Burled maple trees view from base of trees looking up intertwined trunks

FAQs

The answers you've been looking for

How do you source your wood?

Our wood supply is sustainable and ethically sourced directly from landowners and their logging contractors, with whom we have long-standing relationships.  On Hawaiʻi, we salvage wood from dead and downed trees.  Integrity and sustainability is important to us.  Over the years, we have developed a strong base of contacts and maintain those good relationships by paying top market for the trees we cut.  The wood we sell is all Lacey Act Compliant.

What is figured wood?

Figure is a growth pattern, which creates a unique feature or ribbon effect on the surface of the wood.  Another way to put it is that figure refers to the distinctive way in which wood captures and reflects light.  The way in which the wood is cut can enhance or slightly change the look of the figure, but figure is basically an anomalous growth pattern.  Grain refers to the orientation of the fibers in the wood as it is hewn from a log.  Figure is the sparkle on top of that.

Are all trees figured?

Sadly, no.  All trees will have what we refer to as “reactionary figure”, meaning that under branches or around burls, there will be some wrinkling in the tree’s fibers, creating figure, but figured trees (trees in which the whole or large portions of the tree show deep figure) are very rare.

Like any good dragon on the prowl, days to weeks are spent hunting through forests to find these very special trees with figure.

How do you know if a tree is figured?

We use a simple technique.  We carefully chop a small “window” into the bark, peel the bark back, to look and feel the texture of the raw wood beneath. 

We are looking for ripples in the wood fibers.  Small, tight ripples, like pencils, indicate curl (also called flame and fiddleback).  Large, wide rolls, like sausages indicate quilt.  Several “windows” are checked on each tree and care is taken to ensure that we are not checking in a typical reactionary figure area, like under a branch. If the wood tissue is smooth (most of them are), then we know the tree is not figured.  The bark is then carefully put back and tapped into place.  This does not hurt the tree.

What is the Lacey Act?

If you want to see this dragon get really fierce, talk to me about wood thieves (I like to call them Maple Maggots).  The Lacey Act is the mechanism used to prevent forests lands thefts and prosecute them when they happen.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife says it best:

When the Lacey Act was passed in 1900, it became the first federal law protecting wildlife. It enforces civil and criminal penalties for the illegal trade of animals and plants. Today it regulates the import of any species protected by international or domestic law and prevents the spread of invasive, or non-native, species.

Basically, it is the law that requires documentation for natural resources to ensure that they are legally obtained and in compliance with conservation standards.  We keep documentation of permits, location, and payments on all the wood we cut and sell.  Periodically, these records are audited by agencies like Fish and Wildlife, The Department of Natural Resources, or The Department of Ecology. 

In other words, you may be confident that 100% of the wood you purchase from the Wood Dragon Hoard has been legally obtained. 

Do you offer free shipping?

Free shipping is a Fairy Tale.  I’m a dragon, I know about myths.  The Amazons may be able to offer something that looks like free shipping, but dragons can’t.  Let me explain: You pay the Amazons a small fee each month.  You are paying for shipping.  Additionally, vendors who are selling items with exact dimensions can calculate their shipping costs with good accuracy and factor those costs into their pricing structure.  This same type of calculation is not possible with wood.

Because of the size and shape differences in the wood products we sell, I ship packages that range from bubble mailers to pallets on trucks.  It would require a price increase of 40% on all products to accommodate the fantasy of free shipping.

So, what is your shipping policy?

I have shipping contracts with multiple LTL and ground carriers.  I always check for the lowest shipping costs on each package. I do not and will not ever inflate those costs.  You pay the exact shipping amount that I pay. 

How do I customize my order?

When ordering something that is a stock pull, such as a bowl blank, you can customize your order by entering specific information in the comments section of the shopping cart.  You can say things like: “I would like straight curl in this piece” or “A ropy, wide grain look is preferred” or “I need a live edge”.  Please don’t be shy.  The more details you can give me, the more certain I am of finding the perfect piece for your project.

Why is wood so expensive?

I’ll give you the short answer: A great deal of time and multiple steps go into the wood before it is ready to be made into art.  There are costs of equipment to operate and maintain, energy for drying, products for removing livestock (you don’t want beetles), and the costs of the initial purchase of the wood from landowners.

Additionally, wood, like other precious resources, is valued according to its commonality.  The woods that we offer are rare.  Sure, maple trees are everywhere in the PNW, but I’ve walked 20-acre parcels and checked fifty trees to only find two that show figure.  Even when we find it, it is uncommon to find a tree with top grade material throughout.  Most often, we are only able to recover a small percentage of the total volume of the tree.  That’s what makes this wood such a treasure.

Isn't koa endangered?

Simple answer: no.  Koa is not now, nor has it ever been endangered.  It is, however, endemic to Hawaiʻi, meaning that Hawaiʻi is the only place on Earth where it grows, which makes it a very precious resource.  It is therefore protected because, regardless of its abundance, such a small habitat makes it a finite resource.  If it were not carefully preserved, over-logging would soon place it in the endangered category.

We never cut living trees.  100% of the wood we harvest on Hawaiʻi is salvage.  By clearing away dead standing and dead and down wood, it leaves space for the baby trees to grow.

Grade: what does 3A, 4A, 5A mean?

A word about grade…

Throughout the descriptions on products, wood grade will frequently be noted. Below is an explanation:

3A refers to light figure.  A 3A piece may have small “dead spots” where the figure is not present at all or is so light that it will only be seen once the piece is finished.

4A refers to nice figure, which covers the entire piece, but lacks iridescence, or "pop".

5A refers to strong figure and “iridescence”, which means white contrasting lines.

For information on the types of wood and cuts we offer and their uses, visit our page: Craftwood Uses

Ready to get serious?

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