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Trash Wood




Cottonwood has long been considered a trash wood by industrial timber companies. This has had a trickle down effect on consumers and the general population. If you were to ask someone why, most would not have an answer. Native Black Cottonwood or Populus balsamifera is a virulent tree native to much of the Rocky Mountain west. The tree grows tall and wide and is found anywhere there is water. Most either love the smell of its blossoms or hate the mess from its cottony seeds.


From a natural history perspective the tree has been used by humans and animals alike for as long as they have lived in the same habitats. Beavers thrive on them as a source of food and building materials. Ungulates feed on young trees and shoots. The trees have been used by humans as sources of shelter and signs of waters long before Europeans dubbed them trash. Even the first Europeans used them for building materials and heat for their fires in a time when one couldn't afford to be choosy about if their wood was trash or not. 


I discovered the tree and the wood because everyone gives it away. The first time I cut into it I was blown away by the beautiful character of the light wood. There were streaks of green, red and browns all mixed into the light honey colored wood. When you work the wood wet it has the smell of a barnyard, but once dry it is light and strong. We live in a state where it is hard to find wide slabs of wood, so I was drawn to try and see what we could make out of this underappreciated wood. I began building everything out of it, chairs, tables, boxes, wall art. What I have found is that yes sometimes it is difficult to work, sometimes it is hard to finish to a smooth patina. But with careful attention it can be a durable, beautiful product. 


So here I am presenting my most recent table. One built for my family! It had been too long that the cobbler's children were shoeless! This table is a cottonwood top, with a white oak base that has been ebonized. The table has walnut and turquoise inlayed cottonwood leaves. These leaves I gathered from a local river. They are shaped from real leaves!


I have two young children and a busy family, this table has held up to the abuses only children can deliver to furniture. My goal is to build in a way that delivers beauty and strength to your home. This is true for what I put in my own home and what I will build for you. 


Are you interested in designing something unique, strong and beautiful for your home? Please get in touch and let's start designing!



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