Locally Made Wood Products

June 06, 2016
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Serrated knife by Jack Gerard

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.


Four Leaf Wood Shop, Ojai
Jack Gerard

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


Cutting board by Daniel Taylor


Paddlewood Designs, Ventura
Daniel Taylor

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: danielataylor7@hotmail.com.


Custom dining table by Samuel Thomas


S. Thomas Woodworks, Thousand Oaks
Samuel Thomas

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

Article from Edible Ojai & Ventura County at http://edibleventuracounty.ediblecommunities.com/shop/locally-made-wood-products
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