Bit About My Wood

By Andy Rooney

When I come home with wood I have found in some obscure sawmill, lumberyard or farmer's barn, my wife invariably asks one of two questions: "Don't you have enough wood?" or alternately, "What are you going to do with it?"

The answer to the first question is, "I'll have enough wood when Imelda Marcos has all the shoes she wants."

The answer to the second question is, "I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. Nothing, maybe."

For me, having wood is an end in itself. I own boards that I would rather have hanging on my living room wall than a Rembrandt painting.

At the bottom of my wood rack, I have sticked seven cherry boards 14 ft. long and 25 in. wide at their widest point. I used to have eight, but I made two tables out of one of them.

I like the tables, but they do not give me any more pleasure than do the seven boards. I have looked down at that cherry several thousand times in the ten years I've had it and derived pleasure on every occasion. What would I do with them that could be better than that?

My shop is a small museum of wood. I know a lot about it, but if the great wood expert Bruce Hoadley made house calls, I'd invite him over to tell me more about my wood.

Here's a partial inventory:

✓ About thirty pieces of bird's-eye and curly maple. These boards vary in

Never enough room. Above, Rooney's wood supply threatens to take over his shop space. The end table is a recently completed project.

width from about 6 in. to 11 in. y One extravagantly figured rosewood plank 48 in. long.

✓ 800 board feet of seasoned cherry. I had to eliminate one car from the garage when I built the rack to accommodate it. I bought this wood from a man who had kept it in his barn for 20 years.

y Several heavy ebony blocks 23 in. long and four heavy pieces of macassar ! ebony sent to me by a wood sculptor I in Seattle.

; y One great 6-ft. plank of English oak.

✓ A piece of mahogany 6 ft. by 49 in., my widest board.

/ A dozen pieces of teak in assorted shapes. One boardjs 15 ft. long and 23 in. wide by only 7/g in. thick. I could never cut this.

/ Eight very old pieces of wide, thick yellow pine barn flooring with nails in it. / Assorted lengths of red oak. Two trees behind the house died several years ago, and a local sawyer sliced me a pile of boards with one of those mobile saws.

y A 4-ft. by 24-in. piece of cocoIxjIo left over from a coffee table I made, in the process of which I had a severe allergic reaction that caused a rash and curtailed my television career for three weeks. I like it, but I don't touch it with a ten-foot pole. I have several ten-foot poles. y An assortment of spalted maple. / One 6-ft. piece of Australian lace-wood. I make drawer fronts from it because it looks like bird's-eye maple but more so.

y Nine pieces of apple just 30 in. long and 7 in. wide, from a fallen tree. It's difficult to get a long piece of apple.

I am certain that I have more wood than American Woodworker has space for me to describe. My pile of offcuts runneth over. A

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