Birdbath 2.0 Plus Kitchen Wood Procured

This past two-weeks have been mostly a flurry of tiny, unphotogenic tasks, and I am often ticking off several orphan items per day. Touch up this paint, install this small piece of trim, grout this small area of tile, fabricate a foot-rail at the breakfast bar, install some kitchen ceiling trim, put plastic gliders the dining room chair legs, and on and on.

But two items stand out from the crowd.

First, our two garden globes and three homemade birdbaths, as nice as they are, were each sitting on top of a few round, rough concrete blocks. Cynthia and I decided to have Armando sculpt the stands to represent tree stumps with vines wrapping around them. I gave Armando very little direction, told him to be an artist and to have fun with it. We think he did a pretty good job. Here are some photos:

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Where’s Armando?

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Armando posing with his space alien friend. Cynthia calls it Bubble Brain.

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Bananas are almost ready to harvest. A volunteer papaya tree is growing in the foreground.

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Last Saturday, I decided to head out to find wood for the kitchen cabinets. As you drive down the mountain, there are several roadside woodworkers who make chairs and tables from local wood. Most of the furniture is very rustic and not to our taste. But I stopped at them anyway and asked where I could purchase wood. They all sent me to the woodworker in Coronado near the El Machetazo store. My order was for too much wood for him to sell me from his supply, but he gave me the name of a man, Marco, in Penonome’ who sells wood.

I called Marco and he suggested that we text via WhatsApp, which we did. He also suggested that he visit us on Sunday so that he could show us some samples. I thought that was above and beyond the call as it is about an hour-and-a-half to Penonome’. He arrived right on time, bringing his wife and daughter along for the ride. After a cup of tea, we talked and settled on Caoba wood (African Mahogany) as he promised easy working (like butter he said), and a rich, deep red finish with several coats of clear polyurethane. It would go well with our wood-grain ceramic floor tiles.

Marco said that he could deliver the wood on Wednesday or Thursday. I took his word with a grain of salt as he didn’t say which Wednesday or Thursday; he had a fair amount of work ahead of him. I told him that I would give him a nice tip if he came when he promised.

I was amazed when he drove up to the house on Wednesday morning! I told him to back his truck into the driveway, but he wagged his index finger back and forth (the Panamanian word for no, no, no). He drove straight in.

We unloaded what looked like the right amount of wood. I started to pay him, but he directed me to the “Secretary and Treasurer” (his wife) and I paid her the $3 per board foot that he had quoted me. (I got independent estimates of $2 to $3 per foot; I thought the $3 was at the high end, but he did make two trips here and delivered as promised.) I joked that damn, he came when he promised and now I would have to give a nice tip! The Secretary and Treasurer smiled and gave me a thumbs-up; Cynthia and I suspect that she is also the Project Manager in their family.

We said our goodbyes, and then Armando and I pushed him out of the driveway as his reverse gear had been broken for years! The wood is rough sawn and I will need to plane it to the thickness that I want. I can’t wait to start working with it. My thickness planer had rusted from lack of use and I have ordered a new thickness-adjusting-gear from the States. It should arrive just about the time that the wood is ready to size.

Here are some photos of the wood, starting with the photo that Marco sent to me via WhatsApp:

Caoba Logs From Marco

Marco arrives with the wood:

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Smells good!

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Marco said that he used to be a policeman, but now he is retired and cuts wood.

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Here is the wood freshly cut from the logs. As it dries, it turns a deep red color. Marco suggested that I let the wood set for about ten days before I cut it to the finished sizes.

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Can you see the dovetailed drawers hiding in this stack of wood?

P1030030-001In other news, here are a couple of bonus photos:

I finally painted my shop door!

P1030045-001A while back we planted four of these plants/trees. The humming birds will love them:

P1030044-001Here’s a photo of the path to the back yard (taken from the gardener’s gate):

P1030043-001Jabo on the stairs at night:

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I wouldn’t want to walk past him in a dark alley…

And Jabo solarizing on the front steps:

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I took Jabo to the vet the other day. His toenails were long and he click, click, clicked when he walked across the tile floor. Three bucks. He was the perfect patient.

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by.

10 thoughts on “Birdbath 2.0 Plus Kitchen Wood Procured

  1. I KNEW IT!!

    You will NEVER finish! YOU can’t let go!
    First the house – NOW …….the FURNITURE!!

    Happy joinering!!

    Thomas

  2. Hi Fred,

    I wanted to let you know to be careful with newly cut wood in Panama. I have had a few projects where wood that has not been properly dried warped. This may not be a big concern if you are making shelves or some other basic structure, but if you intend to join or make cabinets I would reccommend that you properly dry the wood first. Drying the wood on its own outside will not achieve the proper level of moisture because of the humidity in Panama unless you leave it for a year or so. A basic and primtive kiln can be built with a dehumidifier fairly cheaply. I would recommend this to save yourself the headache afterwards.

    • Hi Alan,

      This is why I have you guys and gals on retainer. Great idea. It was nagging me at the back of my brain, but I didn’t know what to do. I see that DoIt Center has 40-pint dehumidifiers for about $200 and I can probably sell it when I am done with it. I have a large blue tarp and I can set up in the carport. I think I have a moisture meter but I haven’t checked on it in a few years; I hope that it isn’t all corroded. Great idea Alan. Thanks. Fred

  3. I must say that I thouroughly enjoy each and every one of your posts. I’m not sure I would be able to accomplish all that you have thus far but I do enjoy living vicariously through your blog. Keep up the great work and enjoy your retirement.

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