GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

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Green Issues – Salvaged, Reuse/Repurpose, Sustainability, Waste Reduction/Recycling                 Home

As a 3rd generation professional woodworker I am naturally concerned with minimizing the footprint of my livelihood. Firstly, restoration and repair of furniture whether antique or not saves precious resources versus making new furniture. Unfortunately the current trend toward throw-away furniture is neither green nor sustainable. It may be cheap in the short-term however it is expensive in the long-term and leaves no legacy pieces to pass to future generations.

Whenever possible I purchase material that is either salvage, reuse, repurpose or from a sustainable source for use in restoration/repair as well as to create new pieces. The timbers, especially live-edge, once difficult to find are fortunately becoming more available from each of these green sources.

More on terminology:

-         Salvaged: this consists of timber sourced primarily from storm-downed or naturally dying/diseased trees. In an urban setting these trees often come from tree trimming/arborists although more and more are coming via word-of-mouth connections. Many live-edged timbers not available commercially (apricot, holly, ocean-spray, Pacific crabapple, Japanese walnut, Japanese flowering cherry and numerous others) are only available through ‘salvaged connections.’

 

-         Reuse/Repurpose: this source consists of timber reclaimed from a prior use. Though not always perfect, the old nail holes, bullet holes, broken screws, baling wire, etc. add to the character of some really great timbers. Some examples include old growth Southern yellow pine reclaimed from old 5/7 panel doors and used for restoration; teak reclaimed from decommissioned boats and used to create a beautiful hall table; used Pacific crabapple door and window casings reclaimed from turn-of-the-century school houses and purchased through the Re-Store in Bellingham; used high school gymnasium bleacher boards; and ancient fence posts. And every so often, I am asked to turn ‘that old board that has been in the attic forever’ into something very special in honor of the long deceased person who originally collected the plank for an unfulfilled project.

 

-         Sustainable: For almost two decades I have been purchasing marvelous sustainable cherry, walnut, hickory and maple from a 3rd generation sawyer in Shirleysburg, Pennsylvania. Long before the interest in sustainability was fashionable Ed’s Grandfather would plant 5 trees for every tree that he would cut. His Dad, Ed himself and now his son have continued the tradition of locally-managed sustainability. Today a number of certified sustainability options are available to assure the consumer that the sustainability that they desire is in fact occurring. FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified lumber sourced primarily from managed tree-farms and forests is available and often utilized in the creation of my pieces. Far from boring, some of the most beautiful wild-grained black cherry comes from an FSC-certified source.

 

-         Waste Reduction/Recycling: Reducing the amount of waste is important to our business. All of our sawdust, shavings and tiny bits and pieces are either composted or applied directly to our gardens. All metal, including old rusty hardware removed during the restoration process (screws, castors, hinges, etc.) as well as empty cans is recycled. Whenever possible, broken glass is recycled or reused – old mirror glass is used to create the ‘Crater Lake deep blue effect’ in a number of my pieces (see “Deep Blue”).

Interested in learning more? Make an appointment to visit our shop to see some of our ever-changing stock of special timbers with green credentials.