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Furniture You Purchase Once And Feel Good About

by Andrew DePalma May 26, 2017

Furniture You Purchase Once And Feel Good About

I love nature.  I really do.  It brings a sense of peace, reverence, and awe that is difficult to come by in our fast paced world.  This started when I was a boy on summer camping trips in the Sequoia National parks….yea those trees are big!   

This continued as I learned to enjoy the outdoors on backpacking trips as an adult.  Some of my closest friendships, best memories, and stories have been forged on these trips. 

climbing in Ansel Adams wilderness

Both of these photos are taken by my good friend Will Rochfort (more of his amazing work here).  The two dots down in the right hand corner are of me and my good friend John on my first backpacking trip as an adult.  Thought it was a good idea to climb Mt Ritter without the right gear, got my butt KICKED, and had to turn around. 

On the top of Mt Ritter

This is me and my good friend Will Rochfort years later with the right equipment, more knowledge, and so excited to finally have made it to the top of Mt Ritter.    

So what does this have to do with custom furniture? 

Well, to me, a lot really.  I know that not everyone will go backpacking or camping, so my goal when designing a collection of custom furniture, is to try and use wood to foster an appreciation for our planet’s natural beauty.  

This all begs the question that if I like trees so much…why do I do something for a living that has to do with cutting them down? 

I love this question because it gives an opportunity to educate people on the value of purchasing something that is built to last.  You see, when a piece is handcrafted with proper joinery techniques, and solid wood, it can literally last for hundreds of years.  The piece below as an example, is over 200 years old!    

This matters a lot when you consider the massive global trash crisis that we are faced with as a society.  We live in a world where we expect low prices, and accept that the items we buy at those prices will soon need to be discarded and replaced.

picture of trees and a landfill

We hope that Open Door Furniture can be a small part of stopping that cycle.  We work very diligently to build pieces of furniture that you will enjoy looking at for a lifetime.

BUT…trees are still being cut down! 

Yes but we are VERY diligent and VERY passionate about where our wood is sourced.  The vast majority of wood that we purchase was grown in the United States. In addition to loving the look of domestic hardwoods, we build with it because as a country, the US is is setting a great example in responsible harvesting practices.  We are planting more trees than we cut down and die of natural causes combined.   Here are a few uplifting facts according to a study done by the US Forest resource in 2014:

  • The US plants about 2 million acres of trees each year
  • Tree growth in the US is outpacing harvesting and tree mortality by about 9.5%

What about wood you use that comes from other countries?

We currently are only using one foreign hardwood called Black Limba.  It is NOT listed as an endangered species by the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  We really try to steer clear of using wood from outside of our country as deforestation is a massive problem. 

Real talk about global deforestation

Image showing drastic contrast of deforestation

The majority of countries where this occurs either have relaxed regulations or do not have the resources to police illegal logging.  Below are just a few of the major lumber sources for global manufacturers, who produce the furniture that is sold in big box stores:

  • Indonesia has lost a quarter of its forest in the last 25 years.  
  • Cambodia has seen some of the most devastating deforestation rates.  In 1993 73% of the island was covered by forest and in 2015 it is down to 55%.  That is a 25% decrease!
  • Vietnam has made strides to stop deforestation, but they still suffered a 6% decrease from 2010 to 2015 due to illegal logging.  Not to mention that they are now sourcing a large portion of wood for manufacturing from Cambodia!

In case you are interested about why forests actually matter even if you are not a frequent visitor, click here to read more.

    How does this connect back to furniture?  

    The short answer is China and the US.  The long answer is….

    A good chunk of China’s wood comes from, you guessed it... countries mentioned above with big deforestation problems!  They source wood from plenty of other places, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that deforestation doesn’t seem to be a problem that is high on their list to solve. 

    The next important fact is that China is the world’s biggest furniture manufacturer, by a LONG SHOT.  Annually, they produce 93 billion dollars worth of furniture goods.  The next closest country is Germany who produces about $18 billion.  

    We are connected to all of this because the US is China’s biggest buyer of furniture products, coming in at a whopping 44%!  

      Again…remind us what all this has to do with Open Door Furniture?

      Global manufacturers are perpetually under pressure to produce products at lower price points and increased profits.  That means finding cheaper (and often irresponsibly obtained) resources and making lower quality products. 

      Our handcrafted furniture is not cheap by any definition of the word.  We know that and will not apologize.  We work hard to make great furniture that will last.  We work hard at educating people on the value of buying a lasting piece of furniture.  We work hard to make sure that our lumber comes from places that are using the Earth’s resources wisely.   

      And we know you work hard.  So go ahead…use that hard earned money of yours and buy something from us that you will love and feel great about!

       

      Just for fun....some more of our amazing world as seen through the lens of my friend Will Rochfort.  See more of his epic photos here

      Glacier point under the stars by Will Rochfort from twomillstones

      Palisades in Sierra Nevadas by Will Rochfort of Twomillstones





        Andrew DePalma
        Andrew DePalma

        Author

        Andrew is the Owner of Open Door Furniture. He is passionate about building pieces of furniture that people love to see every day and can be enjoyed for generations.


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