Sourcing natural wood for live edge table

raw materials

We are fortunate that two of our favorite materials, California (or Claro) walnut and Pacific maple (also called bigleaf maple), are harvested locally and sustainably. We also love using materials we find when walking out the front door of the shop, like whiteleaf manzanita and Pacific madrone, and for our prototypes, ponderosa pine.

Whenever possible when building a handmade chair or dining table, we identify and harvest the trees ourselves, offering the wood a slower, more gentle drying process, which leaves it with better color, and makes it less brash and easier to work. After air-drying the lumber for one to two years, we put it into our solar kiln for final conditioning.

Non-figured California Walnut swatch

California Walnut, Non-Figured

We harvest this species from California’s Great Central Valley. It is softer than American walnut, typically darker in color and frequently has more figure. It is ecologically associated with riparian or streamside zones, but with proper irrigation, it can grow nearly anywhere. It is about the density of cherry. When hand selecting the wood to make a piece of custom furniture we carefully divide it into figured and non-figured categories. The non-figured California walnut gets used for critical structural components, like the back posts of our dining chairs.

Figured California Walnut swatch

California Walnut, Figured

California walnut is the most sought after domestic hardwood for good reason. Its color and grain pattern are world class. Since we usually mill the entire log of this tree we always have exceptional examples in our woodshop. Sometimes called “Claro,” it interbreeds with Persian (English) walnut and produces paradox or Bastogne.

American Walnut swatch

American Walnut

Native to the Midwest and East, this wood is lighter in color and harder than California Walnut. It is less expensive than California walnut and we can use it in our handmade rocking chairs, side chairs and custom office chairs.

Quilted Pacific Big-Leaf Maple swatch

Quilted Pacific Big-Leaf Maple

A treasure to our area. The unusual pattern of grain called “quilt” makes this material distinctive from its Eastern cousins and only occurs in this species of maple. It is softer than the Eastern species, making it more difficult to work with from the craftsman’s perspective, but produces magnificent handcrafted furniture.

Fiddleback Pacific Maple swatch

Fiddleback Pacific Maple

From the same species as the Quilted Maple, the pattern is more like a tiger’s stripes and less like the boiling water of “quilt”. It makes great rocking chairs and desk chairs.

Cherry Wood swatch


A classic for handmade American furniture, we source our cherry wood from central Pennsylvania. It can be used for any of our handmade rocking chairs, office chairs, or dining chairs.

Kellogg's Oak or California Black Oak swatch

Kellogg's Oak

Also known as California black oak, this is another local species that we love working with. This wood is used for almost all of our drawers due to the ease of machining.

Pacific Madrone swatch

Pacific Madrone

Unique to the West Coast, this tree thrives in our climate. Frequently similar to Cherry in color, this wood has a lot of character and is used in a variety of our custom furniture designs.

Sycamore Wood swatch


Variable in color from light to dark, the ray cells create a distinctive lizard skin pattern when cut in a precise radius of the log. It is difficult to keep the quartersawn pattern when used in our handmade chairs since the shaping and round sections go in and out of this orientation. Sycamore is great for a custom dining table, office desk or for the Martinez and Kitkitdizze Recliners.

European Elm swatch

European Elm

We salvaged this wood from trees on the California State Capital grounds in Sacramento. It is moderately hard and is rich brown in color.

Red Elm swatch

Red Elm

This is our favorite wood for bending and laminating the back slats of our handmade chairs. We source this from the Upper Midwest, and pairs well with walnut. It was the favorite wood of the Henry Rushton canoes of the 1890s because it bent well, was incredible strong and was rot resistant. Rushton used it for the ½” by ½” ribs of his canoes to hold their structure.

Limed Oak swatch

Limed Oak

This is a traditional treatment of oak done with a liming wax. At Erickson Woodworking, we use it on Kellogg’s oak to create a whiter wood because oak and ash have a tendency to amber as they age. This treatment preserves the lighter tone of our handmade furniture for generations.

Ash Wood swatch


Used by Great Plains homesteaders for sucker rod in their homemade windmills, this wood is light in color and extremely strong. It has a pronounced grain pattern and is a favorite for baseball bats, with the fast-growing trees in this species making stronger bats than those with tight-growth rings.

White Leaf Manzanita swatch


White-Leaf Manzanita is another local species that we like to use. It is a deep red in color and extremely hard. We use it for details and butterfly keys in our custom dining tables and office desks.

Bison Leather Swatches


We use bison leather from the Great Plains of the U.S. Our cowhides come from Sweden and are vegetable tanned before being hand-sewn and attached to our handmade rocking chairs and office chairs.

Hand-forged iron bolt and closure

Hand-Forged Iron

We love the blend of iron and wood in our custom desk chairs and handmade tables. We work with blacksmith Mike Route from Frederic, Wisconsin.