Going green, part 2

One of the most obvious ways a shop can “green up” is to start using green materials. But for most woodworkers “green” means the wood has not been properly dried. That is the first thing that is going to have to change. In today’s shop green means not buying any materials that have not been “certified” as having been grown or harvested or produced in an environmentally responsible manner. This might mean that lumber is cut in an area that is “managed,” more like a plantation than a forest. It might mean that many popular woods that have been mismanaged over the years are no longer used and that “new” unfamiliar woods are substituted. Like substituting Lyptus for mahogany. This may not be too well received by many woodworkers or their customers because I have used Lyptus on several jobs now and it is a poor substitute for mahogany. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the harvesting of mahogany has been so badly managed that it is now seriously in danger of disappearing. With Lyptus, on the other hand, there is at least an effort being made to produce this wood in a responsible and sustainable manner. We may just have to accept the idea that the days when we could use with impunity, the finest woods the planet had to offer are over at least for the foreseeable future. You said you wanted to “go green?” Well, this may be the first of many compromises you will have to make. D.D.

COMMENTS

  1. Aaron Sikes wrote:

    Indeed. One thing I have going for me in this respect is that I tend to use scrap from other woodworkers’ burn or slag piles. My projects are severely limited in scope because of this, but I’m also just starting out and learning my chops. So, for now anyway, I’m helping cut down on the amount of cutting down that’s necessary.

    I’m also committed to avoiding the exotics and other specialty woods, and definitely rainforest sourced woods. I’ve got a good bunch of ipe from a friend’s scrap pile, but I doubt I’ll ever use it. Too rough on the tools, and we’re just too dry around here for it to stay in shape.

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