Woods & Finishes
The beauty of wood is infinitely various. Each species has a unique set of physical properties — stability, hardness, weight, machineability, etc. — which determines its suitability for a given application. In addition to performance, there are also aesthetic considerations: how does it look and feel? I seek out visually interesting specimens – of bird's-eye and curly maples; curly cherry; quarter-sawn lumbers – structurally suitable wood which also exhibits an interesting figure or grain pattern. When possible, we will try to match any particular preference for species and appearance you may have.
How We Finish Your Furniture
When you purchase a chest, jewelry box, or chair, as well as most dressers and cabinets, it will be finished with Velvit Oil, a commercial soy-based resin which protects against moisture and stains. For optimum long-term care, it should be periodically sanded lightly (600 grit sandpaper or 0000 steel wool), re-oiled and wiped dry.
For your table, bench or blanket chest, we use 3 coats of a very durable spray varnish, which is then hand-rubbed with fine sandpaper and steel wool. Resistant to moisture, alcohol and marring, this lustrous finish is virtually maintenance-free.
Hard maple is the obvious choice for my cutting boards both for practical and aesthetic reasons. It's extremely durable, and wears slowly and evenly. Craftsmen consider it highly "workable" – a pleasure to cut, shape and finish with precision. And it's a very stable wood, which means that it resists warping, cracking, swelling and splitting due to the stresses of temperature and humidity. With maple, I can achieve exactly the shapes I want, and be assured they'll stay that way.
Because of its high density and fine, even grain, hard maple resists marring from knife cuts, and absorbs relatively little moisture from food. It also provides a pleasing finish – a smooth, even surface with an attractive luster. This is important to me, as I work to achieve a finish that is virtually liquid in its smoothness.
All of my cutting boards are made from bird's-eye maple, which exhibits a pattern of hundreds of small oval figures resembling bird's eyes. Only one in perhaps 500 hard maple trees will exhibit this pattern, and experts are uncertain why it occurs. It may result from a fungus, or particular stresses on the growing tree. Because bird's-eye maple varies tremendously in color and pattern, I create each cutting board from custom-matched sections selected from a single piece of wood. This gives each board its distinctive appearance.
Sometimes known as Cabinet cherry or New England mahogany, black cherry is one of the most highly prized cabinet woods in North America. Woodworkers know why — it seems to cooperate with almost anything you might wish to ask of it.
Cherry grain is fairly straight (except for the wavy radiance of curly cherry) and the texture is uniform. The wood has a delightful warm, rich luster that rewards the eye. It yields predictably and precisely to edge tools, and is a joy to work. Once seasoned, it remains dimensionally stable, holds fasteners well, and polishes to a beautiful finish that gets richer and darker with age. A day spent working with cherry is always a good day, and the end result just gets prettier as the years go by.
White oak is forever dense, hard, strong and extremely wear-resistant. If you had to choose one wood to build furniture and cabinetry that would serve and strengthen an entire nation, you might do no better than oak. And in America, where oak is plentiful, that's pretty much what happened.
Before the Age of Steel, oak symbolized strength, and was the material of choice for building anything you needed to withstand punishment and last a long time. It's also a very attractive wood, and despite being demanding to work, is well worth the effort.
I prefer white oak to other oak varieties because of its density and the golden-brown color it acquires when finished.
American black walnut is highly valued for such applications as fine furniture, gunstocks, decorative panels and musical instruments. Heavy, hard, strong and stiff, it's usually easily worked with tools, and remains stable in use. Walnut has a gratifying, satiny feel. and finishes to a velvety sheen. Typically, the wood has an interesting grain pattern that reveals itself beautifully when finished.
There are basically two approaches to cutting a log into planks plain-sawing and quarter-sawing. Plain-sawing means slicing the log more or less parallel to the tree's annular rings, while in quarter-sawing, the cuts are made radially to the rings (see illustration).
Most lumber is plain-sawn; primarily because this method will yield more planks from a given log. Quarter-sawn lumber is harder to find and more expensive, but has several desirable attributes, not the least of which is its appearance. Quarter-sawn lumber will display the wood's ring structure on its wide surface, as well as showing figures and grain patterns to best advantage. Since white oak can otherwise be a somewhat bland-looking wood, I greatly prefer the visual interest of quarter-sawn oak.
Quarter-sawn lumber has structural advantages as well: it shrinks, swells, twists, cups and splits less readily than plain-sawn. It also wears more evenly and tends to be more naturally water-resistant.
Edward's Cutting Board Oil
Edward's Oil is compounded of all-natural, food-safe, FDA-approved oils especially for Edward Wohl cutting boards and blocks. Edward's Oil is also terrific for treating a wide variety of wood surfaces, including countertops, chopping blocks, pastry boards, serving trays, salad bowls, utensils, and more. Edward's Oil comes in 16-oz. bottles and may be ordered with your cutting board(s) or separately.
Fall Art Tour
Come visit our workshop during the Southwest Wisconsin Fall Art Tour!
October 19-21, 2018 10am - 6pm
More info at fallarttour.com
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