Saturday, April 21, 2007
This is the yard at Hofer Log and Lumber near Jeffersonville NY. The owner, Matt Hofer, is a second generation sawyer and log wholesaler. He moves logs by the truckload, and in my case one at time. I have been fortunate enough to have Matt as a resource for the last seven years. He knows what I need and alerts me when something special comes along. He sawed the timbers for my barn as well as all of the wide plank hemlock flooring for my house. Fostering a good relationship with a sawyer can be key to making greenwood chairs. I think that the key to dealing with sawyers is realizing that there are really just two ways for them to see you, either as a charming oddity or a time sucking pain. Obviously, you don't want to be the latter. In approaching a sawyer, it's a good idea to bring along some images of what you plan to make with the log. Log workers are just like the rest of us, they spend a great deal of time in the beginning or middle of a process and rarely get to see the final product. I think that they enjoy dealing with a grateful craftsman and will often work diligently to help you out. I know for a fact that Matt doesn't make any real money from me, he will hardly take the time to let me pay him! About twice a year I pin him down and settle up. I never question the amount and always appreciate his expertise and patience. A good tip for describing the grade of log is to ask to see veneer rejects. Often, after the veneer buyer comes through, there is a nice layout of rejects just waiting for a chairmaker to come along and cut around the one blemish that caused it's rejection. If I plan ahead, I can schedule my needs to follow the veneer buyer and the sawyer is happy to get a near veneer price. I will be picking up a hard maple next week and plan to show some tips on safely moving and unloading logs.