Don't think I mentioned that I'd succumbed to my chronic Woodworker Annual addiction last week, did I? My sworn policy is to try and confine myself to pre-WW2 ones, but volumes from 1980 and '81 containing all the adverts was too much to resist. Man, they're heavy blighters with 850+ pages a piece. Not exactly ideal for bedtime reading... Anyway, in amongst articles with such humorous phrases as "Alan Holtham is a young man" and Ashley Iles new factory opening are, of course, the adverts. Funny really; so much has changed and yet in amongst the unfamiliar are names that are still going strong now. And noticeably a lot more small concerns in both the tool and timber retail sector. The latter includes adverts from "Cornish Woodcraft". Naturally a name that'd catch my eye anyway, especially given the paucity of wood suppliers in this area, but the accompanying information is fascinating indeed. Viz:
Hardwood at Trade Prices Direct To Your Door
Cornish Woodcrafts are starting a new NATIONWIDE service for Turners, Woodcarvers, DIY and Trade customers. We will be running a Mobile Sales Unit in ALL areas so in future you will be able to select and purchase at the same time.
We will be carrying an extensive range of woods and veneers. There will be no obligation to buy, just drop us a line or telephone requesting our Mobile Unit to call on you.
Among the hardwoods we will be carrying are: Apple, Acacia, Ash, Chestnut, Cherry, Elm, Hornbeam, Lime, Larch, Poplar, Pear, Oak, Oak Burrs, Sycamore, Teak, Walnut, Yew, Mahogany. Also a full range of veneers. At a later date we will also carry a range of Exotic woods.
The idea of this new service is to allow you to select the planks you require on the spot instead of receiving them via carriers and finding they fall short of your expectations. The system also cuts down the high cost of carriage.
It doesn't take a great business brain to work out the profit margin on such a service would be small, bordering on non-existant. In fact, with no obligation to buy, there's every chance of a loss and indeed that part of the advert disappears later! But can you imagine it? A big lorry driving up on request, full of hardwoods for you to pick and choose on the spot? And based here, in Cornwall, where folks have ended up travelling to Oxfordshire to get cabinet-quality hardwoods? It's like finding out Santa Claus used to exist...
I googled for Cornish Woodcraft and found one reference that jogged my memory. When I first moved down here there was a tiny outfit of that name near Truro, catering to the turning fraternity in the main. I was frankly a bit scornful of it as a place to bother with at the time, fresh from London as I then was. Looking back now, from the perspective of being by and large in a woodworking desert, I really wish they were still in existance. Especially if they had such a glorious history of trying to bring hardwoods to anyone's door.