Come on My Selector
A huge component of the custom process is wood selection. It is another effort that separates custom woodworking from mass produced designer furniture. With a particular furniture piece in mind, I hand select each piece of lumber from the yard. In the case of salvaged woods, I get the full story of where the tree was acquired and why it was felled. The wood is strapped to my rickety station wagon roof racks or, if possible, stuck inside right next to my son's child seat.
Once back in the shop I lay out all the lumber and, chalk in hand, determine which piece would work and look best for each part of the project. Aesthetics and lumber character are primary considerations. Because I hand mill each furniture piece I can use more interesting sections of lumber - burl and wavy grained sections - that would normally be discarded by more efficiency oriented manufacturers for fear that the difficult wood could jam machines or be chipped and torn out. The most beautiful parts of the wood are often the most difficult to work with.
In larger cabinet pieces I can match wood pieces and continue grain patterns across doors and drawer fronts, a feature that is often overlooked but inevitably adds immeasurable value to the overall look of a piece of furniture.
If you want a taste of the selection process, schedule a trip with me to the lumber yard. We can listen to late 90s electronica on the way.