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by Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

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Destination Unknown

Figure 9 – Pretty Canarywood
slab...what should I make?
Like a lot of you, when I was a kid a pleasurable thing for our family to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon was to go "driving around." No real destination mapped out, my Dad just drove, turning here and there at random. And even though gasoline is 1830% higher in price than it was in 1960, exploring with no predetermined destination is still fun. I think that we all sometimes would like to venture forward without a set destination in mind. A case in point…

My local hardwood lumber supplier is a real "man's" place. Thus, convincing my spouse to accompany me on a recent trip there involved psychology, manipulation, and bribery...well, mostly bribery. My lumberyard "destination" turned into just a quick "waypoint" on our way to her favorite shopping mall.

While I went about my business of sorting and selecting boards, she wandered around the shop. In a few minutes she appeared around a stack of lumber and said, "Come look at this." It was a gorgeous slab of Canarywood propped against the wall. I bought it, but have no idea what I will make from it.

Later with my wood safely strapped into the truck, we set off for the mall. After a long day of shopping (penance for the lumber yard stop) we headed "generally" south, toward home, but really just went driving around...destination, unknown...just driving buying a piece of wood with no specific project in's the journey, my's the journey we call woodworking.

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Steven Johnson is retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life).

Steven can be reached directly via email at

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