Over the retreat we brought in the first of the lumber that we milled in April 2009 and set up to air dry. Here is a photo of several of the piles: camphor, mango, monkeypod, pine and blue gum eucalyptus. These are all trees that would otherwise have been abandoned and left to rot. But the monastery is rescuing them and milling them for future use.
This is the pile we dismantled and brought in to the shop. Our motivation was to make room for the next milling, to clean this stand so it can be used to dry more lumber from the milling that we planned for some new logs. This wood is monkeypod, harvested from a logs that Vel Alahan gifted to the monastery from a tree that he had to remove from his yard. We were happy to see that the wood dried without twists or bends and is free of insects. At 12-14 per cent humidity, it is well dry enough for use in our climate.
The interior of the pile showing the beauty of the wood. A carpenter came by one day and said he had seen monkeypod slabs before but had never seen it in “board form.”
Sivakatirswami is helping with the loading and hauling in a utility vehicle. The stands are just a few hundred feet from the carpentry shop.
Kumarswami trims one end of each board square with a sharp 6-point vintage hand saw. Having the end square is helpful because we are storing the dry wood on end.
Here is where most of this wood is going to be stacked, just outside the wall of the carpentry shop. Later we hope to have a shed to keep the wood, but for now we are finding nooks and crannies here and there.
This is Acharya Kumarswami smiling. He’s happy about how the wood turned out and looks forward to using it.
These logs will be sliced into boards during the next milling in the coming months. They came from 25-year old trees that a landowner was cutting down across Koamoo road a year ago. Hearing the saws, we drove over and spoke to the millers. They were happy to release the logs to us to use for lumber, as it saved them from having the cut them up into small pieces and hauling them away. Plus our big tractor made their work a lot easier overall.
All the stickers and other elements of the carefully leveled pile are now ready to receive another batch of boards when the time comes. It’s very low tech, and it works.