Natural cabinets

A.J.’s post about greenies really got me thinking. I live in California and we (correctly or not) have a reputation as being home to more greenies than any other state. Personally I have no issues with the idea of practicing good husbandry of the planet’s resources, something that we have collectively failed to do.

But A.J. is correct in his comments in that the concept of good husbandry is being totally abused and distorted. Companies use terms like green, natural and organic in the most bizarre ways. One of my favorites is when you see something on a label that says natural cherry flavor. Your first impulse is to think, “What’s wrong with that? Sounds good.” But as it happens, the package contains no cherry flavor at all, natural or otherwise.

What they are saying is not that the contents are flavored with natural cherry but rather that the flavor is that of natural cherry. The flavor of natural cherries has been chemically compounded in a laboratory, probably somewhere in India. But the regulations a have been manipulated to allow the producer to state that their product contains natural cherry flavor. The roots are way deeper than we know!

Again one might want to ask, “What does this have to do with the business of woodworking?” Just that I am wondering if our business would benefit from my incorporating the word natural or organic. After all the stuff is made of wood and there is nothing more natural or organic. Never mind that 90 percent of what we make is made from sheet stock, which in many cases bears little resemblance to actual wood.

We should still be able to figure out a way to get those green sounding words into our descriptions of what we produce. It would not be nearly as far a flyer as the one taken by the flavor industry. Yes, there really is a flavor industry. Just Google it …



  • Gene Kelly says:

    Maybe being greenish has become so overused that people are not really paying that much attention. Maybe focusing on the flip side, the pre-catalytic, aliphatic, phenolic, acrylic, galvanized and conversions of the industry is the way to make a person stand out. Or, maybe state clearly in any printed material, contains no natural cherry flavoring. Just saying…..

  • Mike Olson says:

    The natural cherry flavor example is a good one. Furniture ads will hype “cherry finish”. When what they are selling is made of particle board with wood grain printed on paper.

    We have to educate consumers so they understand why solid hardwood and real veneer is worth the price.

  • Pat Gilbert says:

    So the question is oxymoron or tautology? Or leave it the way it is?

  • Chuck says:

    Sorry Mike, but if the consumer is shopping in a store that sells furniture with woodgrain printed on paper, they are most likely in the right place for them. Be thankful for that!

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