Here’s the deal: I’ve had a hardwood flooring project on my to-do list for a long time. It’s my shop floor, actually. A couple of years ago, I got a great deal on 900 square feet of hard maple “shorts.” Tongue and groove, beautiful stuff. My plan has been to lay it over the current flooring in my shop, which is plywood subfloor. Not that I mind plywood, but it gets banged up pretty easily and doesn’t look as nice as a hardwood floor. At $1 per square foot, it was a deal too good to pass up.
These days, it feels like the “Great Recession” is never going to end, doesn’t it? Jobless rates are up, banks are on the ropes and home values are still falling through the floor. Tough times all around.
But, despite some huge potholes on this road to recovery, the woodworking industry is still forging ahead. Lots of new Lithium-Ion tools are in the pipeline. Better and safer table saws are already here. High-quality hardware and supplies are perpetually coming to market from names you trust. And, of course, there’s lots of good lumber on the rack at your local supplier. Rob Johnstone has called the past 10 years or so the “Golden Age” of woodworking, and I think he’s still right about that, even now.
So, I can’t help but wonder, how is the recession impacting your woodworking? Are you putting off a large tool purchase this year, or are you taking the plunge anyway to grab the best new features—or an incredible sale price? How about lumber decisions? Are you still buying hardwood this summer, or are you bringing more pine and plywood home instead? Maybe you’ve found other creative solutions to keep the lumber rack full—portable sawmills, home kiln-drying, and that sort of thing. Some woodworkers band together and buy a bunch of lumber to get a volume price, then split up the cost. I know I’m digging deeper into the scrap bin than I used to and throwing less onto my burn pile. It just makes sense.