Each tree tells its own story
Each of my products is from a tree that has its own deep history here on Martha’s Vineyard. The island, first settled in 1642, has many historic buildings and old whaling homes, most of which are surrounded and sheltered by living trees. These trees have literally held the island together for centuries. Many of them have been around longer than the homes they protect.
I work with local Island arborists and I often get commissioned by homeowners to use trees from their properties that they are looking to cut down, which gives me an unparalleled opportunity to take something old and create something new. Sourcing and processing these trees from whole logs into usable wood products provides an intimate and fascinating peek into the island’s history.
The quality and distinction of the wood on the Island is what drives me. Each tree is a treasure, and what keeps me up at night are the trees I’ve missed, or the logs that got away, the ones that someone inadvertently sent to the chipper.
My sawmill changed my life
Milling is the most laborious and time consuming part of my process. After the tree is cut down, and bucked into usable log lengths, the sawmill is used to cut the logs lengthwise. The most interesting, and exciting part of the milling process comes after the first cut on a log. The first cut often reveals unique figure or markings. You can regularly hear me screaming at the sawmill after revealing buried treasure inside.
Because each tree is such a natural gift, it’s extremely important to me to find unique ways to use the entire tree, not just part of it. One tree might yield a few salad bowls, multiple cutting boards, and dozens of servers.
When things take shape
Everything I make gets roughed out green (or wet). When the tree is cut down its still holding all the water that gave it life. During the milling process I create rough or thick versions of the final process. Those roughed out blanks then need to be shaped and paired down through a process called roughing. The point of starting with thick stock is to ensure consistency during the drying process. The roughing process is a dirty, physically demanding and wet process. The water that is held inside the tree is often flying off the bowls as they spin on the lathe. During this time my shop feels like a rainforest.
Where art meets science
Drying wood is an art and a science. I’ve built wood kilns to efficiently remove moisture from my wood products. Trees need water to survive. Water is what makes up most of the weight when you pick up a freshly cut log. Dropping the moisture content that’s trapped inside the wood ensures future stability of my wood products. It can take over a month of drying to get a full kiln load of bowls down to a usable moisture content.
The bowls and boards expand and contract through the drying process, and once they are brought down to a specific moisture content the wood has done all its “moving.” With proper cleaning and care, they will not check or crack.
There's an art to drying wood consistently and effectively. Wood, by nature, is not a consistent raw material and there are wide variations from tree to tree. There's an art form in finding creative solutions to deal with a naturally inconsistent material. Efficient repetition of this process is where the science comes into play.
Sealing & protecting the wood
All of my wood products are hand sanded and sealed with walnut oil. I use a hypoallergenic and food safe walnut oil to seal and protect the wood. Every product I make comes with a sample of oil for you to use to continue to protect and share.
To your home
Designed to be used & shared
I make wood products that are intended to be used and shared daily. With the right care, my products are made to last a lifetime and to be passed down to further generations.
Over time, my wood products will change in color or appearance based on their environments. This is part of their story and what makes them unique to the people who own them and use them. Knowing that these products will outlive me is something that never ceases to amaze me.
Use them, care for them, share them.