A few years ago, I was visiting a local friend and we got into a conversation about sauna. He had plans to construct a sauna in his backyard and wanted some advice. I went over most of the details and then proceeded to ask where he planned to source the wood for the inside of his sauna. Instead of telling me where he would get the wood, he invited me on a walk, to the shop in his backyard. The door opened and the smell of cedar filled the air. In front of me, stood one of the nicest piles of cedar I have ever seen. Stacked from floor to ceiling, a massive pile of 2x4, 2x6, 2x8 and 2x10 cedar. The pile was tremendous. 30 feet long, 10 feet high and at least 12-15 feet wide. "It's all Clear Old Growth", he said. Wow. Just wow! This was a woodworkers dream! I now knew where he was going to get the cedar from for his sauna. I asked why he had such a huge pile of wood and he started to tell the story of a man named Rory from Merville, who worked as a fish farm operator on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in the early 1990's. Rory was given rights of clear land on the coast for the fish farming operations, sometimes needing to remove a few Huge cedar trees. The barge that took him into work was always full of equipment for the fish farms, but always would return back to the Island Empty. Rory was able to get a small mill in there and started loading the barge with cedar to bring home. Every trip home he would load the truck with boards, and drive it back to his home in Merville and stockpile it in the garage. Over the years, the pile grew and grew. It all originated from the Great Bear Rainforest, now a protected area where today, no old growth would ever be harvested from again. Sadly, Rory Died from cancer in 2006, leaving his wife the huge pile of wood to relish. One day, in a bid to make some room, Rory's wife offered to sell my friend the wood at a very good price. He agreed and he moved it all to his own shop, where the wood would sit for another 14 years, waiting to be worked and turned into something good. That day, listening to the story of Rory, in another bid to clear some room, I was also offered the wood at a good price. I could not disagree. I had never seen such an amazing pile of cedar in my life. Every piece was cut with extreme care. Each piece milled to perfection in anticipation to be used for something beautiful. Once I got the wood home and started to sort it, I could see just how amazing it was. I did not find even one knot in the whole stack. It appeared that every piece was Clear grade, vertical grain. There was not much I figured I could use it for except for one thing. Saunas. All the pieces of 2x4 material have been carefully resawn into 1x4 stock, then shaped into tongue and groove. I have been offered many times to sell this wood, but I have always denied the request. They story behind the wood is one of folk tales, and I'm proud to let the legacy of Rory live on with every sauna I build. The beauty of the wood can be appreciated by everyone who visits the saunas and we can take pride in knowing this priceless commodity has been put to to the best use possible. Happy saunaing and hope you too can one day come see the beauty that Rory brought home from the Great Bear Rainforest.
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