I needed some special wood for a project. My search brought me to the Locust Lumber Company
in New York's Southern Tier.
Don't let these pretty flowers fool you–
Black Locust trees eat chainsaws for breakfast.
One never finds the notably dense, hard, and durable lumber from the Black Locust tree at, say, The Home Depot or Lowe's. Too bad, because it rivals pressure-treated southern yellow pine's resistance to rot without being infused with poisonous chemicals. This is why it has long been valued for fence posts and other outdoor applications. I wanted to buy some for a patio furniture project.
I knew I'd never find any locust lumber at the Big Box stores, so I went to a small-town lumber store in my region to see if they could order some. Sure, they said... they took my name and number and promised to call me with pricing. But when I called them back two weeks later they said no, actually, they couldn't; sorry, they meant to get back to me. I've become sadly accustomed to customer service like this from stores big and small... partly, perhaps, because I tend to seek things that are extremely rare and/or difficult to obtain.
Upon venturing south of the Finger Lakes, one enters NY's Southern Tier, a broad expanse of mountains and thick forests where deer way outnumber the human residents.
My online search located the aptly-named LOCUST LUMBER COMPANY in Newville, New York... a tiny town in NY's Southern Tier that sits a lot closer to Pennsylvania than to our house. I placed an order and arranged to pick it up on my way home from Boston, thereby adding 100 miles to my usual 400-mile trip home every week. (I threw in a pick-up at my new favorite winery to make the trip more worthwhile.)
The LOCUST LUMBER COMPANY office...
...and the actual sawmill.
The drive to Newville was scenic and beautiful, save for the stretch through downtown Ithaca. The folks at the sawmill were very friendly and helpful. I even met and chatted up the owner, the widow of the mill's founder. She and the crew seemed like very happy people... deer hunters all of them, even the female office manager who proudly self-identifies as a "traditional bow hunter."
Places like the Locust Lumber Company– along with the self-serve dairy stand mentioned earlier this week in THE PERFECT LITTLE DAIRY FARM– serve as welcome reminders for me that our civilization hasn't yet completely turned to crap.