Three boards

There are some lovely little boats on the upper Mekong River. They are made with only three boards. The one in the centre is basically parallel edged, but bent while lying flat, to raise both ends. Attached to this lengthwise, at 45 degrees, are planks (garboards) that are basically a long crescent shape, sweeping up […]

Design earns its due

It wasn’t that long ago that the word design was primarily used to describe a state of scheming, usually nefariously, for the purpose of acquiring something or someone. One might have “designs” on… It doesn’t seem to be used that way so much anymore. It now generally implies a connection with creativity. There is an […]

True Nordic strong and free

Wood has been an important material in the world of furniture design for a very long time. But by the mid 20th century, there were a lot of competing materials, reflecting new technologies and modernism in general. Despite that, Canada retained a strong loyalty to wood. A very fine exhibit has been mounted that illustrates […]

Tools for the job

As a young adult, I was seized by the idea of becoming a product designer. That would be a good description of what occurred. I was seized and the idea didn’t let go. At first, I had no idea of what kind of products I wanted to design. By Paul Epp My earliest design activities […]

Higher-margin strategy tough with wood

Traditionally, our approach has largely been that of selling commodities, of which dimensioned lumber for light timber framing (2 x 4s) and paper products have had the largest market share. Canada has a more than abundant supply of wood and with commodities frequently under pricing pressure, it has made sense to look at adding value […]

Heirlooms: Down through generations

Heirlooms. Now that’s a word that isn’t used very often anymore, unless we’re talking about tomatoes. The whole idea of valuable objects being passed along through the generations has pretty much passed away. When some of our most precious things have an effective lifespan that’s measured in months, the very notion seems a bit quaint. […]

Wood is slow

Now, that’s kind of a funny way to describe wood. Why would a description of movement be applied to wood? Wood doesn’t move, at least not by itself. But we move wood. In particular, we move it into tools or tools into it. And it is the nature of Wood is slow wood to require […]

How wood works

I think that I shall never see,a poem as lovely as a tree… — Joyce Kilmer. Actually, a tree is simply an apparatus that facilitates photosynthesis. It puts the little factories, the leaves or the needles, up there out of the way of other things where they can do their job. The tree itself is […]

Better all the time

Even before I became as involved with canoes and canoeing as I eventually did, I found it easy to admire this ‘frail craft of an aqueous navigation.’ All the lines were gentle curves, and, even when at rest, these little boats looked like they were in motion. While I was admiring one in particular, the […]

The Wood Age

When Curtis LeMay suggested that the U.S. ought to “bomb them (the Vietnamese) back to the Stone Age,” he was using a reference to a common way of describing the pre-historical technological development of humankind. The sequence is: Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age. What about the Wood Age? The uses for stone was would […]