Ever wonder where your wooden furniture comes from? Seven years ago I founded Vermont Woods Studios because I didn’t like the answer to that question. And the answer is: if you didn’t purchase American made furniture, yours may well have originated in a beautiful tropical rainforest that was being plundered by illegal logging activities.
One Acre of Rainforest Disappears Every Second
I spent the first few years at Vermont Woods Studios trying to raise awareness about rainforest devastation and how it’s driven by the wood furniture and flooring industries. Did you know that the rainforest is disappearing at the rate of >1 acre per second? It sounds unbelievable and sensationalist, doesn’t it? I mean that’s over 4000 football fields every hour of every 24 hour day, 365 days/year. But it’s true and that fact is why we continue to work so hard to offer sustainable, locally made furniture at this Vermont furniture store.
You and I Have the Power to Save the Rainforest
Consumers of wood furniture, flooring and other forest products are the key to saving the rainforest. If you’re taking the trouble to learn about sustainable wooden furniture and how you as a consumer can be part of the global solution, we want to help. I’ll be writing a series of blogs over the next few months to provide some background information regarding the past, present and future of the rainforest and how we consumers can do our part to save it. Have any rainforest references or stories you’d like to share? Use the comment section below or join the conversation on our Facebook.
Select the furniture maker who has crafted pieces most similar to
what you're looking for. This is critical. It's much easier and more
affordable for them to customize something they've already designed and
built than to start from scratch.
Ask the furniture maker about customizing existing pieces with your
choice of wood, finish, hardware, dimensions, molding, leg style and so
on. Note: there is a big difference between commissioning an original, unique custom work of art and customizing an existing piece of furniture.
Discuss wood choices and characteristics with your furniture
maker. Are you trying to match this new piece with existing pieces in
the same room? If so, you may want to bring in that furniture or
photos of those pieces to the workshop.
Discuss furniture finish with your furniture maker. Do you want a
natural oil finish or one that provides more protection against
moisture and perhaps small hand-prints and such. Or something in between. There are many choices to consider.
Spend the time upfront to discuss the details of your furniture
order up-front with your furniture maker. Remember the old saying,
"measure twice, cut once". You don't want to have any surprises when it's time to install your furniture.
Have fun and enjoy the process. Get to know your furniture maker.
His or her personality will be a significant part of the meaning of
your new heirloom!
Visit with local furniture makers in their shops. Examine their work. Touch it, sit in it and page through their portfolios with them. You'll be surprised at the quality and diversity of their work!
Check references. Most furniture makers will be happy to connect you with others who have purchased their furniture. Don't be surprised if those customers invite you come to their homes and see their furniture. It happens often!
Ask the furniture makers where their wood comes from. Usually it will be local, sustainably harvested wood. If you're looking for mahogany or another wood that cannot be obtained locally, make sure the wood is green certified by a legitimate organization like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
More suggestions tomorrow! In the meantime, visit Vermont Woods Studios for custom furniture ideas.