I use local hardwoods (Midwest) with a few mixed exotics. Most of my lumber has come from local woodlots where I harvest trees that have been damaged by wind or other trauma. Alteratively, I can create a unique piece from a downed tree in your yard or reclaimed lumber from a building or piece that has personal history for you. Not only does this extend the life of any given natural resource, it adds to the character and value of the piece. I have built a small home office from a 176-year-old dead white oak that stood in my clients' yard. When a client's family had decided that their upright piano had played its last note, I turned its face into a coffee table. Both projects were fun for me and provided their owners with a connection to fond memories.
I use low VOC finishes wherever possible with a shellac sealer. In my own designs I avoid stain, preferring to allow the color and character of the wood to shine through. Of course, if my client desires a project stained I can certainly do so. I have been experimenting with natural stains like walnut husks, dyes such as vinegar and steel wool and other methods of treating or distressing lumber to achieve a desired, sometimes dramatic effect.
GMW Designs & Customer Custom Designs
My personal style is a mix of modern, rustic and Arts & Crafts. On the pieces I create for sale, I use a lot of natural edge or "live edge" slab wood with knots, checks and non-structural splits. Function as well as form is necessary with all of my projects. When I'm working on custom projects I try to make the personality of the project reflect my client's personality and individuality. Whether it is lines, curves, layers, practicality, brightness or uniqueness, I'll listen to you and we can work together to develop the right design - right down to the littlest secret detail known only to you and me.