Get to Know
It has been a," long strange trip ", for sure, since we packed a ton-and -a- half Chevy truck, in 1974, with all of our tools, belongings, a freezer full of food, and our two dogs. With a few thousand dollars, and a pile of Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening magazines, we were headed for anywhere that would accommodate what we felt would be a simpler and more rewarding lifestyle than the urban sprawl had to offer. The abandoned mountain farms of Northwest Arkansas were one of the last places that we visited in the two months that we toured the backwaters of Americas deserted agricultural past. The soil on most of the farms was as poor as when it had been abandoned during the depression. The adjoining forests had regenerated to a great extent and reasonable timberland could be bought for a song. After a few adjustments, we found ourselves the owners of 160 acres covered with massive red and white oaks, hickories, and a dozen or so other minor species. We bought our sawmill in 1979 and began to selectively harvest our trees. The land was immediately put into the American Tree Farm system. This allowed us to get help from various government and professional sources in planning and managing our land in a manner that would optimize yield and minimize environmental impact. The furniture that we build from the trees will extend their lives for a hundred or more years past their harvesting at maturity. Our management and harvesting practices guarantee that all future generations that desire to, can continue with this process. We cut many of our own logs from the timber on our 160 acre Tree Farm , and carefully select the rest. I personally saw out each board, on our Mobile Dimension Sawmill, with an eye to the factors that will cause problems at a later date. We carefully air dry, then precisely kiln dry all of our lumber in a state of the art dehumidification kiln. Electronic moisture sensors closely follow the speed and amount of the drying process to insure flat, stress free lumber that will stay that way permanently. We carefully hand make furniture of uncompromising quality. At every point in the construction process, we have your satisfaction and enjoyment in mind. We have opted for only the machinery necessary to allow us some freedom from drudgery. We never utilize a mechanical process when a more careful, hands on approach will yield better results. This is evidenced by the fact that despite owning sanders of all sizes and shapes, we still have more than a dozen hand planes scattered around the shop, and the floor is littered with the shavings from hand planing the various components, where that course produces a better result. We have cut over 350,000 board feet of lumber from our land in the past 30 years. The effect has been to release a lot of the highly desirable species to grow to their potential. The forest canopy has restored itself from the initial heavy cuttings of cull species and trees that were of poor form or unsound. We now can cut 10 to 15 thousand board ft of high quality lumber from our forest with an increase of quantity and quality every year. That amount of harvested wood is more than sufficient to provide the lumber for the 250 - 300 pieces of furniture that we are able to build in the course of a year. The logging roads and openings in the canopy provide forage and cover for a huge variety of wildlife. From its near barren start, we now routinely see deer, bear, turkey, bobcats, coyotes, and a dozen or so other minor species of mammals. The bird population has exploded with dozens of species abundant now. Now...... October 2010......... the latest update to this section has us all scratching our heads, and watching the shadows out of the corner of our eyes. For the fourth year in a row, while we were checking feeding stations that we had set up to monitor the deer, we have found unmistakable Mountain Lion tracks. Last year it was just one in some dust on the road. This year, it was a pair of clear, pristine, very fresh tracks in some soft sand in a road ditch. They were about four and a half inches across. I look at furniture in our house, or beams in the ceiling and flooring under our feet, and remember the tree that it was cut from. Our lives, our land, and our work receive the same attention to detail.