It's great to have friends that understand, at least on some level, what you are interested in. In my case that's just about everything, but at the same time it helps for whatever it is to be visually interesting, at least to me. This is where my friend Ed stepped in and provided me a unique opportunity.
Ed is one of my friends I play trivia with most Wednesday nights. Recently he started working at Highland Millworks, a local business that makes reclaimed wood flooring. Last week he mentioned to me that I should come by and check it out, and specifically to bring my camera. Having had a few discussions in the past about the place and my limited knowledge of the building from a previous job my interest was peaked. My first question, though, was if they had shop lights or if it was all natural light. "Natural light", was the answer I both wanted and received. After figuring out what might be a good time to stop by, I was starting to get really excited about this.
I really have no knowledge at all about milling floors. I actually know a little more now, but what was more important to me was what I was going to get to see.
Upon arrival I was given a nice little tour of the facility, a small shop in a mostly industrial area of Augusta, GA. Needless to say, there was sawdust all over the place, but not even remotely as much as I would have thought. I was shown some of the equipment, most of which I wouldn't be able to tell you the names of, but I can tell you what some of them do now. I think the one that I found most interesting, yet not too visually amazing was an automated blade sharpener. It's something that is really cool if you like machines, sparks, and are easily amused; I fall into all three of those categories.
Outside the main shop was what I found even more interesting, though. I had this idea that I would spend most of my time inside shooting all kinds of machines and industrial equipment, but I was so wrong. Outside were stacks and stacks of reclaimed wood that would eventually become the finished product. It came from all kinds of places too. Large beams from old textile mills, hand hewed planks from old barns, and many pieces of wood containing old handmade nails. Just imaging the history behind these pieces was fun.
Aside from shooting, I was really glad to get to see a small business in town doing something like this. The environmentalist and history geek inside of me was really happy to see all this old material being used to make something new again. I appreciate when things can be reused and repurposed instead of just being discarded. It was also a plus, as I mentioned before, to see something like this coming out Augusta. I have a feeling that there are many people in town that have no idea that a business like this even exists.
My thanks go out to my buddy Ed and the crew at Highland Millworks for letting me poke around and shoot last week. I only wish I could do things like this more often!