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Wood With a Story

from woodworker Ron Anderson

ron1-1 When I was a young boy I sat in my grandfather’s basement and watched him make everyday things out of wood he recovered from the job sites he worked as a day laborer. Over a period of years he made many things, the grandest of which was a complete house.  I now do something similar in that all of what I make comes from reclaimed, reused, or recovered wood.  I find wood beautiful and try to bring out that uniqueness from the wood that was used before or was discarded as scrap.  I have gathered these woods from as close as my backyard and from as distant as my worldwide travels in places like New Zealand or Africa.  When I travel I often contact other woodworkers in the area and get local woods from them. I currently have wood from Hawaii, Australia, (all over) Europe, Africa, South America, Egypt, Canada, and many states in the US. I have some ancient wood that ranges from hundreds to thousands of years old.  I have wood with ties to history including wood from a cabin originally built in 1747 by George Washington.  A sample of my wood includes:

  • Wormy Chestnut from a barn in western North Carolina
  • Tobacco sticks from eastern North Carolina that are over 100 years old
  • French Oak from winery barrels
  • Heart of pine From “pinions” that were used in colonial times from Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Teak from the deck of the battleship U.S.S. North Carolina
  • Pine from the mantle of a church built in the 1800s
  • Live Oak from the “rebellion tree” where men from South Carolina planned to secede from the Union starting the Civil War

I Include many of these woods in the things I make so that the wood does have a story. 

I never stain or color the wood (except the tobacco sticks), but I use various oils and protectors to bring out its natural beauty.  Each piece often contains wormholes, distress marks, and other natural features that display the original character of the wood. Each piece comes with the story of the wood’s origin.  I do custom work in certain cases.