The Process

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  1. Decide on a project
  2. Measure the designated available space, keeping in mind the sizes of other nearby objects. Keeping things proportional will help your space feel sophisticated & curated rather than out of place or overbearing.
  3. Come Look! The fun begins here! Everyone’s taste is different so it’s best to complete steps 1 & 2 and then come look at our inventory and see if anything screams “Take me home” Our inventory is constantly changing. I tell customers “our store is like a shoe store. We don’t always have every size/model/color but it might be tomorrow that we bring the desired material in. Our inventory is based on the trees we are able to give a second life to, not the “click of a button” reorder.
  4. Price is based on many factors as each boule is unique in it’s own way and each boule is in a different state of its life. The main factors we consider are:
  • Size (board foot aka volume of material)
  • Species
  • Figure
  • Moisture content
  • Raw or Surfaced
  1. Decide on the aesthetic look you want to achieve. Do you want the piece to be rustic or lean towards a clean “scuplted” look?
  2. Remove the bark. We like to use a “cats paw” and a mallet, working pieces off as large as possible. For hardwoods a draw knife works well.
  3. Sand, scuplt, and clean-up the edges (if that follows suit towards your desired look. ) If a rustic look is desired you may wish to leave the edge as is.
  4. Sand the top & bottom. We generally start at 60 grit, working our way through the grits until at least 400 grit. THIS IS NOT a requirement, just our preference. The higher grits do not only make the wood fibers smoother, they allow the true beauty of the wood to expose itself. The 3D figure is more pronounced and shows a higher level of visual contrast. Some figured woods we sand 1200+ grit. THE FINISH YOU CHOOSE MAY DICTATE WHAT GRIT YOU STOP SANDING AT. Some finish brands call for designated end points wich are usually lower in grit than our preference of 400 grit. Many require a max of 220 grit. Read manufactures directions to see if they specify. Once sanded up to 100 grit we like to then cut ends to size if needed, then continue sanding working our way up through the grits. We sand a bit before cutting to size because it makes for less friction on the saw, which usually helps make a smooth, clean cut.

We blow off the slab with compressed air and wipe the entire slab with a tac cloth to remove loose dust, prepping the slab for its finish stage.


processing wood slabs

Choosing a finish.

Customers always ask what finish I recommend for their project. My answer: finishing is a riddle only you can solve, knowing what you want it to look like, and how

much time + money do you want to invest. There is not one does-all finish that I recommend for everyone because each finish has it’s pros and cons and everyone has a different vision of how they want their heirloom to look. I will list several of the common types of finishes and the pros and cons as I see it through my experience.

Penetrating Oil – UV Stabilized

Pros Easy application, very quick rich results showing a high percentage of the figure within the wood, sophisticated matte sheen, Inexpensive, easy touch up maintenance, penetrates fibers deep within the wood protecting integrity, UV sun rays do minimal degradation.

Cons Not a developed surface finish. This means spills such as red wine will not be stopped from entering the pores of the wood.

2 Part Epoxy

Pros Shows all hidden figure within the wood. The “truth serum” for wood. Hard surface, fast build up, strengthens any pith , fills checking, and hardens softwoods. A “5 in 1” type of finish. 4 coats of epoxy is similar to 40 coats of polyurethane.

Cons Glossy, less margin for error. generally low UV stabilization, many brands yellow over time when outside in sunlight

Polyurethane – Water based

Pros Easy clean up,Fast drying, Easy “powdering up” sanding. Dries faster than oil based polyurethane and can be heavier coats too. Barrier to moisture and spills. Many available sheens- gloss, semigloss, satin, flat, and matte.

Cons Not as rich as an oil or an epoxy, more bland. A developed finish is slow building. Each coat takes several hrs to dry and many coats are generally needed to have a “marble like”end result.

Polyurethane – Oil Based

Pros Rich, deep coloring . High levels of contrast. Durable. Barrier to moisture and spills. Many available sheens- gloss, semigloss, satin, flat, and matte. Many UV stabilized versions available.

Cons Intense fumes, stickier clean up, respirator required , tacky feel compared to water based. Slow building, cannot lay heavy coats. Heavy coating runs risk of “skin over”. The top surface dries, creating a thin layer preventing the off gasing process and leaving a sticky, tacky finish that will never properly dry and cure.

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