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Showing posts from June 22, 2014


I am staining my pine boards with a pigmented oil. The label on the can says "oak". I am quite conflicted about this. 

This blog began from the premise that every material has essential qualities that should not be imitated. These qualities are much more than visual- they include texture, density, reaction to outside forces (weather), and methods of working and tooling. There is absolutely no way of making an oak shelf from a pine board. 

In French, the word for "species" of wood is "essence". But in English, the word means a core substance that concentrates all the qualities of something. By colouring my boards, am I denying their essence- in both senses of the term?

But it is sometimes hard to decide what actions suppress the essence of a material, and what actions simply bring out its latent characteristics. For example, when I oiled my door handle, the wood became darker and more lustrous. I was amazed to see and feel how different the walnut was after o…