Locally Made Wood Products
There’s nothing like integrating natural materials into the kitchen, especially items made from wood. There’s a symmetry of using a once-living product to prepare and enjoy ingredients that also were once living. Here are a trio of locally made wood products we love for this reason. Plus, they’re beautiful.
SERRATED CAKE KNIFE
Four Leaf Wood Shop, Ojai
Concept: The idea for the serrated cake knife came about six hours before a birthday party for the father of Gerard’s girlfriend, Genevieve Barrere. “I wanted to make him something special and a spoon just didn’t seem to cut it,” he says. Since they were serving cake, Barrere suggested he make a cake knife.
Wood: Primarily walnut from Happy Valley and olive wood from Ojai Olive Oil Company. Every once in a while they use orange or oak but tend to stick more with walnut.
Start: Gerard has been woodworking for a year. He discovered a passion for it when he and his father built a greenhouse in his mom’s garden. “That greenhouse gave me a great deal of respect for not only wood but for crafting and building something functional with my hands.”
Quote: “The great thing about woodworking is every piece is a fresh start. You pick up a piece of wood and can mold it into whatever you can imagine.”
For more info: FourLeafWoodShop.com
Paddlewood Designs, Ventura
Concept: Taylor is a home chef and a carpenter by trade, so creating cutting boards was a natural fit.
Wood: For cutting boards, domestic woods like hickory-pecan and black walnut. He also uses the prunings from the olive trees at Ojai Olive Oil Company to make fruit bowls, Lazy Susans and small cheese boards.
Start: Taylor has been working with wood a “lifetime,” he says, adding, “my stepfather was a carpenter.”
Quote: “I never know what the end grain of the wood will look like until I cut it—that’s when I decide how to design it. Mother Nature does such nice work; I just rearrange it a little.”
Products are available at select Ventura retailers and area farmers’ markets. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CUSTOM DINING ROOM TABLE
S. Thomas Woodworks, Thousand Oaks
Concept: This table started as two 12-foot beams from a single trunk. Thomas was going for “both heft and elegance,” incorporating elements from mid-century American and Japanese design.
Wood: Prefers working with domestic walnut and cherry, though says these can sometimes be a challenge to source responsibly. Since moving to California, Thomas has added sycamore to the mix.
Start: Thomas started woodworking about 20 years ago, the year he became engaged. Thomas was living in the woods in Minnesota next to a woodworker. “I asked him if he’d show me a few things and let me use his shop to build a bed and table, since my fiancée and I had no furniture,” he says. In graduate school, Thomas worked for a furniture maker. “That was when I really started learning more about design and developing the skills carry out a plan.”
Quote: “Building furniture has taught me things that contemporary mainstream life has not: There is virtue in patience; beauty is culturally conditioned and difficult to define, but one should still pursue it; attention to one thing (wood) can attune one to others (human beings, for example); it is important to be aware of the ways in which we project our demands upon reality.”
For more info: SThomasWoodworks.com