A couple of years ago a friend of mind told me about Tommy Tomlinson, from Melborne, Florida, who had some wood for sale. It turned out that Tommy had a number of semi-trailers filled with lumber that, I can only assume, was originally destined for a furniture factory. We went down to meet him since my woodturning club needed some wood for our program with the boys at Safe Harbor. Tommy was very magnanimous and donated half a pallet 3″x3″x15″ pieces of ramen, a south Asian wood that worked great in our program.
Well, we had used just about all of this wood over the last couple of years and I also needed some spindle stock for the class I will be teaching in June and the John C. Campbell Folkschool, so I decided to call him.
It turns out that Tommy had been asked to clear the area where he had stored the wood by the end of March, so he had donated what he had left to a local vocational school. I thought it was back to the drawing board for me missing the wood by less than a month, but this morning Tommy called to say that yes he had donated a lot of wood, but had several pallets of some longer wood at his shop that he would be willing to sell. I was back in the game and soon was off on the hour drive to his shop. It was impressive to see those pallets. I decided to take the pallet of 2.75″x2.75″x36″ pieces of what looks like hard maple. I also took a number of pieces of 4″x4″x30″ wood, but haven’t identified the species. So I guess I am set.
While at the shop Tommy wanted to show me his 4’x8′ CNC machine. I didn’t have a camera with me, so couldn’t take any pictures, but the CNC machine was really impressive. Tommy showed a number of the things he had made out of many different materials. It’s amazing the finish he can get right off the machine when he uses the 1/16″ ball end mill for the finishing pass – no sanding needed.
He’s been doing projects for people all around the area and is beginning to get a reputation for his quality work. I;m happy to know someone with a big CNC machine since I have been thinking of a sculpture project that needs one.
Back to Jacksonville with my haul and another hour-plus to stack up all the wood. I ended up with 215 2.75 pieces and 17 4″ pieces. I think I’ll have enough spindle stock for awhile. I even had to move my lawn tractor out of the shed to store it all.