In this business, there are a few things you don’t share: Finishing secrets, wood sources and saliva.
This post breaks one of those three cardinal rules – revealing excellent wood sources. Last week Andy Brownell took me to a lumber supplier that has been sitting under my nose since I moved to Cincinnati in 1996.
It’s Midwest Woodworking Company Inc. at 4019 Montgomery Road in Cincinnati. It’s a sprawling 19th-century complex that I drove by almost every day when Popular Woodworking magazine was headquartered in the old Coca-Cola plant in the Evanston neighborhood.
I can remember thinking, “Huh, Midwest Woodworking. I wonder what they do?” many times as I drove past the company’s sign. But I never stopped – I had doughnuts to buy at Busken after all.
The Midwest Woodworking building is shockingly huge and filled with machinery, veneer and lumber that absolutely drained my salivary glands. And much of the lumber stock is available for sale to the woodworking public.
So what are we talking about here? Some amazing stuff that my head is still processing after the weekend. Things I remember: Stacks of 30-year-old walnut and cherry, wide and thick. Many piles of mahogany, some of it 18” wide and 18’ long that was straight and clear. Dozens of African species in thick and clear lengths.
And the veneer room…. shelves and shelves of thick veneer – some of it 1/16” or thicker – from some species I had to look up on my phone.
But back to the solid stock. On the domestic front, there were loads of sugar pine, birch, maple, oak of all sorts and pre-blight chestnut.
Yes, you read that right.
At the back of one room was a stack of thick chestnut that was cut before the blight. I’ve never seen so many clear long and thick boards of this species ever in my life. It was like traveling back in time.
The prices were incredibly reasonable for both domestics and exotics across the board.
If you live in the Midwest and need wood, it’s worth a phone call and a drive. Bring a wad of cash and an empty truck. Oh, and you might have to Indian leg wrestle me to get at some of the stuff I want. Just saying.
For details on hours and availability, call Frank David at Midwest: 513-631-6684.
— Christopher Schwarz