Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I have been involved with wood working since 1973. Between house building and crafting musical instruments, I was totally engaged in the beauty of wood. I thought it was the coolest thing to make things. To see the wood come alive when the finish was applied was a most astounding experience. In those days we never thought about the resource or the people involved in its creation. The main problem was finding the quality of material or the right specie that we needed to fabricate our projects.
It was in the late 1970’s when I first heard about deforestation. A friend had returned from a visit to Honduras and relayed his story of deforestation and exploitation of native peoples. To those of us who were engaged in the use of these tropical woods it was hard to believe. Connecting the dots between building a beautiful musical instrument with the loss of habitat was an abstract concept. It seemed illogical that at some not so distant future there would be an absence of resources.
When I became more engaged in wood sales in the late 1980’s the evidence became clearer. Lumber resources were being extinguished. Vast tracts of tropical forest were being exploited. Now, the reasons for this are more complicated than what I am going to discuss today. In the early 1990’s I attended a forum in Berekely with other like minded Bay Area wood sellers and users. It was at this meeting that I met the agent for Northern California Smart Wood which was the certifying agency for the Forest Stewardship Council. These groups were promoting third party auditing of lumber industry processes. I believed in this process and actually became certified in the mid 1990’s. Hence our low number SWCOC 000041. This was at the beginning of this movement. This certification was costly and I found that there was no market or demand and I dropped our certification.
In the ensuing years Certification, FSC®, sustainability have become more prominently placed in the marketplace. Last year I thought that we would give this another try. If people (the market) don’t buy these products, we can’t be part of the process.
So, this past September, we got recertified. We are now stocking FSC® certified hardwoods: maple, cherry, and oak, and softwoods: Doug Fir and shortly Western Red Cedar. By purchasing this material you are supporting sustainable forestry. Without the market’s support it will not succeed.