Stormy Weather: Crafting Beauty From Damaged Wood

We often talk about the quality of wood that goes into furniture making, and while the best wood helps to make the best furniture, make no mistake, it’s the furniture maker who turns that wood into a beautiful piece of furniture. The wood used enhances the finished product, but it’s the craftsman who creates the art.

Vermont cherry stand up desk

When a thunderstorm damaged an acre of local trees, Guild member Richard Bissell took the opportunity to turn a bad situation around, and help the environment, too.

“I am a firm believer that we should be using the resources we have available locally (which in Vermont are plentiful) and not importing exotic woods,” Bissell says. “While exotics are certainly beautiful, all I can think of when I see a piece of furniture made from a rain forest tree species is the hole in the canopy (or worse – a clear cut) created when that tree was cut – often illegally. I think ‘exotics’ should only be used by those who are using them locally in which case they are not exotics at all but local wood. The demand created by their use by builders and craftsmen from all over the world is what drives the tremendous amount of irresponsible and illegal logging that is helping to destroying the rain forests which are so vital to be preserved.”

dovetailed drawers with ebonized cherry knobs

Dovetailed cherry drawer fronts with ebonized cherry knobs.

So, he made lumber from the damaged wood and remade it into something elegant, even though the wood was not of the best quality.

“I made this desk entirely from low grade local lumber to show that even low grade “junk” wood can be made into beautiful furniture.”

Think of it as the calm after the storm.
character wood cherry top and back apron


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