I love wood because it’s simple - it is what it is.
Working with wood is like a partnership. It’s not just me running the show, left to my own devices with unlimited possibilities. Well, sort of, but there’s the wood too..
It’s pretty rad to think that you are probably reading this from your computer on a desk that was once a tree. I love wood because it’s simple - it is what it is. The most natural building resource we have, real, organic. It spent its entire existence giving food and shelter to the ecosystem that supported it, creating the air we need to breathe – a wholesome existence. It it then felled (chopped down), milled (cut into planks), seasoned (dried out), and carted off to makers and builders all over the world to begin its next life.
Working with wood every day you build a relationship with it, a language used between the maker and the materials they use.
down the length for twist, cupping or bowing. The timber talks, on each machine, in every process. Over time you become fluent, when I’m ripping on the saw and feel the pressure build in the push or hear it start to squeal a little, it’s the timbers binding on the blade and I need to slow my feed rate. There is so much tension held in each stick of timber that needs to be release and counter released, worked with evenly to keep it stable.
It is really cool getting in the zone and just feeling out each process, listening to the timber on the tools and making slight adjustments to compliment or counteract with how it is reacting. I recon most veteran makers could use their tools with their eyes closed (though I do not recommend or endorse such behavior, nor have I ever tried). Feeling out each process, relying on the touch and sound. It’s really gratifying to of built this kind of relationship with my craft and to be able to understand and communicate in this language.
Working with wood is exactly that, you have to work with it. It’s often the case with furniture making that the more beautiful the figure in the timber you are working with, the more difficult it is to work with. Being an organic material no two pieces are ever the same. You can tell a lot about each piece just by looking at it. Where it was cut from the tree, whether it had any limbs connected to it, big tree little tree, etc. Wood is full of natural defects, some woodworkers showcase these by making them a feature of their work, others use their meticulous skills to hide any imperfections. Either way, your dictated by the piece of timber you are working with, the wood defines what you can create and how you do so.
Working with wood every day you build a relationship with it, a language used between the maker and the materials they use. First through sight, looking over the timber can tell you a lot about how it needs to be handled, looking for knots, checking grain direction, sight
Having a holistic approach to design and making is part of what got me so passionate about JDLee Furniture in the beginning
taking this head on and initiating amazing, creative responses to the important issues of waste and longevity.
I suppose I just wanted to be a part of that, set a bench mark for others to follow. Moving away from cheap, often high waste mass manufactured product and materials into natural, organic materials and products, handcrafted and build to last. I love working with a natural material, the smell of fresh cut timber in the morning, soaked in sweat and covered in dust in the middle of summer – almost always grinning. Living in the beautiful part of the world that I do and being able to take a few steps and be deep in the lush, beautiful nature lends to a feeling which is incredibly satisfying, being among the trees in the bush. A sense of full circle. Same goes for everything in and out of the shop, if it feels right then it is right.. for right now at least. And working with timber feels pretty bloody good.
In a world full of waste and extensive manufacturing where most building materials and products have been manufactured several times to become fit for purpose. Which are then turned into something else, it feels really refreshing, or just right to be working with wood. No toxic ingredients, no extensive post raw material/pre-building material manufacturing – like MDF or plastics. It’s all natural man. Literally grows on trees. Very little happens between the forest and the workshop, and It’s important to me to make sure I’m conscious of the glues and finishes I’m using, keeping this organic product as natural as possible. From forest to floor.
Having a holistic approach to design and making is part of what got me so passionate about JDLee Furniture in the beginning. Seeing so much waste in the manufacturing industries and the lack of understanding and communications between the trade/manufacturing industries and the architecture/design communities. There are plenty of amazing people