Ever wonder exactly where the wood in your dining table comes from? And I don’t mean “where” in the generalized, macro-geographic sense of “the Adirondacks,” or “the Pacific Northwest,” but rather in the saw oil-on-your-knuckles, tree shrapnel under-your-collar feel evoked by the methodology of Master Craftsman and namesake David Stine of Stine Woodworking.
Lowder Table. Designed by David Stine of Stine Woodworking.
Stine, who “personally selects, harvests, and saws all of the lumber he uses in his work,” obtains said wood from family forests in Southern Illinois that he stewards himself. It’s the initial step in a sustainable philosophy of local sourcing, sustainable harvesting (he only culls dead or dying trees), minimal waste (all scraps are burned for heat), and non-toxic finishes and glues. And as one might expect, this green work/lifestyle results in sublime pieces that show the wood to its “full, natural beauty—live edges, knots, graining, bullet holes and all”—just as in Stine’s latest, the Lowder Table. Constructed of “a massive, live-edge board from a century-old Black Walnut tree, felled in Macoupin County, Illinois,” this piece is the first in a limited six table series, on display this weekend at NYC’s Architectural Digest Home Design Show.
Symes Tables. Designed by David Stine of Stine Woodworking.
Wave Bench. Designed by David Stine of Stine Woodworking.
Sycamore Rounds. Designed by David Stine of Stine Woodworking.
Like all of Stine’s pieces, the Lowder Tables are one of a kind—not only does the natural variation illustrate Stine’s contention that “no two trees are alike, no two boards are alike,” but this particular table come from a tree that’s extraordinarily rare for its prodigious circumference—at 9.5 feet long, 40 inches wide, 30 inches tall, and $14,000, the stats are massive on all fronts (I didn’t get a weight, but I speculate that transference from Illinois to NYC required the services of several sturdy backs.) The Lowder Table also showcases Stine’s talent for customized, detailed joinery—note the hand-cut, interlaid black walnut “keys” across the split grain.
While Stine’s old-world philosophy of local sourcing and hand-crafting may seem somewhat anomalous, it produces the kind of exquisite, drop-your-jaw beauty that could only come from a harmonious relationship with nature. And, in all truth, an outlook like Stine’s is old-world no more: low-input, self-sustaining, ecologically-friendly, and gorgeous to boot… If this is the past, we should all be content to go backwards to the future!