(Following is my article from the soon to be published June Issue of VaporMonthly)
I would like to tell you a story about an idea I had and the PV’s that resulted from that idea. But first a real short history lesson that will help in understanding the special meaning behind this project. This is a quick history of the stadium known as the Horseshoe or “the Shoe”. It is where the Ohio State Buckeye’s football team plays. But this story isn’t really about them, but where this story begins.
“The Shoe” was completed in 1922 and during the construction it was decided to use redwood lumber for the seats throughout the stadium. California Redwoods were chosen and the lumber was milled in 1921. Fast forward 90 years, through 25 Big Ten Football Championships, 6 National Championships, and the Woody Hayes coaching era to the year 2000 when major renovations were completed and the wood was replaced with metal seating throughout the stadium.
During the removal of the old seating, a small amount was kept by a member of the construction crew. Fast forward again to a few years ago when I was made aware of this wood being available and decided to purchase a section of this seating, with no idea what I would do with it, but as a huge Buckeye fan, I wanted a piece of that history.
Fast forward again to the present and my conversion to vaping which began late last year. I bought a Phidias Mod from Fonosmoak (Martin firstname.lastname@example.org ) on ECF and fell in love with the quality and craftsmanship he put into this mod. The Phid that I was able to order was a California Pepperwood that I found was unique to me as it was like the trees in my father’s yard in Arizona and with me being in Tennessee and him being in his 90’s, it just carried a little more meaning for me to snag that wood choice.
Then an idea was born in my mind, what to do with those old redwood planks from “the Shoe”. Could this old dry wood be used to make a unique one of a kind Phid? I doubted it but had to find out and so I contacted Fono who immediately wanted to know more about what I had in mind. I was almost shocked that he didn’t think I was crazy and actually was excited about being a part of this project.
I sent 4 pieces of the stadium redwood to Fono in hopes that at least one piece would be useable as the outside patina (darkened areas from age) was very rough and brittle. If at least one piece was usable then he might be able to make the Phid of my dreams. On the day the wood arrived in Las Vegas, Fono immediately began working on a piece. He was able to shave down the patina to reveal a beautiful redwood underneath, but it was so dry and brittle.
Fono began his work and set out to try and make two Phids from the available planks. One with the patina still intact and one without. The patina one was going to be questionable as the darker surface did not run very deep, and would be difficult to get down to a surface that was smooth enough for the final product. He was going to try, but said part of the problem was the fact that the grain was straight and would lead to the possibility of cracking or crumbling, especially during the build process.
Fono worked his magic and as can be seen in this teaser pic he sent me of the twin Phids drying, it was clear that this project might actual become a reality. The twins were alive and well and would soon be full-fledged PVs that would be worthy of the name Phidias. They still had to endure the final stages of wiring and finish work but I felt good that they would survive the rigors involved.
When my package arrived from Fono, I couldn’t wait to open it and see them in person. I was not disappointed, truly stunning craftsmanship. The stark difference in the 2 of them was amazing. The one with the patina had such an aged look, just like the old lumber I had sent him. The one without the patina glowed more like a newer piece of wood but still showed the age and grain so well.
This was a long journey through time and I hope you enjoyed where we ended up. I’m hoping this will serve as an idea for others looking for a way to make that PV special to them, whether it is a Phid or any other mods that are available. I know of at least two other Phids that have special wood involved, one from an old fishing cabin by the water and another from a childhood swing, how cool is that? We have some of the brightest and most creative mod makers out there and some, like Fono that are willing to take on a challenge. Use your imagination, the sky is the limit on what can be done.
“You can never pay back, but you can always pay forward.” – Woody Hayes
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