Before I continue on to timber adventures in Australia I am going to go astray and tell you about how I came about getting some Jarrah recently.
A couple of weeks ago I called in on a builder who was working on a property near me, I knew he had bought dry timber from a friend of mine and I thought maybe he might need some of it machined. He was on the lookout for more timber and told me about an auction coming up next week fairly close to us, auctions are usually in Perth, a long way to travel and cart back.
The auction list had quite a few wide sizes, 200mm or 8” is the widest cut on the Lewis Saw and that dries back to 7” boards. As it was an online auction there was only one day to view, which was the day of the auction which was at 6pm. After viewing the timber, which we discovered was cut in the 80’s and 90’s and seeing that it was clean timber but had little feature, which I have loads of from milling, I was certain that it would be very useful to me and give me wider boards to work with and also prop up my dwindling Jarrah stocks. We also found out that the farm where the timber was is only 40 kilometres from home.
Everything seemed to be going in my favour, except the weather – it’s been raining steady for two weeks and the Blackwood River looks a metre higher every time we cross it on the way out of Nannup and the fact that I had never done an online auction before but Chris had! I wrote out a list (long hand) of the lots which interested me and how much to bid too. About half way through it looked like we had been successful on five lots. Chris was an expert in letting the time run down to the last second and then bidding. Later the auction company invoiced me for two lots and said we were the highest bidder on four more, but as we did not meet the reserve they will speak to the owner.
Next morning, I decided to get over to the farm as early as possible to see if I could negotiate for the four lots. The lady from the auction company was just setting up and getting online. The owner was out in the sheds with a neighbor getting ready to load the timber to all the buyers. It was his Father who had collected all this timber mostly from the Kirup Mill and Greenbushes Mill. Chris came up from the house and said the lady was set up. They wanted me to meet the reserve price and on all but one lot the difference was only about $20, so we decided to take all four. Now we had six lots, it meant a second trip, but it wasn’t far. Back at the workshop the timber got off loaded with the tractor and placed in the shed out of the rain.
Back to the farm for second load, they had it waiting ready to load. I was chatting to Trevor, the owner, getting as much background on the timber as possible. He pointed to a few smaller lots of small dimensions but with a lot of feature such as curly (fiddleback). I was not interested as I have lots of rips taken
from boards when making furniture. I asked him if there was anything else left and he said “no, nothing but those two larger packs at the back”. His friend went down to command control at the house and said only the 300mm (12”) was available and told me how much the reserve was. We did a deal for the reserve price which was a good price and would raise the average per cubic metrer price I had paid. The pack which weighed about half a ton was not going to sit well on the ute as it was 3.6 long (11’6”) the tray is 2.4 (8’) about a
4 foot overhang. I think Trevor sensed my dilemma and said if there was no hurry he would deliver it to Nannup, his neighbor was happy as he had already expressed interest in looking around my workshop.
Back to Nannup again, over the rising Blackwood, and off load the timber into a dry workshop. Can’t believe we have had so much rain. Well, it rained for another two days and it was Saturday before it was dry enough to re-stack the timber and open up some of the lots. Not having bought timber at an auction before it was a relief that the Jarrah was as anticipated and suitable for what I need. The 300mm x 50mm (12” x 2”) looks great and the “ furniture maker” will relish laying out back legs for rocking chairs and how many across each board.
Next time it will be back on track and my endeavors of timber milling in Western Australia.