Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Credit Crunch

Several years ago I wrote an article for British wood working magazine on Hazelbury Timber supplies which is located about 10 miles from my home. At the time the owner Paul Courage made me aware he wanted to supply local trades with good quality locally sourced native timbers at a sensible price, in stead of what he sees as excessive prices elsewhere. I do not disagree with this, everything over the last couple of years has gone up in price, all except of course wages or pensions. Never thought I would sound like my grandfather but when I started my previous career back in 1993 a litre of petrol was 43p, now it is £1.34 with a gallon of petrol now being over £6.00.

So why purchase Oak that has been transported from Europe when we can buy local. The wood trade is big money and where there is money in my opinion there is perversion. We export much of our quality timber and likewise import timbers from abroad which are then kiln dried and sold in wood supply outlets for exuberant prices. I have stopped buying seasoned blanks now for demos as for a full day demo I would be spending out up to £42 on wood alone for the projects. This excludes the finishing products, abrasive and depreciation of tools etc.

Seeing I only charge £160/day the maths just did not work out to carry on buying kiln dried wood. It is also no good buying exotic timbers as most of the gallery's and customers I supply do not want it.

Someone is getting rich and I know it is not me. But hey ho we can not do much about it so best find other ways of cutting the cloth accordingly.

Ever since I met Paul Courage at Hazelbury timber supplies I have purchased 99% of my wood from him. He still today sells excellent wood at a sensible price. I tell just about every one that I can about his business as it is the only place I can go and select a section of a tree and have it cut for me there and then (subject to how busy he is with the saw mill of course). But you can buy a whole butt and have it slabbed if you want.

As an example he sells sycamore is £12/cube (about half price to other outlets) and when you are trying to make a living running your own business you need all the help you can get.

Also available (depending on supply, and not much will be left once some of you read this) are off cuts. These he has recently started doing and as an example  I purchase a beautiful piece of Olive Ash 3 inches thick x 16 inch long x 14 inch wide and a lovely piece of spalted sycamore of the same size for £3 each.

The wood in this picture cost me £30 in total with the 5 x 5 inch by 3 ft long oak off cut you see costing me £5.

Form this I have produced 16 assorted bowls from 6 inches to 14 inches 6 hollow forms and still have 3 x large ash logs which I could make another 20 hollow forms from of 5 inch x 7. 

Paul cuts and sticks the wood and a lot if  freshly cut to part seasoned as it is stored under shelter, so is great for roughing out. Any way it may be a trip for you but a few friendly turners and a transit van could have a field day. It really is a gold mine and he has a nice selection of burrs.

Yew, sycamore, oak, beech, birch, cedar, and many more native timbers stocked. I have no commercial connection with Paul, just he saves me money and is a great bloke to deal with so I thought I would let you know about his business again.

 A minute selection

Paul cutting up an ash tree for me. I was after normal wood with the pith aligned but he let me have the crotch he is cutting off for a couple of £'s as he said it would only go for fire wood. 

Olive ash slabe purchased for £3 ( this is not a special price for me this is what he does them for), you can see the size next to my car wheel. 

This little load cost me £30 together with the Oak 5 x 5 which is not shown. Oh he chucked in the Acacia burr for a couple of £'s too.  Ash, spalted Alder, sycamore slabs.

The bowl at the top of the page is a cereal bowl that I have turned for myself out of brown oak collected from Paul's (which is not in the picture) as I snaffled it on the way out. Over the years we have broken more bowls and plates in our family than I care to remember and I am fed up of buying them. So I am changing to wooden plates and bowls for every day use. It is worth noting that Paul does not currently have card facilities at his saw mill.


Roger Courtney said...

Hi Mark great to have a supplier like Paul here in SA we depend a lot on the tree surgeons and friends for blanks and the cost is almost nil.
Love the idea of wood plates and bowls. Are you sure breakages are accidents and not you coming home late and there are some flying saucers LOL Regards Roger

Mark said...

Hi Roger

Thank you for dropping by and commenting.

It is always a bonus to be able to turn locally sourced wood. Of course there are times when we have to buy seasoned blanks.

Quite afew turners I know eat off of wood and I had never really thought about it until now.

No, lol, not me coming home late. I work from home and have to have my wifes dinner ready on time. It is the lack of care I use when loading the dishwasher that breaks them, honest. :-)

john smith said...

Hi Mark I enjoyed reading this posting,it is nice to know there are wood suppliers like Paul around.I wish we had someone like that around the Midlands.I like the Bowl you turned.Regards John

chris hill said...

sssshh don`t tell everyone, lol, I agree Mark, excellent yard must pop over again soon I am running out of blanks, lol, cheers Chris

Mark said...

Hi Chris

Yes it is a gold mine people are going there from all over as it is the only place that they can get certain items. I will off there soon again for sure, need some more ash and sycamore boards.

George Foweraker said...

Hi Mark.

I am pleased to confirm that Paul gives great value for money.As you Know yesterday you and I visited Paul as I needed blanks.I bought a mixture of Sicamore and Ash today the timber I bought created over 90 blanks from 17" down to 6" there are 42 above 15" this lot cost me £130 00.Work that out for yourself.The only thing I would add is that Paul does not sell blanks all the timber is in plank form.It is either part dried or green therefore turners have to be prepared to put a bit of work in if they want to make big savings.

Mark said...

Hi George

It is a gold mine and Paul is agreat bloke, he is not greedy hence why he can not keep up with demand. A lot of business could learn from him. Good products for a reasonable price and every one is happy.

Just keep it to yourself though or Chris Hill will be back down there buying everything up. :-)