I know you all sometimes like to look behind the curtain so I thought Iíd give you an idea about what it takes to get a piece of wood into your hands.
Hereís a picture of my processing plant where it all happens.
The journey actually begins spending hours and hours looking for that special piece of wood with the right dimensions, grain, figure, chatoyance, and lack of defects.
Often I buy my stock from around the world so I have the same anticipation as you do when you buy something from me. Sometimes it meets or exceeds my expectations and sometimes it turn to mulch.
After a slab is cut,
if it has any finish on it each piece needs to be sanded to allow for faster drying.
if necessary, and to prep for stabilization, which requires that the wood be finish free. When the non-hardwoods are finally dry (<10% mc), and that could take months or longer, they go out for stabilizing. And that could take a couple of weeks or a couple of months more, depending on how busy (or not busy) K&F is. They wait until they have enough material to fill up their tubes.
Too much, you wait your turn, too little, you wait for more. After that itís back to the sander for clean-up.
Oops, wrong Sander(s)
For really dirty pieces this could mean three different grits to get a nice clean, smooth finish. By the way, when wood comes back from being stabilized it really, really stinks
from the chemicals.
Wearing a respirator while sanding is a must, not only for the smell, but the dust from some woods are very irritating. Here I am all decked out with my safety gear.
After the final sanding I clean each piece with mineral spirits then I inspect the piece for any voids or checks which are filled with CA and sanded yet again I finish each piece with a combination of shellac, mineral spirits (to thin) and some secret ingredients,
that includes elbow gease, to protect and show the grain. Then itís on to photographing
each piece (two per piece) which then need to be cropped, downloaded into the server and uploaded into the site. This is followed by inputting all the data necessary
like dimensions, code, price, tax status and descriptions. After a purchase (when I stop jumping up and down) there are invoices and mailing labels to be printed and boxes to be packed
not to mention all the records that need to be kept for accounting.
Then itís off to the post office for mailing.
I figure my hourly wage on this ďjobĒ is about $0.17. Itís dirty at times, noisy at times, stinks at times and, around the band saw and sander, dangerous at times, but itís always fun, interesting and even exciting at times. This is about doing something I love to do and being part of community I highly respect and admire.
So the next time you get your hands on a piece of my (or someone elses) wood remember that that little baby probably came half way around the world from some exotic place, went through various transformations to get from tree to blank, was pampered and cared for like it was part of the family, and now itís in your hands, ready to meet its final destiny. Imagine the possibilities.