This week I drove out to Sisson Dupont Carder Lumber Company in Blue Ridge to pick out a pine cant (rough squared cut of lumber) to be fashioned into a floating fireplace mantle for our new home. Most folks in Blue Ridge are probably familiar with the log building side of the business but across the highway is the mill which cuts lumber for log cabins, siding and more. There are numerous buildings housing the lumber operations of milling, kiln, planing, shipping, and more.
I drove down the gravel road and saw stacks and stacks of pine cants some two foot thick and perhaps twenty feet long. I was in awe to see all the beautiful wood ready to use. If you've never gone to a lumber mill you should go just to take in the smell of freshly cut wood, it smells wonderful. Perhaps you've driven behind a chip truck and smelled the fragrance of the wood. After consulting a fork lift driver I finally located the log office tucked in at the end of the gravel road. I asked for a piece of wood with character, with some grains and knots. Luckily the 4 in x 10 in x 12 foot piece of kiln dried wood just fit between the seats of my car.
Soon the large expanse of dark gray rocks in our living room will be graced with a new mantle fashioned by a local woodworker, Paul, I was lucky to find. He used to build custom boats in Florida and relocated to this area about ten years ago. With the slump in the economy he takes odd jobs and works as a handyman. We hired him to adjust the opening in our kitchen to fit the fridge and to install a door but I have a feeling working with the mantle will be much more satisfying to him. He's taken the cant back to his home to work on it. Paul will cut the piece down to size choosing the best part. Then he'll plane, sand, and oil the wood and fashion some attachments to install the mantle on the rock fireplace. We're looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Stay tuned in the future to see the transformation. The first two images were borrowed from the net. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.