I started making these chests to give to young people on their wedding day. Although it has been several hundred years since this was a common gift, I find that this is one of the few kinds of furniture that young people on the move will tolerate in their space. Something like a chair or cupboard always seems to get stashed in someone's barn or attic. Of course, you may not be getting married soon, but everyone needs a place to put those special small things that hold meaning. This is just the right place.
An end table
End table of birch bark cambium and maple burl top.
I started tapping maple trees when I was old enough to lug pails of sap. My Grandmother's family had sworn off sugar before the civil war and although three generations separated them from those old-time baptist ancestors, they still held to the word and only used maple sugar in their households. I still tap 200 trees every spring. Everyday hundreds of miles of pipeline within the tree deliver life-giving sap to every branch and twig ... its a plumbing system that we have never been able to copy. This piece only reminds us of this miracle and the complexity of that living thing called a tree.
The top is a maple burl that was harvested near Dexter Maine in 2009. This burl seems to mushroom its beauty from the original tree stump, plainly visible in the far side of the table.
Birch Bark Containers
$60 - $160
Each container requires its own specialized cover. These are made of yellow birch or ash. Both go better with the aged bark then the sawed out white birch does. The barrel portion of the container is left untreated but the inside, covers and bottom are finished off with General (manufacturer’s name) water based, satin finish.
This design comes from the College of the Redwoods in California. The tone, shape and simplicity reveals the influence of the school’s most famous teacher, James Krenov. The case and doors are constructed of spaulted American beech. The stand is black cherry.