Woods and finishes


woodI purchase the highest quality wood I can find. Most of the wood I use is shipped from Pennsylvania (Irion Lumber and Groff & Groff), where my favorites, American black cherry and walnut, grow. Cherry and walnut are sustainably grown and harvested resources that will be available forever with careful management.

Other domestic hardwoods I use include ash, oak, and maple. I rarely use rare or exotic tropical hardwoods unless they are certified to be from sustainable, yield-managed forests (and most aren’t).

I have found unique, highly figured woods on eBay and at curlymaplewood.com, a small lumber supplier in Ohio.


Most of my pieces are finished with a home-brewed combination of varnish, tung oil, and turpentine, mixed in equal thirds and rubbed in by hand. Every piece gets a minimum of three coats and followed by a top coat of paste wax. The insides of cabinets and drawers are usually finished with thin shellac, which has very little residual odor.