyist woodworkers like myself may not always have the same access to some of the sourcing options as the professionals noted in the article. My takeaway is the life of a piece comes from the wood's character even if the bones come from any sort of design, proportion or aesthetic I may try to impart to it. That challenges me to set my sights on something other than building this or that to perform a function or look a certain way. I might change my outlook in the moments of frustration when I feel like I'm fighting or afraid of tearout, spelching, etc. I can't change wood's nature but I can respect it enough to work with it rather than force it to fit the form of what I want, which is often to the detriment of the aesthetic I'm trying to achieve. It's also great to hear such a range of perspectives in what they look for in their lumber. It's not one size fits all, and it helps me feel more comfortable as I try to find my own preferences.