Whether your in our misty mountain furniture showroom in sandpoint Idaho or browsing our extensive handmade product line listed on our website. One question always comes through, “where do we get our logs from” and “what kind are they?”…
The logs are lodgepole pine which are harvested locally. Lodgepole pine grows fast, usually pretty darn straight and consistent in diameter for the majority of its length before tapering off towards the top. The trees grow to maturity rather quickly, during the maturation process they gradually stop taking on water and the growth stops. Because the lodgepole is not taking on any more water through its root system the tree is drying from the inside out as its standing there. This is know as natural dead standing and is ready to be harvested. The harvesting process is critical at this point to allow new growth in its place and to reduce the fire danger in the forest. As long as they are growing and green (full of moisture from the root system taking on water) they don’t pose a high fire danger and aren’t very useful in building furniture (their not ready yet!). The “drying” process at maturity is natural and aids us in using the lodgepoles for building our furniture. By the time we get the logs back to the shop, clean them up, stack them so air can move around them and eventually peel them (Hand hewn process) they are very dry naturally which is exactly what we want.
You may have heard the term wood expansion and wood checking. These conditions are inherent in all solid wood products, the expansion and checks are minimized as much as possible when using the naturally dried process, add to that using the proper joinery (the way we bring two pieces together using same grain direction or opposing grain direction) during the construction process of building our furniture. At this point, the wood can still move increasing and decreasing in diameter and/or width (not so much in length). You may be wondering at this point how this happens if the tree was naturally dry from the forest? good question. The ambient moisture in the air where ever the furniture is affects the wood. The higher the change in ambient moisture content in the air through the seasons the more effect it will have on the wood in the home. Think of the wood like a sponge in a sink, it will take on water when the faucet is running and it will loose the water when the faucet is off. swelling and shrinking through the process. Same thing (not as dramatically though) happens with wood. The main culprit to wood shrinkage is during winter. We use all types of heating sources to heat our houses which evaporates the moisture out of the air. Your household pets show this effect first as their hair starts to build static due to the lack of moisture in the air, if you turn off the lights you’ll get a pretty cool light show! So, your evaporating the moisture from the air and it causes wood in your house to loose moisture and shrink. You may know this in home terms and “settling” and you even hear it in elusive little creaks and pops through out your house never really knowing where its coming from. Your furniture goes through this same process. When its solid wood like we use you will see your table shrink and grow as the humidity changes in your house. Again this is where the dead standing helps because it was originally dry when we started building with it and it will result in the least amount of movement naturally as possible. Two of the best ways to combat this process of wood movement is using a humidifier and but your furniture from us!:)
Ok, so thats my short essay on our lodgepole pine product. I will explain the blue pine effect in another essay.
NOW THE FUN STUFF!
Here are pictures to show the lodgepole harvesting in action, here you see John and Chris harvesting the aforementioned dead standing lodgpole pine trees which helps keep the forest safe and we get to build the finest rustic elegance furniture there is! (shameless plugs everywhere!)
This single truck load took an entire day including the trek up the mountains and back. There’s no easy way to do this part of the process. It pure hard work for the love of the process, working in the great outdoors, and making a truly great American product! …… sometimes we get help:)
As I am loading these pictures I realize there are a couple of pictures of the snowbend trees. These are the trees we use in our famous and popular snow bend beds we build. very cool stuff!