A Day in the Life


The alarm rings. We are going to be leaving in just over an hour. Now mornings aren’t really my favorite thing, so I won’t mention anything about jumping out of bed immediately…that would be a lie. Nevertheless, I do get dressed and sit down for breakfast. Of course, our cats need to share breakfast, they always do.

We gather what we need and take the lunch box, and set off. Today, we are going to the sawmill and the kiln. The sawmill is where the operator (the sawyer) takes whole logs and saws them into boards. The kiln is where the still fresh and green boards are dried and the pitch is set and, so bacteria is killed and the lumber is more stable. The kiln operator also saws boards, but we are not getting any from him today.

We are out of the house and heading down the road. We will get a larger quantity of wood, because we buy enough for many jobs into the future: wood for table tops, for legs. We don’t go out and buy framing material to make our furniture; a lot of our material is custom sawn by local sawyers (remember, those are the sawmill operators). Today, we are going to pick up some pine, and some black locust, and later he will saw out some beech boards that I asked for, for my own work. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been able to saw them, so we will have to come back later. It is an hour-long drive through towns, over back roads, bouncing over potholes and driving down tight ways. We are heading generally to the north, finally pulling onto the remote dirt road. Together his sons and I load the wood. The thick pine has been set in a pile and the sawyer trims them to length while we are there. The black locust is stout stuff, and there is a fair amount of it. Later, the sawyer will saw more locust, but for now, we load up what he has. We also find out that the beech had just been sawn that morning before we arrived. We load that in as well.

After all the wood is in, we say farewell and set off for the kiln. The back roads were made before GPS devices, so don’t trust them all the time. We end up down the end of a dirt road, with the remains of the rest of it disappearing into the forest. Apparently, it was closed down in the 40’s, so the woods have had time to reclaim the land. We back track, and at last we have meandered our way to the kiln.

Here, the kiln operator shows us where he wants our wood, and we unload what will be staying. It will go into the kiln in a day or so. Then, he brings us out back, and we see some white oak logs that he will be milling up, one of which will be turned into boards we will be taking for a client’s table. After seeing this, the operator also shows us some of his other wood, and mentions ideas he has as his own business grows. will go into the kiln in a day or so. Then, he brings us out back, and we see some white oak logs that he will be milling up, one of which will be turned into boards we will be taking for a client’s table. After seeing this, the operator also shows us some of his other wood, and mentions ideas he has as his own business grows.

Our wood dropped off, we head for home, where we organize, rough cut, and stack the rest of the lumber we just picked up…to be turned into useful things in the future. A day in the life of a Yankee Woodworker!


--Ian Dunn

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Goffstown New Hampshire

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