Do you ever feel undervalued or unappreciated? If wood had feelings, I wonder if it feels similarly; being neglected in this world of iPhones and iPads? This is a daunting comparison I have to admit, even with my bias as a the owner of a furniture making company. After all, wood is void of a hard drive and monitor.
On the other hand many useful and artsy things important to us are made from wood. We live in homes made from wood. In many cases wood heats those homes whether in the form of wood pellets or the more traditional, high tech cord wood residential heaters and furnaces. Of course furniture is made from wood for sitting on (chairs), eating on (dining tables), eating out of (bowls), picking food up with (chopsticks) and storing articles in (desks, chests of drawers and hutches).
Wood, or at least the process of making it via photo-synthesis, is the source of Oxygen on our Earth and the sustain-er of all animal life forms on the planet. Oh, and don’t forget that the Oxygen atmosphere creates an important protective surrounding the globe to keep us warm and to burn up meteorites before they hit the ground — thereby preventing mother Earth from looking like the moon! All in all, wood is very important to humankind despite its absence of RAM.
Narrowing the focus a bit, the cutting boards pictured above are made from three kinds of wood: Cherry, Maple and Tiger Maple. The dark stripes are Cherry wood. Cherry reacts with sunlight in a way that transforms its color into a dark, reddish-brown color that’s as beautiful as it is natural. It’s striking to see this process commence in minutes after being presented to sunlight. Although customers frequently ask to stain pieces of furniture made from Cherry, an equal number prefer to cover it with a clear coat and let natures beauty shine!
In contrast to the photo-sensitivity of Cherry is Maple, distinguished by the light colored wood, adjacent to the darker Cherry striped wood. Maple will develop a yellow hue in reaction to the sunlight, but it may take 30 years for this change to occur. That’s why it is common to stain Maple with a desired color because few of us can wait 30 years for that color transformation to happen.
The third wood specie, illustrated in the picture above is a special form of Maple, distinguished by the distinct stripes running perpendicular (at 90 degrees to) the grain of the wood. This can only be one kind of wood: Tiger Maple. Stunning isn’t it! Rare too, being only 2 – 3% of all Maple. Although similar in overall characteristics to Maple, Tiger Maple requires more care when formed with machine tools due to its propensity for “tear out,” where the wood fibers are ripped out rather than being cleanly cut by the blade. Of course this makes woodworkers talk to themselves, but all of us are rewarded with the absolute beauty of the result. When finished, the “tiger stripes” present an almost 3D, holographic form that seems quite impossible for humble, product of the earth. If you focus on a spot in the Tiger Stripe and gently move your head to the left to right, then back, you too will witness a depth of appearance that is almost “holographic!” This is the reason why many of our customers chose Tiger Maple as the material of preference for their special custom piece.
What kind of wood appeals to you?
Vermont Furniture Works