There has been a lot of talk about sustainability in recent years, what is it, what does it look like, how do we achieve it. We are glad that it has become a topic of discussion in a wider swath of the American public but eventually you must move from mere conversation to action if you want to see results. Undoubtedly there are many different ways a single person or family could have a positive effect on the multitude of problems facing all life forms on the planet. But underlying any potentially successful strategy is the simple fact that there are way too many of us using far too many resources to even begin to approach sustainability.
One proven method of reducing our impact is to produce or purchase products which will last a long time thus curbing the need for more resource extraction to replace them. Towards this end, Sue and I have used this method in conjunction with complementary strategies to redefine how a family can have a good life while minimizing their impact. On the ensuing pages you will find objects which will be enjoyed by both the original owner and future generations of their family. We welcome you to our version of sustainability.
PADDLES CONSTRUCTION FURNITURE
If you are looking for custom wood canoe or sea kayak paddles designed and crafted without compromise, you have found them.
Quimby Construction has concentrated primarily on timber frames, but we also build other types of energy efficient homes and outbuildings.
Quimby Furniture is the most recent addition to our list of high quality wood products. Our designs are a combination of craftsman and big slab live edge influences.
We had been sleeping for a number of years on a futon bed and the cotton batting mattress had become uneven and lumpy so we decided a new bed was needed. A search through area furniture stores was disappointing, most of what we saw did not look like it was solid enough to last even one lifetime. So I built us a bed frame with 6”X6” corner posts held together by wedged mortise and tenon joints so it could be disassembled and moved. Long after Sue and I are gone someone will be peacefully slumbering on it. This same process was repeated when a new dining table with a bench was needed and when people came to our house and saw these pieces some of them wanted one for their home.
Why is it that some buildings last for hundreds of years while others have a much shorter lifespan? It certainly isn’t because timber frames are inherently superior to other construction techniques since there are numerous builders erecting high quality, energy efficient stud frame structures. There are three principal factors that contribute to the long term sustainability of a building and they are design, building to standards that meet or exceed that design and the perception of the owners that the structure is worth the cost of maintaining it. Timber frames tend to have a high perceived value by their owners but if the other factors are not well executed the long term viability of the structure will still be in question.
We started making canoe paddles in 1980. I was just starting to learn about woodworking and my method of designing paddles was strictly trial and error. My wife Sue, our paddling friends, and a gradually widening circle of top notch paddlers were my sounding board. The first few paddles primary redeeming characteristic was that they would push a canoe forward and several ended up in the woodstove. Progress seemed incremental at first, but after a couple of years knowledge and experience reached a point of synergy and virtually every paddle showed a significant improvement in design and construction. By the mid 1980’s it became obvious that our goal was not to produce large quantities of paddles because production line techniques would compromise our true intention, which is to make the highest quality paddles humanly possible. There has never been a paddle which came out of our workshop that I considered absolutely perfect in every detail and that is fortunate because if it were to happen the quest would be over and there would be no point in continuing.
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