Thuja Wood Art

My Husband, Colin, created his own business when we moved to the island out of his need to balance income with art.  He learned the skill of splitting cedar by hand, an age old technique of cutting western red cedar (thuja plicata) into usable pieces.  It is the only type of wood that splits easily following the grain, and with the use of wedges and a froe and mallet, cedar will split within the flow of the trees natural curves, twists, and undulations.  By then fitting the pieces together with traditional wood joinery, such as mortise and tenon joints, Colin creates tables, benches, fences, gates, and arbours which shine with the natural beauty of western red cedar. Since every piece of cedar he splits is different, the designs that he creates come out of the inspirations of the wood itself, making each piece unique.  Because western red cedar is native to the wet climate that we live in, it contains naturally occuring oils that give it a long outdoor life without being coated in any sealants or stains.  It is very important to Colin that his business be sustainable and have a low impact on the earth, so he collects his wood from beaches all around Vancouver Island, which means that he is not supporting the cutting down of any more trees.  Most of what he finds is old growth, so the grain is tight and the wood is clear, with beautiful variations of red and orange tones.  If a stain is requested, Colin uses an all natural finish containing tunge and linseed oils, pine rosin, beeswax, and citrus.  He also does lots of landscaping and stonework for many of his clients.  Take a look at his website, http://thujawoodart.com/, for a better idea of his work.  Colin and I are very grateful that we can earn our income from such a creative and earth friendly business.

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