The Balanced Guy: On Woodworking….

OK, so I’m not really sure where to put this blurb since it doesn’t seem to fit under any of my usual ones. Even “Honeydew” doesn’t really work nor does “Toys”. Therefore I’ve decided to just put it at the top. The picture doesn’t do this place justice, this place being Willard Brothers Domestic & Exotic Lumber. If you’re a woodworker in the Central Jersey area, this place is heaven; if you like fine furniture this place is heaven; if you just like cool places, this place is heaven. I’ve taken both my wife and kids there separately and they all came away thinking it was just simply very cool. Regardless, I’ll file it under one of my favorite places in the region.

Here’s the gig – Willard sells lengths of lumber – all kinds of lumber: domestic and exotic. All cuts: lumber, burls, blocks, quarter-sawn. through-sawn, you name it. Some of the pieces are 3 or 4 feet across. They specialize in historic trees. Don’t worry, they don’t go cutting down historic trees willy-nilly. When a special tree dies or it otherwise has to come down due to disease, damage from storms or other reasons Willard steps in, takes it down in large sections and turns it into lumber to be used to craft beautiful furniture. Maybe you graduated from Princeton University and remember a beautiful tree on campus. There’s a good chance Willard Brothers has lumber from that tree if it died or had to come down. Furthermore, you’re in luck if you’d like to have a desk or table made from that very tree because you can buy the lumber from that tree and have a custom furniture-maker craft you a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture for your office or home.

turning blocks
Kids (and even you) will find the “showroom” fascinating. If you’ve never really been aware of it, wood naturally comes in all the colors of the rainbow. You can find wood in yellow, orange, red, brown, white, green, ebony, and even purple…yes, purple (it’s called, not surprisingly, “purpleheart”). There’s also zebrawood, which as the name implies, is black and white striped. It’s all simply gorgeous with each wood having a distinct texture and scent.


One of the things I like best about Willard Brothers – it’s not corporate. It’s down-home, gritty and dirty, and careful-or-you-might-actually-pinch your fingers-or-bump your head. If you decide to go, they’re located on Basin Road in Trenton. That’s off of Baker’s Basin Road which crosses Route 1 where Mrs. G’s Appliances is. Well, worth a Saturday afternoon visit.

The writer of The Balanced Guy, Roman Horoszewski, is not particularly balanced but he’s definitely trying to be. He makes the effort by not only doing “guy stuff” but also spending time with his three sons and wife while attempting to remain informed about the world around him. He and his family live in the Princeton, NJ area.  His blog is @

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