Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Sam is a 50 year old Caucasian male. He was raised in Fort Dodge Iowa and he currently resides in Wellsville, Utah. He works at Homestead as the head of human resources. He has no sisters and no brothers. He is married and without children. His families’ religion choice is Lutheran. Sam has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He also has a Master’s and a PhD. in Social Research Methods. His hobbies include: snowboarding, home improvements, wood working, and reading. The relationship I have with the informant is co-worker and friend.
I conducted the interview with Sam in my living room, while his wife sat on the couch. Sam and I sat on the floor where there was a lot of room to stretch. This interview took around 24 minutes to complete. Sam began telling me about his collection, he started off with “I first started becoming interested in wood when I was a child, I’d say as the age of seven or eight years old. My folks bought an old lumber yard that was no longer being used. Outside there was a huge warehouse building. It was like a barn but, it was open on one side, that way you could put the lumber in. I use to play in it, it was like a magical forest. Out beside that was this huge set of wood racks, that were like twelve feet tall and were covered with wood. A huge warehouse, and lumber yard, with wood all over, just for me to play in. This lumber yard had been a commercial operation, but was abandoned and then we bought it. I would always organize the wood. Then on top of that, we lived way out in the forest, so we used wood to burn for heat. I went out in the woods with a chain saw to cut down trees. I chopped the wood up, and stacked it into nice piles. We lived in the woods and the trees were amazing. I was always interested in trees and wood types. About three years ago is when I was given a job a at Homestead Cabinets. I didn’t realize how much wood meant to me until I started working with it. I then started collecting wood that was tossed into the discarded wood piles. I collect them because of the memories from my childhood. It’s like if your parents were circus performers, you would love the circus. If your parents bought a lumber yard near the woods and they asked you to go cut down trees and bring the wood back home, then you begin to build the desire to be around wood more often. You end up loving the feeling you have when you are with wood. My wood collection now is vast and expansive. It’s absolutely enormous. I have a seventeen by sixteen foot shed and it is packed full of wood. It literally is nearly a solid cube of wood. In addition to that I have an outside wood rack with another rack built on to it. On the ground there are piles of wood all around the rack. I would say its thousands of board feet of wood. This wood pile is made up of: oak, mahogany, cherry, walnut, maple, fir, beech, sycamore, plum, and apricot. I’ve got some cotton wood, and I’ve got some willow. It’s milled lumber, and it’s also in huge slabs. In addition to that I have some fur, that I got from salvaging a pole barn. It was huge and the size of the nice wood piles measured up to my truck. I’m going to end up building a second shed to store more of my exotic woods. I have reclaimed wood, and original cut milled.”
The first two pictures on the left are of the first pieces of wood he collected from a salvaged barn. The last picture on the top right is of the last pieces of wood he collected from his place of work. The wood types are reclaimed beech, and fur. The fourth picture is of the shed he built with the wood he has collected throughout the years. The last picture is of his favorite type of wood. (Walnut)
“Oh, it’s awesome, I look forward to in my later years of life to having my own wood shop and making furniture. There’s no doubt that my favorite wood type is walnut. This is because I was raised around it. There isn’t a single tree in the state that compares to a walnut tree that you get from the Ozark Mountains. Those walnut trees are amazing. The walnut its self is an amazing fruit. The nut is great. The smell, you cannot believe the odor of the walnut husk. It has the most pungent odor you could imagine. The husk will stain your skin black. The wood is one of the most aromatic woods. It’s absolutely great. Nothing in Utah compares to a walnut tree.” Sam’s wood collection reminds him of fun and excitement. He wants to get a large selection together so that when he is able to build and sell his furniture people have several options to pick from. He will design pieces around the wood that he has. His dream is to use every stick of wood that he collects to build his own custom-made furniture. He has already built a lot of furniture for his home. The problem is that he doesn’t have room for it, so it is in the car port at his wife’s moms’ and dads’ place. He doesn’t have a least favorite type of wood, but the wood that he does collect has to have character. With reclaimed wood he wants the saw tooth marks from the original mill where it was worked with. Even with slabs of wood he wants the saw marks still in the wood for the same reason. He wouldn’t mind starting a collection of teak wood, but right now it isn’t available for him to collect.
Intro to Folklore, English 2210
Lynne S. McNIEll
Semester and year
G8: Objects with/of Customary Use
Squires, Aubrey, "Wood Collection" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 238.