The downside is that my production rate is low, due to the time taken in the other steps; logging, sawing, drying, sorting and dressing. It would be so much easier to just buy my wood at the local store.
However, once in a while, a project comes along that reminds me why I do this.
This spring, in between raccoon-proofing my shop and working on a deck (I promised my wife a year ago), I received a commission.
The client was familiar with my work and is a woodworker himself so, when he asked me to build a table for his office, I was a bit apprehensive, especially when he was not very specific.
He gave me the overall dimensions, said that he preferred maple and cherry, and wanted two drawers.
I found a pair of bookmatched, quarter sawn boards I had sawn from a large sugar maple several years before. The two boards were wide enough to make the top, and we agreed on a harvest table style with wane edges.
Using wane edge lumber ensures the finished piece has a unique personality; no two boards are ever the same. This also applies to "imperfections" such as spaulting, bark inclusions and spile holes. In this case, the spike knot in the front apron meant that there was considerable curl which really popped when the finish was applied.
The cherry for the drawer fronts came from a local tree which had yielded a small amount of material with amazing curl. I had been saving it for a special occasion, and decided to use some of it on this project.
All in all, a very satisfying result; now I have a deck to build.