January 23rd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Wood dining tables are our most popular, best selling pieces at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Most customers come to us for solid cherry wood tables, but we also build a good number of tables in maple, walnut and oak wood too. Occasionally we get a custom order for wood tables made out of other woods, like the reclaimed barnwood farm table that Yankee Magazine is featuring in their March/April issue this year.
So why wood? I mean you could eat off a glass top table or a metal table or even a plastic table. I think for many people, wood makes an important emotional connection that maybe we're not even consciously aware of. A customer recently told me she came to us because of the natural, organic apsect of our wooden furniture. She said that trees are actually a source of spiritual sustenance and renewal for her. I was thinking about that and came across this passage about trees written by woodworker and naturalist Brian Clifford:
A tree is a thing of beauty and wonderment, huge, but full of life and movement. A deciduous tree is the embodiment of the changing seasons: a stark framework in winter, bursting life in spring, a vast green canopy in summer and the bearer of seeds and fruit in the autumn. It is the embodiment of man's condition: birth, life, death, regeneration and rebirth.
I'm not sure people choose wood for their dining and kitchen tables for reasons quite that deep, but I love reading Brian's thoughts and philosophy about the relationship between trees and man. He notes that our ancestors evolved in trees:
The period our ancestors spent in the trees was of great formative importance; this was the environment in which man's basic structures, brain, sense organs, limbs and reproductive system, evolved. In response to the exigencies of living in trees the animal's paws were modified into members able to grip: the claws atrophied, the digits lengthened, and an opposed thumb developed. The eyes became larger and moved towards the front of the head providing three-dimensional vision. In concert with these bodily changes, and their application in confronting the dangers in the tree tops, the creature's brain developed new features and increased in power.
Ha! It seems we owe our brain power to trees. I bet you never thought of that as the reason you were shopping for a wood dining table today.