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Eco Practices


I understand that environmentally responsible materials and practices are important to clients, their families and homes, and the woods we all love. 

There are many reasons clients want to engage one-on-one with a woodworker to create a unique piece for their home. The safety of your home environment isn't typically top of mind when purchasing furniture. But, for those who are sensitive to certain substances – or who make a practice of using natural or sustainable products – it’s an important factor to consider.

I have friends with multiple chemical sensitivity to substances like formaldehyde (used in many processed-wood products) and to ingredients in glues and finishes found in mass-manufactured furniture. Almost everything I make is designed for the home. Naturally, you want to keep your home safe, and I take this into consideration every time I choose materials.

Wood

For most furniture and hand-turned items, I use sustainable, managed-growth hardwoods (SHOULD WE LIST SOME, LIKE MAPLE, CHERRY, ETC.?), sourced primarily from New England. 

Custom-made pieces always depend on the client’s desires – whether it’s to use trees from my own sustainably managed forest, wood provided by the client or sourced from a mill, or material guaranteed to be chemical-free. The choice is always yours.

My goal is to create works that make clients happy, serve their practical and aesthetic needs, and become treasured heirlooms passed from one generation to the next. Selecting a sturdy piece of hardwood that retains its beauty and strength is part of the process. And, if you’re not sure, I’d be happy to discuss what you’re looking for from a piece and make suggestions about the durability of any wood choice.

Finishes and Other Materials

Some people are sensitive to chemicals and solvents in varnishes, waxes and glues. 

I love the traditional, natural finishes that 18th century woodworkers and cabinetmakers relied on for their beautiful, long-lasting pieces. They used linseed oil, also known as flax-seed oil, which is a natural product, followed by wax, which brings out golden hues in woods, like pine and XX, and burnished lusters in darker woods.

There are chemical solvents in some waxes. To avoid this, I can make my own (dissolved in linseed oil) or use waxes dissolved in citrus oils.

I feel it’s important to use non-chemical-based products to finish bowls and trays that you plan to use for food. I will use shellac, lacquer or urethane to create a glossy shine on pieces that are intended only for display, but I always follow the direction of my client and if you’d like a display piece finished with non-chemical products, I’ll do that.

When it comes to tables, I prefer to use urethane. You can’t beat it for protecting wood against food and water stains and minor scratches.

Most important to me is client preference. Each type of finish has a different “look and feel,” and my main goal is to bring out tones in the wood that you love the most.

If you’re concerned about sensitivity and want to research materials further, let’s discuss specific products and their ingredients.