Seth is building a house. Himself.
It’s a massive place back in the woods, three stories high with 12 foot ceilings and a stone fireplace and chimney that rises two stories in a central open living space. It’s all beautifully timber framed and pegged throughout. He got one of those portable sawmills and cut the trees for the timbers right off the land.
Seth doesn’t do things half way. He and Lisa, you’ll remember, took up sailing not long after hearing about my boat building project. They started out in a 30 foot Catalina. He doesn’t scrimp on materials, or tools, either, which in the past have included things like bulldozers, so he’s a good friend to have if you like to borrow things.
I’d been thinking about doing my decks in Cypress, which is light and strong for it’s weight, and rot resistant – a suitable trait for a tree that grows in water, and good for things that float in water, like boats. It was while we were talking in the shade of his project (the house) early last summer that I told him about mine. Seth bought a whole shipment of long, clear Cypress planks to use for siding, and has been setting aside anything with a knot or twist or other defect. While we were talking over his reject pile we realized that, since I was going to rip planks into thin strips, things like twists wouldn’t be a problem, and knots would just get cut out to make shorter strips.
Last month I went back and we haggled a bit and I came home with a pile of Cypress.
He also tossed in a couple of three foot by 8 foot slabs of Black Walnut. They came from a really big tree he’d cut up on his mill, and were now just rotting in the yard. Digging through the stack, two layers down we found a big Blue Tailed Skink. Three layers down was an empty mouse nest. Four layers down was the reason the nest was empty – a six foot Black Snake. The stack had rotted clear through on one side, but on the other end there may be enough good wood left to make each transom out of a single solid plece. Certainly the wood has a lot of character.
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