The tree bark veneer on our furniture is a distinguishing feature of Abiding Branches. Unlike some makers who just grab and paste, we place great effort and thoughtful consideration into the selection and placement of every piece of bark. Numerous sheets of flattened bark are sorted through until just the right complementary colors and textures are found. We generally use the bark from Birch, Hornbeam and Buckthorn trees.
Birch bark varies from a smooth white to a textured gray on its face side. We select bark very carefully, to make the overall composition of our project pleasing.
The reverse side of Birch bark expands the color range from gold to red and dappled brown. Often, a variety of blotchy patterns occur with colors like tan, rust, and black
Exclusive to Abiding Branches is the use of bark from Hop Hornbeam and Buckthorn trees. Paired together, they complement each other exceptionally well. Harvesting and applying these barks is very labor intensive. These barks will never be seen on a knock-off.
Hop Hornbeam has a colorful shaggy bark that is not easy to manipulate. By carefully piecing slivers together, we bring about a very unique veneer. The use of this bark is original to Abiding Branches.
Buckthorn has a rich dark brown bark that is pieced together for a very elegant effect. As far as we know, we are the only ones using this bark on furniture. It is considered a USDA invasive, so we feel good about cutting and incorporating this species in our work.
We use saplings that are smaller than 3”. It takes seven to ten years to grow them. By coppicing the tree (prune it to the ground) during the proper dormant season, the tree stump regenerates new saplings the following spring, starting the growing process over again.
The majority of our cabinet legs are White Ash. It is plentiful in New York State and varies a great deal in color and texture based on the growing environment. It is a true hardwood from the core to the bark. Baseball bats are made from ash wood. Also, it makes strong joints and the bark never fails (falls off).
When appropriate we also use saplings of Maple, which have an interesting unique texture. Sometimes we will use Hickory, which has a long history of usage for lodge and porch furniture.
We avoid using Yellow Birch. Traditionally this species was the most popular wood in the Adirondack Style; however, it has proven to be very susceptible to Birch borers, even after kiln drying.
We never use White Birch saplings for legs. The moisture in the wood gets trapped within itself, rotting from the inside out. This makes it unreliable for structural strength.
Almost all our small twig trim and mosaic patterns are Willow. Most varieties dry brown, but we have some that are golden and red. We coppice the willow every two years from our own holt, providing plenty of material for our work.
We do sell willow on occasion. Give us a call to see if we can supply the material for your project.
As far as the slab wood for our table and cabinet tops, we use virtually every native species available in our region. We are especially fond of Tiger Maple and Spalted Maple, which we believe complement the bark and twigs best. However, we continue to work with Cherry, Walnut, Ash, Oak and Tulip. Sometimes folks want something really distressed looking and request Pine. The customer may choose any type of wood and finish they like. We usually charge a small additional fee for the Cherry and Walnut.
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