IVORY BILL FURNITURE for Generations
THE IVORY BILLED WOODPECKER, or the Ivory Bill as it is commonly known, was thought for many years to be extinct. There are whisperings in the media and among bird lovers about possible re-discoveries, and at least as many naysayers and critics. Whatever the case, there is a tremendous wonder and mystery surrounding the rare bird and its possible rediscovery.
Like the Ivory Bill, thoughtfully designed, solid wood furniture, built one piece at a time is rare and wonderful. Ivory Bill creates pieces of lasting relevance for generations. It is our wish that you and your family will likewise be filled with wonder to own and pass down an Ivory Bill original.
CLAYTON + AMY THOMPSON = Ivory Bill We are a husband and wife team, relying on the skill and assistance of a few talented people now and then. There isn’t a piece of furniture that leaves our shop without Clayton’s fingerprint on it. It is our single-minded goal to produce the best, solid wood furniture from the most beautiful species of American hardwoods. It is rare to find items thoughtfully designed, purposefully crafted and painstakingly polished here in the land of the free!
We can meticulously select materials, pair them with the most pleasing designs and put them together using joinery that will stand up to years of use–and that adds up to only 50% of what makes a piece of furniture an heirloom. The other half of the equation takes care, someone to value the work, someone to pass it on. In other words, the other 50% is what you and your family will contribute over the years.
FINISH AND CARE
An oil-rubbed finish is versatile, forgiving and interactive. It requires some care. A coat of polish. A layer of richness. Marker mishaps? Blueberry spills? Give it a light sanding and rub some oil over it! Burnish marks, nicks and light scratches build a patina of use and history over the years that add an undefinable beauty. No other finish affords this sort of flexibility. Generally speaking, give your table a coat of polish as needed. After heavy use and cleaning, the wood will begin to look “thirsty.” Paste wax is a great short term polish that quickly brings depth back to the grain. For a long term polish, the piece should be treated with a coat of Danish oil to restore richness and add the greatest level of protection. We recommend applying a coat of Danish oil every six months to a year, and using paste wax in-between as needed. Visit the Danish oil and paste wax tutorials HERE.
ODE TO SAPWOOD
Sapwood is the part of living wood where sap flows, as opposed to heartwood, where it does not. Sapwood is light, heartwood is darker. As a designer I prize the exotic flavor created by sapwood. Sapwood tells us what color the heartwood is in contrast and adds a graphic quality to the piece. I lament that for years woodworkers have wasted some of the most beautiful aspects of the wood by cutting out all of the sapwood. When used artfully, sapwood takes good design and adds what is abstract, unique and undefinable.
The most ideal way to use wood is to let it be what it is, to let grain and color define the personality of the piece. Instead of staining woods to be something they are not, we encourage our customers to pick the species of wood that naturally has the color and depth they are looking for. The prismatic range of colors and myriad eccentricities that each species of wood exhibits is exactly what make the difference between the run-of-the-mill and the valuable. Our method is to hand-pick each piece of wood with character in mind, whether we are building one chair at a time or several sets.
Without getting too preachy, we use American Hardwoods for their beauty, for the way our forests are managed and to prevent shipping mass amounts of lumber clear across the globe! If you don’t see your favorite American Hardwood on this list, we may still be able to get it, just give us a call. Each Species shown in a coat of oil and represents as closely as possible what your wood will look like at the time it is finished.
Black Cherry- Prunus Serotina
Commonly called “Cherry,” a dense, smooth grained wood. Cherry is photosensitive, starting out light and darkening to a deep red-orange over time and with exposure to light.
One our favorites. Most of the furniture on the site is shown in Cherry.
Black Walnut- Juglans Nigra, Juglans Hindsii
Medium density, rich color ranging from light to dark brown. Lightens slightly with age and exposure to light. The preferred species of furniture makers for hundreds of years.
We love Walnut for its color and workability.
White Oak- Quercus Alba
Extremely dense, open-grained wood. Color ranges from light brown to blond with even lighter stripes of sapwood. Currently, a very popular choice among designers.
Not to be confused with Red-Oak, White Oak has a tighter grain pattern and a lighter color.
Hard Maple- Acer Saccharum
Dense, closed-grained and smooth to the touch. A light blond colored wood, oiled Maple turns to a rich gold with time. The density of Hard Maple makes it a popular wood for butcher blocks.
Hickory- Carya Ovata, Carya Illionoinensis
Available species range from Shagbark Hickory to Pecan. Once the principle wood for turning baseball bats, Hickory has properties similar to White Oak: the main exception being that it has a greater ratio of sapwood to heartwood. This makes the color more graphic. Light colored with Medium Brown stripes.
Photograhic credits: We express our warmest appreciation to Ashley Thalman http://ashleythalmanphotography.com/ for showing our designs in their best light and to Matthew Irving for his brilliant product photography.