One of the things that really sets Bench Dog Wood Shop apart from other furniture producers is our process. Much of the wood that we use is sourced right off of the wood shop's property. Learn more below about how we take your project from tree to the final product.
It all starts with selecting the best wood. We survey the property regularly for the trees that are ideal for our projects. Insect infestation and disease are two major concerns for wood quality, we inspect every log to make sure the wood is high quality.
Once we have identified a tree that we would like to use for a project, we fell the tree. Most trees are felled with the help of an excavator if possible, or otherwise a chainsaw is used.
Prior to milling the logs, they must be cut into manageable sizes and all branches removed. They are then stacked to the side for a few days before heading to the saw mill.
Most of our wood is milled on site with a Wood-Mizer LT15 saw mill. Depending on the intended purpose of the wood, the log is either milled in a rectangular shape (a cant) and then processed into dimension-ed lumber or the log is cut into slabs, leaving a "live-edge" on both sides of the wood.
After milling the wood, it is mostly a waiting game. The boards are stacked together and are left to air dry for 3-4 weeks.
The air drying process allows for the wood to dispel much of the water in the wood's cells. Wood that has a surplus of moisture is not suitable for furniture, it will tend to move and crack. Once it has reached an acceptable level of moisture in the wood, it is sent to the kiln.
Freshly sawn wood can have a moisture content between 40%-200%, which is more than the surrounding atmosphere. Over time the wood will lose moisture, which cause cause the wood to change shape. In order to get the wood to a stable level, it needs to be around 8% moisture content. This is where kiln drying comes in. The kiln uses heat and airflow to remove the moisture from the tree in a relatively fast amount of time.
Once the wood has been put in the kiln it will need 3-6 weeks of heat and air flow to get the moisture level of the wood down to acceptable levels for furniture making.
The process of turning a tree into a final product is very time intensive and labor intensive. So after a full day of milling and kiln drying wood, its time to relax.