My fascination with wood began in 1957.
We had a fireplace. Every evening my father would go to the woodshed and split kindling and hardwood for our fire.
My job was to carry the kindling to the fireplace. I remember peeking around the corner of the woodshed doorjamb as he split the wood. The kindling was pine board ends from a local sawmill shop. It was full of knots with crazy grain running all around. When his ax hit it, a piece would split off and go flying around the shed, ricocheting off the other wood and the walls. It made a terrific crack and noise as it bounced to a stop.
Of course it was dangerous to be around so I was forbidden from the shed until the splitting was done. It was the very thing a little boy could love--fast action and lots of noise. I stayed just at the door, peeking in, and ducking back.
It wasn't long before I learned to lay the fire to his satisfaction. It became a ritual before supper on cold nights.
My family bought some land outside of town about this time. It had a fabulously cold spring for fresh water. There were some old orchards, stone walls, and a lot of underbrush beneath the trees. It had been hayfields at the turn of the century; but now it was woods.
This land became our family home though we never had a house there. We lived on that land every summer – for a month. We slept in tents and ate on an old picnic table under a brown canvas tarpaulin; it was our cook shelter. It was 20 x 20 and strung from two gigantic trees that were the pillars of our campsite. They provided shade and rustled in the breezes. We had a rope swing hung from another giant beauty that could handle 4 kids stacked in a spider arrangement. We built a stone firepit and my mother cooked on an old wood cook stove set up on rocks. It was mostly heaven for me. We called it "the woods".
My father had plans for it not being all heaven. We had to work each day to keep everything going. Water had to be carried from the spring. Firewood had to be gathered, cut, and split. Everything had to be kept clean and put away so bears, bobcats, and other wild animals wouldn't be drawn in. My mother and father had a saying: "no worky, no eaty". The chores were completed every day.
Firewood was a big job. We kept the fires going and cut wood for the following year. We did it all with axes and hand saws. We did it this way for years. I learned a lot about wood. The hand splitting taught me a lot about the grain in wood.
I lived there solo for 3 weeks when I was 14 years old.
Time went by and I went off to college. After my 3rd year I took a summer job working with a master European woodworker.
I started my own woodworking business two years later. It continues today though it has changed a lot.
In the early 1990's I started supplying birdseye maple neck blanks to a custom guitar shop. I also supplied some tiger maple to another guitar company. Until then, I had those woods just because I loved their beauty.
The guitar builders really liked my wood and the wood business grew pretty fast. I learned that guitar builders, in general, are a pretty fussy bunch. They like it just so, and there are reasons for this. There are a lot of forces at work in a guitar. Luthiers need good grain structure and uniform density in their woods. They appreciate a supplier who understands this. Good wood is essential to their success.
John Page, founder of Fender Custom Shop, working on a birdseye maple neck blank from Berndt Woods
We now supply birdseye maple and tiger maple to guitar builders in 9 countries. If you really like wood you might also visit our other site, www.birdseyemaple.com.
BerndtWoods offers a variety of musicians' tools, accessories, furnishings, utensils, and gifts.
One unique feature of all our products is that they are made from the sidewoods from our musical woods business. These woods are beautiful and rare. We do everything possible to reduce our waste by using every possible piece.
For over 35 years BERNDT has meant the finest name in woods, design and quality. We supply birdseye maple and tiger maple to the world's finest guitar builders, artists and luxury brands. We now produce the finest drumsticks, chopsticks, pickpockets, trays, furniture, wall paneling, and wall art from these woods.
I hope you also will enjoy our efforts.
~~ Lawrence Berndt
Call us at 1-603-675-6206 or toll-free at 1-877-355-8957.