David Wolfgram and I “met” a couple of years ago on Etsy when he sent a convo saying that he liked our Racka Adventurer’s Hat…since then I have admired his woodworking from afar and was excited when he said yes to this interview and giveaway!
So stick around, read awhile and see the international giveaway down below.
What got you started working with wood, in other words, when did you find your passion in and around it?
I used to work in construction. But in the winter we would get laid off because of the cold weather. I would go to Hawaii and wait out the winter. One winter in Hawaii I took a job in a wood shop on the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s in that wood shop I fell in love with creation. I would take scraps of Koa and Mango and turn them into treasures. I decided that I was going to make myself a guitar. The guys in the wood shop thought I was crazy since I just barely was learning how to work wood. But I read lots of books on guitar making and thought I could do it anyway. It turned out beautiful! I earned the nickname, “Super Dave”. After that, I fell in love with the way the wood could be shaped. If you can dream it, it can be created.
A couple of technical things: how do you prepare your wood for working with, how long does it take to dry and at what humidity level do you desire from the wood before working with it?
Well, since I use a lot of wood from locally downed trees, there are a few steps involved.
First the logs have to be milled into uniform planks of lumber. I usually mill them into 2 3/8” thick. The planks are then stacked with spacers (called stickers) in between to allow for air flow. I have a special shed just for drying and storing wood. Here in Utah the air is very dry. It usually takes a year per inch (depending on species) to dry the lumber. I wait about 3 years, which puts the moisture in the wood to between 6-8%. And that’s perfect.
What are the essential tools for crafting a piece of wooden art?
That depends on what you’re making. I’d say that a good sharp knife is my favorite tool. I just love carving spoons, and eating with them too! You have to have a good set of chisels. When I say good, I do not mean expensive I just mean quality steel. I like a lot of the vintage tools. I have 3 of my Great Grandfather’s chisels, that old German steel sure holds an edge. I also enjoy using Japanese pull saws; they seem to leave such silky cuts. For heavy carving you can’t bet a good adz and hatchet. I do have a wood shop full of power tools as well. Table saw, routers, chain saw, drill press, band saw, 20” planer, sliding compound miter saw and jointer.
How thick does a solid wood cutting board need to be so that it neither warps nor cracks all the way through?
Thickness is part of it, but it’s mostly in wood grain and the direction that it is when laid out. Reading wood grain is everything! You can save yourself a lot of heartache by learning how wood moves and why.
Please share with us the benefits of using wood over plastic cutting boards, from your well grounded ecological perspective…
There is a lot of back and forth on this issue. But, I believe that wood is superior to plastic because of its natural antibacterial qualities. Plastic can harbor bacteria for a long time in those tiny grooves a knife makes. Wood is sustainable, feels good to the touch and is by far more beautiful than any plastic. I’ve been using the same cutting board in my home now for over 10 years. It gets used daily and it still looks good.
Anything else you would like the world to know about you?
Not about me. But, I would like people to know that “WE” are all in this together. And it really is the little things we do as a collective that can make a difference in the quality of life we are living. Slow things down, eat local clean foods, preferably home grown. Try to catch more sunsets. Be conscious of your impact on this earth we call home. And most important just be thankful!
Thanks so much for all that you and your family do!
David has graciously offered up this beautiful handcrafted cutting board for a giveaway!
It is made from reclaimed Hickory, Black Walnut, Maple, Cherry, Elm and Ipe
10 5/8″ X 8″ and 3/4″ thick (27 x 20 cm and 1.7 cm thick)
hand signed and tagged with care instructions
hand rubbed out with sweet orange oil and beeswax
Eco-Hardwoods is willing to ship this one internationally, so get ready to enter by leaving a comment below telling us what is your favorite wooden item in your kitchen and why??
Giveaway starts this morning (at time of posting) and ends Thursday, November 22nd 6 am CET. I will let David know who the winner is (but you can also come back here to find out!) and he will contact you for your shipping address and send this board out within a week. It would make a nice winter gift! :)
Csermely will draw the random winner from her hat.
Show some love and appreciation by visiting Eco-Hardwoods on Etsy as well to find handcarved spoons and various other cutting boards with very lovely feet! You can see more of David’s work right here …
Thanks to all that entered and a special thanks to David for sharing his passion with us all!