In Rob's editorial last time out, he rejoiced that the long, long winter was finally over in Minnesota. Some of you had your own reasons to rejoice at the weather -- or comment on it. - Editor
"I so enjoyed reading your description of the past winter -- had a good hearty laugh at your description of it. I was born in the Canadian Prairies (Regina, Saskatchewan) and generally loved all winters, but now, at the age of 75, I am slowly losing patience with it, and this past winter was the worst of all. So your words really hit my funny bone. I, too, am enjoying being in my shop again -- in the garage, where I can finally open the overhead door and enjoy the sunshine. I’m just barely started, however, so late in my life -- on small things like bowl turning and knife hafting -- but it’s a great way to relax, and try new things." - Al Kovach
"I live in Saskatchewan in Canada and, after your comment about winter, I just felt like I wanted to say hi and ask where do you live? I am the same age as you and I concur ... this is one of the longest winters on record I have experienced as well! Even when I was a boy growing up on the farm, digging out huge snow huts and whatnot, I can’t remember such a long, long winter." - Dennis D. Herauf
"Just read your intro for the latest eZine. HA! As a Minnesotan from Burnsville, I do not envy you with your weather. I moved to Portland, Oregon 20 years ago. People complain about the rain here, but I say it's way better than snow and ice. Go Vikings!" - Shawn Miller
"As on old Minnesota and St Paul Park native: be careful for what you wish. Think of my daughter, a Phoenix native spending her FIRST winter in Minnesota and what she thinks." - Tom Cross
"It is sort of ironic that 2 hours before I opened your internet WJ, a native of Canada related to me about visiting her parents at Thunder Bay, Canada, where they had received 6 - 7 feet of snow. She had to shovel to the shed to retrieve the snowblower. She happens to love snow and was in 'heaven.' I asked her if her husband calls her crazy. So one man's / person's --- well, you know the story. I'll, of course, side with you. - Clarence Conley Jr.
After two interminable years of record shattering, history making, brutal heat and drought, we Oklahomans were tickled to have a wet, cold, slushy, sloshy, freezing -- did I mention wet? -- winter. Our spring has been colder and wetter than usual as well, with measurable snowfall in May! It is nice to watch the dressed wood swell, for a change, instead of shrinking continually day after day until it loses its shape altogether and falls to splinters. I am content to watch out my window as the rain and sleet form little puddles in the backyard, knowing it will be absorbed in just a few hours. We’re having very little flooding here as the ground is drinking it all up. So while I feel your pain, we are dancing in the cold rain and loving every minute of it!" - Phil Gilstrap
"I think the groundhog was on drugs." - Bill Terle
Lumber Marks Interpreted
One of the questioners in last eZine's Q&A section wanted to know the meanings of the markings on the lumber he was using in New Zealand, which had been shipped from Canada. Another reader had some additional insight. - Editor
"The mill that produced the board (CLA 141) in the picture is this one in Thunder Bay, Ontario:
Canadian lumber mill marks can be resolved to this list kept by the Canadian Government, should anyone wish to know where their lumber originated:
As the mill in question in 100 percent FSC [Forest Stewardship Council] certified, Lou can be certain that his recycling of pallet lumber helps complete and extend the whole green cycle." - James D. Fowlie
Wooden Coffee Cups
Another Q&A questioner was pondering what finish to use on wooden coffee cups. This reader says she has some experience in the matter. - Editor
"I wanted to add to the discussion of using wood for coffee cups. The Saami people of Scandinavia (known for reindeer herding) have been making and using wooden coffee cups for centuries. Plain ones are often made from birch, but I have seen beautiful ones made from some kind of burl. They have no finish. The wood imparts a nice mellow flavor to coffee that improves with age. I think the coffee might have enough oil in it to preserve the wood to some degree." - Sue Erickson
Old Tools Bring Back Old Memories
And we continue to hear from eZine readers wishing to reminisce about their very own "oldest" tools. - Editor
"This is more about old tools. In 1948, I attended Roosevelt Jr. High School in Tulsa , Oklahoma. The local newspaper ran a contest for the woodworking classes in the junior high schools in the city and awarded prizes. I do not remember what first prize was; however, my group at Roosevelt won a prize of a crosscut handsaw for each member of the team.
"The contest consisted of a kit for each team to build a house model showing the construction that would have to be used. The kit contained various sizes of material that you would have to use. Walls had to be built showing part of the wall finished, part of the wall showing the interior framing as well as any wallboard used. The external walls had to show the finished wall as well as the siding and framing of that wall. The contest was judged on how completely the instructions were followed.
"The team that I was on was very happy that we received one of the prizes that was offered. I still have this saw, and it is now in Virginia. The saw has been used by both of my daughters in various projects as well as charity work. Both of my daughters went on work weeks for their church and took not only the saw but others of my tools. I will be 77 years old in July 2013. That is the story of my oldest tool." - L. Edward Stansbury