Celebrate National Forest Product Week | Vermont Wood Furniture

By Presidential proclamation, this week– October 20-26, 2013 is National Forest Products Week.  It’s a time for us to recognize the beauty of our forests, the many products that come from our forests and the people who work in and manage our forests.

At Vermont Woods Studios, our company was founded on a mission of forest conservation. Through Vermont’s beautiful, eco-friendly wood furniture, we’re trying to help raise awareness about the importance of sustainable forestry.  What’s so interesting or important about sustainable forestry?  Check out some of these fun forest facts:

  • Each year the average American uses an amount of forest products equivalent to one HUGE tree (10 stories tall and 18 inches in diameter).  That’s over 43 cubic feet of wood and 681 pounds of paper
  • More than 5,000 things are made from trees such as houses, furniture, utensils, fences, books, medicines, chewing gum, cosmetics, clothing, toothpaste, soap, varnish, Almond Joy candy bars and of course, maple syrup
  • The single oldest living thing on earth is a tree, its is 4,700 years old and is located in the US. It was growing when the Egyptians built the pyramids!
  • Forests occupy one third of the Earth’s land area– they are our greatest defense against global warming
  • As the Earth’s great air conditioners, trees rid the air of excess carbon dioxide and other pollutants to improve air quality
  • Trees filter water, trap particles to make soil and help regulate climate patterns around the world
  • Most forests are threatened by unsustainable forestry practices, development and climate change
  • Organized crime controls much of the world’s timber trade– illegal timber is the new heroin
  • An area of rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed every second of every minute of every day
  • In less than 100 years over half of the forest has been cut and burned, leaving whole areas of the earth bare and unprotected
  • 54 of the world’s 193 countries have already lost >90% of their forests

With our mission of sustainable forestry we hope to persuade people to buy eco-friendly, Vermont made wood furniture and avoid the purchase of imported furniture that’s made from wood that’s illegally clear cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests.

Learn more about responsible forestry on the Vermont Forest Products Association website and visit us at our Stonehurst fine furniture and art gallery to experience the sustainable difference!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Our friend Kathleen Wanner of the Vermont Wood Manufacturer’s Association VWMA is fond of the saying, “local wood = local good”.  It captures Vermont’s passion for supporting small, local businesses that emphasize sustainable use of the working landscape: our forests and fields.

Consider for a minute, your impact on local economies when you buy American made furniture versus imported furniture (most furniture in America is imported from Asia).  If, for example you buy Vermont made wood furniture,  you are supporting the local land owner who grew the trees, the forester who manages the land for sustainability, the logger who falls the trees, the sawyer who slices and dices the wood, perhaps a wholesaler (and/or retailer) who inventory the wood, the furniture maker who builds your furniture and (unless you buy directly from the furniture maker) the retail store that sells you the new bedroom set.  That’s why we say “local wood = local good”.

Here’s a typical Forest to Furniture scenario that happens routinely all over Vermont:

A local logging company or tree service harvests the trees.

Chuck Mayotte from Mayotte’s tree service in Guilford looks to find the highest and best use for the trees he removes.  Sometimes trees will be used for firewood, but when Chuck comes across high quality logs or those with special character, he sells them to area furniture makers.

Local sawyers cut the lumber into planks or beams.

Vince Johnson is a local sawyer in Vernon with a portable sawmill that he drives to the woodlot at harvest time.  He sawed black locust and norway spruce logs for us at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture gallery.  They are currently being used to build a deck behind our showroom.

Kerber Mills is another local sawyer with a small mill in Guilford, VT.  Clint Kerber milled the cherry and maple wood for our hardwood floors at the Stonehurst showroom.

Local furniture makers transform the wood into fine furniture.

Check out some of the specialty Forest to Furniture products that have been made by members the prestigious Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers including Richard Bissell of Putney Vermont and David Hurwitz of Randolf, VT.

So… what do you think?  Does the story (and the benefit to local economies) behind local wood furniture add enough value to sway your buying decision?  Or is imported furniture just too darned affordable to pass up? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Lyndon-furniture-vt-usaYesterday I wrote about Vermont's Lyndon Furniture, one of America's most admired green furniture companies– and one that has remained in America throughout the offshoring exodus of the last 40 years.

Lyndon's owner and founder, Dave Allard is shown here in Vermont's Green Mountain Forest with some of his hardwood creations.

We interviewed Dave yesterday to learn more about why Lyndon Furniture is considered one of America's greenest furniture companies and here's the second half of Dave's response:

Sustainably Harvested Hardwoods – Lyndon furniture is made with choice hardwoods such as natural Cherry, Maple, Oak, or Walnut which are harvested through sustainable forestry practices. The predominant method is Single Tree Selection where trained foresters select individual trees for harvesting. The cut logs are then removed with the least disruption to the surrounding environment. This method creates openings in the forest canopy allowing more precipitation, sunlight, and nutrients to reach the forest floor ensuring the health of other trees. Responsible forest management takes into consideration long term timber production, while addressing water quality, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, forest aesthetics and recreational opportunities. The same can’t always be said for Asian or Rainforest woods where responsible forest management practices often take a back seat to maximizing profits.

Green Furniture Finishes – Lyndon's furniture finishes and stains are all made in Vermont. Vermont has some of the strictest environmental laws in the country which coincide with our views and respect of nature. Consequently our finishes have far lower VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) than current American industry standards, and far exceed the standards of imported products.

Sustainable Manufacturing – Lyndon Furniture has an extensive recycling program. We recycle paper, cardboard, metal and wood waste. Most materials (with the exception of the wood waste) are picked up by our local recycling center for proper material reintegration. Wood scrap is utilized as a biomass heating source (which has allowed Lyndon to drastically reduce oil usage) while sawdust is used by local farms for animal bedding. We have also made significant investments in energy efficiency to reduce our costs, and more importantly our carbon footprint. 

At a time when it seems every furniture company is "going green" it's nice to know that Lyndon Furniture and their fellow Vermont furniture makers actually have a history of using green practices from the start.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

 

Vt-furniture-sustainable

Naturally, as wood furniture makers, we at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture have to be concerned about forest conservation.  It's the foundation of our company's viability.

Although our Green Mountain Forests in Vermont are healthy and sustainable we know that, from a global perspective deforestation is the Number 1 environmental problem on our planet today.  Deforestation is a huge contributor to global warming, climate change, air pollution (carbon and other emissions from slash and burn practices), habitat loss, biodiversity loss, pollution of marine habitats (due to run-off from pesticides and fertilizers used to transform diverse forests into mono-cultured plantations) and more.

So at Vermont Woods Studios, we are working with The Nature Conservancy in support of their Plant A Billion Trees project.  We plant one tree for every order we fulfill and we support many non-profits dedicated to forest conservation.

We appreciate your concern for the environment.  When you buy wood furniture from us, you can rest assured that the forest where your furniture began it's life, will still be around for generations to come.  As will your furniture!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vcrd-vt-rural-landscapeAt Vermont Woods Studios Sustainable Furniture we've been working with the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership to develop an Action Plan to create a rural renaissance in Vermont that focuses economic development efforts on our working landscape. Right now we have a tremendous opportunity to build our working lands economy (farming, forestry, and value-added processing like furniture making) into a cornerstone of job creation and rural revitalization.

Many of the pieces needed for a Renaissance of our farm and forest economies are already in place. More and more people in our regional market are looking for sustainably produced products, such as our Vermont Made Furniture.  But the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership needs our support in bringing some remaining pieces together. 

The Vermont Working Landscape Action Plan defines what those pieces are and how we can pull all of those opportunities, policies, and new plans into one unified, efficient and effective effort.  If you live in Vermont or vacation here, you are a stakeholder in this plan.  We know that without taking action the landscape of Vermont will evolve rapidly and probably not in a way we would want.

Stakeholders, please take a minute to read the plan and offer your support.  Thanks!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.