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Archive for December, 2009

Logging in The Amazon: A Jungle Lumberman Shows Us What It’s Really Like

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Some woodworkers would revel in the idea of living near and endless supply of beautiful hardwood and then retiring early so as to keep the pesky trials of working-for-a-living a pursuit of the past, leaving only time for working the wood and spoiling the grandchildren.  Meet Jim King, a lumberman living in the pith of South America’s Amazon Forest, who very well may be living your dream.  Here’s his take on the laborious work to make a tree into workable lumber for us guys and gals who like to use wood for fun.

— Mark Stephens

Purple Heart Logs

Purple Heart Logs

In order to discuss this topic a number of things must be understood.  Possibly the most important and misunderstood fact is that people have been led to believe that there is a huge lumber industry in the Amazon.  This is simply not true.

The Amazon, as with any tropical forest, is biologically very diverse and it is not unusual for 100 species of trees to grow on one acre; and no one knows in fact how many species exist.

In the tropical forest there are but a handful of species of any value known and exploited for world  markets.   Generally speaking, tropical lumbermen are small businessmen of little means.   They work in a form that could be best related to as subsistence living. read more

The Many Faces of Hard Maple Lumber: Rock, Sugar, Brown, and White

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Hard maple grows in the Great Lakes region of North America and New England

Hard maple grows in the Great Lakes region of North America and New England

Hard Maple trees in fall color

Hard Maple trees in fall color

It all comes from the same tree: hard maple, rock maple, sugar maple, brown maple, white maple.  The acer saccharum to be most specific.

That species name, saccharum, is Latin for sugar.

You might be drawing the correct conclusion about now that that the very tree that gets harvested for beautiful hard maple lumber is the same one that produces the finest maple syrup that take ordinary Sunday morning pancakes to a whole new level of scrumptious mouthwatering joy.

I didn’t hear your stomach growl, did I? read more