A Vacation from Woodworking? Impossible!

A few weeks ago, my wife and I embarked on a trip to Belgium for our first vacation since our honeymoon three years ago.  With visions of waffles, French fries, chocolate, beautiful architecture, and amazing beer racing through our minds, I was likewise excited to spend two weeks with few (if any) thoughts related to woodworking.  I lasted less than a day.

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Yellowstone Hotel Shares Marquetry on Grand Scale

1930s cartography, with woodworking panache!

1930s cartography, with woodworking panache!

If Yellowstone National Park is on your short list of future vacation destinations, be sure to stop and see Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on the park’s northwest corner. It’s a wonderful vintage building in its own right, but the hotel also contains a remarkable example of marquetry you won’t want to miss! I stumbled on it almost by accident while staying there for a night last summer.

On the wall of the hotel’s lounge, just off the main lobby, there’s a huge map of the United States made almost entirely of wood. Designed and assembled in 1937 by Robert C. Reamer and W. H. Fay, the map measures 17 ft. 10 in. wide by 10 ft. 4 in. tall. It contains 15 types of wood from nine countries: zebrawood (Africa), lacewood and Oriental (sic) wood (Australia), Brazilian rosewood, satinwood (Central America), East Indian rosewood, gray and white harewood (England), English oak, Honduras mahogany, teak (India), as well as slash and straight-grained walnut, maple and burl redwood from the United States.

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