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Woodworking is a magic combination of 60% skill, 20% tools, 10% patience. 10% attitude.  Virtually anything can and most likely has been at one time made of wood.  When all the parts fit in place wood, like clay, can be molded into art.  Wood has a inviting warmth that is very difficult to duplicate in other materials and has become the material of choice for the furniture in our homes.  The grain, texture, and feel of real wood is both visually appealing and calming.

As we become more concerned about the global environment and the health of our planet we are gradually moving closer to living less with real wood and more towards man-made alternatives.  Modern manufacturing is evolving into man-made synthetics that try to mimic wood visually but unfortunately they often miss the target. Faux is a fairly common term when it comes to building materials; faux wood, faux stone, faux greenery.  Eventually very little will be “real” but as we evolve our manufacturing techniques it will be difficult to tell the difference and unless you where a generation that enjoyed real wood furniture you most likely won’t know you missed it.

Changes in material does not much change the process of creating beautiful pieces of furniture and in many cases it makes it a bit easier.  New materials are bit more flexible, durable, and lighter while craft-able with the same tools.  Visually there is a little difference in the end product. A grain pattern might repeat here and there and it might be a little plastic feeling to the touch but the good news is it most likely won’t be flammable, it won’t take 4 guys to move it, and it might save a few trees.

Don’t get too nostalgic over wood just yet, it might be a good 30 to 50 years before we cut real wood furniture out of our homes. There will come a day when wood might be obsolete as a building material so don’t be so quick to through away that old wood rocking chair or memoir, hold onto it a few more years and pass it onto the next generation, it might be the only real wood furniture they’ll have in their future home.

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