I like to hand select the materials I use in my furniture. Living on Nantucket means putting in quite a bit of extra effort just to get off-island to my favorite suppliers. Sometimes I can’t get a boat reservation. Other times the ferry might not run because of heavy weather. But when I step up to the racks of wood all the issues encountered in getting there fade away.
With so many great species available these days it’s sometimes hard to make choices. As with a lot of other craftsmen in my trade, I try to stick to the species that are readily available and responsibly sourced: classics like Black Walnut and Mahogany as well as striking, exotic woods like Padouk and Bubinga.
Sometimes choices are driven by price and what’s available. If there is a great selection of a species that I hadn’t originally planned on buying I may be swayed by the fact that it looks too good to pass up.
Bamboo, of course, is probably the ultimate sustainable product. It replenishes itself quickly and when the Bamboo sheets are manufactured the company uses soy based adhesives. That means no formaldehyde or off-gassing. As far as sheet goods are concerned, the Bamboo I use is very stable and very hard. It will hold up superbly as a table top or structural element.
All the hardware in my furniture is stainless steel. Here on Nantucket, stainless steel is the go-to choice for all hardware and fasteners. Some woods react unfavorably to contact with regular zinc or galvanized fasteners so it’s a no-brainer to use it. It costs a lot more but the extra price is preferable over possible corrosion down the road.
Padouk, Walnut, Mahogany, Sapele, Bubinga – these are the main species I use in my furniture. I use these because of the figure and color of the wood. It’s all about the beauty of the wood grain! There are many other species available so if you would like something different please ask and I’ll check availability. Maple is always around and Wenge and Brazilian Koa are oftentimes in the racks at the lumber yard.
The finishes I use are all water-based, non-yellowing coatings. Ultra-low VOC content means they are good for me, good for you and good for the environment.
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