View Full Version : Forest To Furniture Trees

Beeken Parsons
01-23-2012, 03:13 PM
Our instincts and sensibilities as craftsmen extend to every aspect of making furniture. Care and thought are required to integrate forestry, sawmilling (http://www.beekenparsons.com/forest/sawmill.shtml) and drying (http://www.beekenparsons.com/forest/drying.shtml) processes with shaping (http://www.beekenparsons.com/forest/studio.shtml), steam bending (http://www.beekenparsons.com/forest/steam.shtml), joinery (http://www.beekenparsons.com/forest/joinery.shtml), sanding (http://www.beekenparsons.com/forest/sanding.shtml), finishing (http://www.beekenparsons.com/forest/finishing.shtml), assembly, and, of course, design (http://www.beekenparsons.com/design/index.shtml).
When we make furniture, we start at the beginning, with the tree; or really, with the forest that the tree grows in. We ask, what can we, in good conscience, take from this forest?


The best way to answer this question is to work with foresters. Foresters make decisions using a big-picture view of the land. They consider animal habitat and water quality. They insist upon logging practices that minimize soil erosion that leads to siltation of woodland streams and wetlands.They respect deeryards, those stands of trees that provide shelter for deer as they winter. They consider food sources such as acorns and beechnuts that are high in fat. These are called mast, and provide deer, fox, bear, and turkey with the nourishment they need, especially for winter.

Forestry also involves silviculture, the art and science of growing trees. Over a hundred years ago, when much of this region was devoted to raising sheep for the booming woolen mills, Vermont was nearly clear-cut. Only15-20% of the land remained wooded. Since then the forests have returned. Most splendid old trees are long gone and with the high demand placed upon the younger trees, silvaculture is increasingly important. Selective cutting and timber stand improvement balance the present value of a harvest with the long-term value and health of the stand. Just like weeding a garden, a certain amount of what grows can be removed to invigorate, or in forestry terms release, the remainder. Many of the trees that can be taken are small in diameter or lesser in the conventions of economic valuation. It is within these trees
that the answer to the question "what can we take?" is answered. It is also within these trees that we find the most interesting wood. This is the best source for character wood.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) (http://www.fscoax.org/) is an independent, nonprofit, international organization that works to conserve forests through responsible forestry. It devised a certification program that establishes forest management standards regionally. Certification says that the forester's work meets environmentally sound criteria and annual reviews keep the process on track. Beeken Parsons is one of a group of companies that use wood from certified harvests. Look for the FSC mark on Beeken Parsons furniture.