Alabama Sawyer’s Not So Secret Diary
What is carbon sequestration?
"the long-term storage of carbon in plants, soils, geologic formations, and the ocean. Carbon sequestration occurs both naturally and as a result of anthropogenic activities and typically refers to the storage of carbon that has the immediate potential to become carbon dioxide gas. In response to growing concerns about climate change resulting from increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, considerable interest has been drawn to the possibility of increasing the rate of carbon sequestration through changes in land use and forestry and also through geoengineering techniques such as carbon capture and storage." (Source: Carbon Sequestration | Encyclopedia Britannica)
Solid wood furniture, and trees in general tend to store carbon very well in. In fact, "An important function of trees and forests both within and outside of urban areas is carbon sequestration. Nowak and Crane (2002) have estimated that urban trees in the U.S. hold about 774 million tons of carbon ... the importance of tree biomass carbon in urban areas is expected to increase over the coming decades, because the urbanized area is expected to increase notably in the U.S. (Nowak and Walton 2005)." (Source: Carbon Sequestration In Solid Wood Products From Urban Forests | Dovetail Partners Inc.)
As you may very well know, Alabama Sawyer gets a large percent of wood from the urban forests of Alabama. The exciting part of this is that use of urban wood helps diminish the harmful effect of the buildup of greenhouse gases through long term carbon sequestration.
But why is using urban wood so important in all of this? Well, when urban trees come down, they typically become a waste removal problem. In the forest, a tree coming down isn't much a problem since released carbon just goes back into the carbon cycle. In an urban setting, however, released carbon from a downed tree doesn't really go back into the carbon cycle in the same way. This is especially true if the tree goes to rot in a landfill. Thus, making solid wood furniture from urban wood is a great way to ensure that the wood continues to store that carbon in the long term.
Selin, Noelle Eckley. “Carbon Sequestration.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 16 Jan. 2019, www.britannica.com/technology/carbon-sequestration.
Bratkovich, Steve, and Sam Sherrill. “Carbon Sequestration in Wood Products, Urban Forests.” Dovetail Report: Carbon Sequestration in Wood Products, Urban Forests, Dovetail Partners Inc., 19 July 2011, www.dovetailinc.org/reports/Carbon+Sequestration+in+Wood+Products%2C+Urban+Forests_n258?prefix=%2Freports.
“The Carbon Cycle.” The Carbon Cycle | UCAR Center for Science Education, 2007, scied.ucar.edu/carbon-cycle.
Hardin, LeJean, and Jaime Payne. “Schematic Showing Both Terrestrial and Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from a Biomass or Fossil Fuel Power Station.” Wikipedia Commons, 10 July 2009, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_sequestration-2009-10-07.svg.
There are standard table top heights, then there are custom table heights. The height of a custom table will vary depending on table function, user height, chair height, and several other factors. This blog post aims to explore how you might pick a custom table height - and then give a list of standard table heights.
How Do I Measure Table Height?
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let's discuss how to measure table height in the first place. According to a Parotas blog post, "Standard table height measurements are taken from the floor to the top of the table or counter. This means you need to consider a lower chair height if you have a thick table top or overhanging counter." (Source: Parotas, "A Guide To Standard Table & Chair Heights")
Speaking of chairs, we'd advise a table height that allows for adequate leg room and space to slide the chair underneath the table. Generally, chair heights range from 17-19 inches. We recommend at least 10 inches between chair seat and table top. These discussions should beg the question, 'how do I measure the height of a chair?'
According to the Parotas blog post, "Standard chair heights are measured from the chair legs to the top of the seat surface. You do not include the height of the chair back or armrests in your measurements, unless you plan to slide chairs fully under the table or counter. If you are choosing chairs with armrests, allow around 7 inches (18cm) between the armrest and the underside of your table" (Source: Parotas, "A Guide To Standard Table & Chair Heights")
Elbow space is another important consideration that's very similar to the need for adequate leg room. No one likes using a table that's too tall to rest your elbows on. On the other hand, no one likes jamming their legs under a table because it's way too small.
This is a pretty big consideration honestly. How tall or short are the users? If the users are really tall, consider a taller than average table top. The same goes for shorter users, who may require a shorter than average table height. These questions should definitely factor into the process of picking a table height.
Basically, planning is your best friend when it comes to choosing a custom table height.
Standard Table Top Heights
That said, here are the standard heights of dining tables, counters, coffee tables, and bar tables. Big thanks to Leigh for making the graphics! (Please note: each of the pieces you see below is an Alabama Sawyer table. Find one on our website.)
Remodelista recently published a blog titled, "Remodeling 101: All About Butcher Block Countertops."
If you're out of the know, butcher blocks are made from straight pieces of wood glued together. They tend to be much sturdier than regular cutting boards or counter tops of other materials/ makes. Read more about butcher blocks on Remodelista's blog post! Image courtesy of the Wikipedia Commons.
Hall, Janet. “Remodeling 101: All About Butcher Block Countertops.” Remodelista, Remodelista, 15 Mar. 2019, www.remodelista.com/posts/remodeling-101-butcher-block-kitchen-countertops/?utm_source=Weekly%2BKitchen%2B&%2BBath%2BPosts%2Bfrom%2BRemodelista%2B-%2B03%2F18%2F2019&utm_campaign=3b359d750e&utm_medium=email.
Crider, Anthony. “Butcher's Block.” Wikipedia Commons, 23 Aug. 2009, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Butcher%27s_block.jpg.
The dark brown wood is strong with a handsome grain and polishes easily. Rich, flavorful nuts taste delicious fresh and retain their flavor and texture during cooking. They belong to the same family as hickories and pecans.
Walnut trees are monoecious, meaning they can self-pollinate. However, walnut groves are best for nut production. It's no wonder that walnut is one of our most in demand species of wood, just look at some of the walnut products we offer:
Named after French botanist Pierre Magnol, the magnolia tree belongs to the Magnoliaceae family. This type of tree isn't just old, it's ancient. It appeared before bees did and many Magnolia trees are known to survive for 100+ years.
Mississippi and Louisiana share the Magnolia as the official state flower. Speaking of which, Magnolia flowers can be pink, green, white, purple, or yellow. Here are a couple Magnolia products we offer:
Also known by its Latin name Quercus alba, some white oak trees have lived up to 450 years. Despite the name 'white oak', these trees usually don't have white bark since they are instead named for the color of the finished wood. White oaks have certain characteristics that make it resistant to water and rot. These characteristics make it ideal to be used to make wine and whiskey barrels that resist leakage.
It is used in construction, shipbuilding, architecture, and more. White Oak has also been used extensively to build Japanese martial arts weaponry due to its density and strength. It's no wonder that White Oak is such a popular species of wood. Here are some of our White Oak products:
The name “Pecan” is a Native American word that was used to describe nuts requiring a stone to crack. It is a species of Hickory, native to Mexico and the Southern United States. Pecans are not actually considered a nut, but instead are a fruit surrounded by a husk with a stone pit in the center, which is the part you eat. The state tree of Texas, it can live to be anywhere between 300 - 1000 years old. See some of our Pecan pieces below:
Also known as Spanish Oak, its name comes from the red hairs on its twigs. Southern Red Oak is a durable shade tree which reaches 60 to 80 feet high. See some of our gorgeous Red Oak products below:
Did you know that spending time around wooden furniture can benefit your health? Here are some of the ways:
- It improves your emotional state
- It increases your cognitive ability
- It reduces your stress levels
- It improves air quality through humidity moderation
- It stores carbon long term - thus fighting climate change
You might be wondering how wooden furniture can benefit a person’s health. Research does tell us that being around wood furniture produces similar health effects to spending time in nature. Moreover wood tends to elicit feelings of warmth, comfort, and relaxation. Regardless of its effects, wood has a pleasing look that helps you feel more connected to nature, and at the end of the day, who doesn't love that?
Did you hear the news? We recently started selling our very own beeswax wood polish!
In honor of such an event, here is a “how to” guide that will give you instructions on the simple steps needed to polish your wooden furniture using our ALASAW polish.
You’ll need to figure out what your wood piece is finished with in order to determine how exactly you’re going to polish it. If you’re at a loss and have no clue, read the manufacturer's manual. The different types of finish include varnish, wax, unsealed, or painted. “If your wood has a wax finish, stick with a wax polish. If your wood has an oil finish, stick with an oil polish.”
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED:
-cotton washrag (make sure it’s clean)
-buffing cloth (make sure it’s soft)
STEP ONE: Apply the wood polish directly onto the cotton washrag and begin wiping it into the wood in the direction of the grain (or with the grain). If you need to apply anymore polish then feel free to add another layer.
STEP TWO: Use your buffing cloth to remove any excess wood polish.
And that’s basically it. Easy enough, right? Click on the sources below for more detailed instructions and information.
First thing's first. Let's talk about the psychology of color, specifically the colors that tend to facilitate focus & concentration. Green tends to promote concentration and focus while also playing into aspects of biophilic design. Blue is incredibly calming, which means using it in your office or home would promote calm and aid concentration.
Read more about color psychology here. Now, on to actual design elements. One important consideration is space. Do you want the area to be more open to encourage collaborative discussion, or closed off to ensure individual work gets done?
According to InteriorArchitects.com - in open office spaces "employees experience more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation." Clearly there is a need for balance between collaboration and individual work that promotes concentration and productivity. Consider creating "focus areas" - places where people can work independently, and make the rest of the space more open to encourage collaboration and effective group work.
Another possibility is to set up the space similar to a library layout, that is, long conference tables (see image below) that serve as collaborative meeting spaces, (but don't have to if an employee would prefer to work individually.)
There are a ton of different ways to approach the maximization of concentration and focus in interior design elements, and these are just a few, so be sure to check out our sources and further reading section!
Sources & Further Reading
“The biophilia hypothesis ... suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature"
That’s all well and good, but how does biophilia relate to interior design? After all, the title of this blog suggests there’s a type of design related to biophilia. There is, and it’s called biophilic design. The idea is to reconnect people with nature through various design elements:
"Biophilic design is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. Used at both the building and city-scale, it is argued that this idea has health, environmental, and economic benefits for building occupants and urban environments, with little drawbacks."
Let's break that definition down a little, and discuss what is meant by direct and indirect nature.
Direct nature- Simply put, direct nature refers to potential physical contact with some sort of natural feature. This can mean taking advantage of natural lighting with skylights, or having a small fountain where people can sit and listen to the calming sounds of moving water.
The stream, plant life, and natural lighting are all examples of direct nature here
Although it may sound odd at first, finding a way to use animals to evoke nature can be achieved through aquariums and gardens. Obviously there are a ton of other ways in which nature can be directly evoked in biophilic design, read about those ways here.
Indirect nature- The use of indirect nature is much less involved than direct nature. To have an indirect experience of nature, there need only by contact with images/ depictions of nature. A beach painting over the fireplace, wood furniture, use of earth tones are all examples of indirect nature. Read more about indirect nature here.
Both the plant & the wooden table base would be considered use of indirect nature
To elaborate, indirect nature can involve the use of wooden furniture. Another reason to use wood furniture is the health benefits. That's right, different materials can actually be more harmful than others, especially in furniture where the user is constantly making contact with its surface.
Wood, however, tends to have less toxins than other materials, so you really don't have to worry about that. A piece of wood furniture that would really tie a biophilia inspired room together would be one of our Alabama Sawyer Lanett Credenza's (see image below.)
Basically, if you're interested in biophilic design, wood furniture is one of the easiest ways to incorporate it into the room. So go ahead, take a look at some of our other pieces as well - and consider this: all our wood comes from the urban forests of Alabama.
In case it wasn’t obvious, we love all different types of wood products here at Alabama Sawyer. Especially the ones that make you and your living space smell like a forest. Speaking of which, here are some of our favorite wood scented candles + soaps.
- This pine and lavender scented soap comes from the local Left Hand Soap Co. The 2 oz option is $2.75, the 8 oz option is $7.25, and the 2 lb option is $25.
- Bath & Body Works brings us a high intensity mahogany scented candle for $12.95
- This smokey Log Haus candle has a tobacco leaf base with “notes of charred birch and cedar” for $34
- For only $10, what’s not to love about this Lumberjack Sawdust Scented soap described on its own website as, “created to capture the essence of the lumberjack lifestyle and the scent of fresh cut wood.”
- These lovely Pine Tree of Light Candles bring together visual beauty and the appeasing smell of cedar + pine. The smaller option is $38 while the larger option is $72.
However, nothing can beat the smell of actual wood furniture, so be sure to check out our website for a variety of products made using timber sourced entirely from the urban forests of Alabama.
Featured image taken from Mountain Man Soap.com
We’ve had several customers ask what the difference is between our cutting board oil and our wood polish. In terms of price the board oil is $18 and the wood polish is $6. However, price isn’t the only difference between these two products.
Speaking broadly, there are different reasons for using oil or polish on your wooden furniture. Use oil on furniture that has an oil finish and polish on raw wood. That said, our board oil is really only suited for cutting boards, whereas our wood polish can be used for many types of wood furniture. Click to learn when it’s appropriate to use oil VS wood polish.
For those of you that don’t know, we recently received several large purchases from the kind folks over at Gulf State Park. If you’d like to know more about the shipment we're preparing or about Gulf State Park in general, read on!
Gulf State Park’s mission?
“To acquire and preserve natural areas; to develop, furnish, operate and maintain recreational facilities, and to extend the public’s knowledge of the state’s natural environment.”
Basically their mission is similar to the mission of most other state parks. Protect the environment and give people a nice place to hang out and connect with nature.
What does the shipment include?
As far as I can tell, the shipment includes a white oak hostess stand, several in progress tables, a hemlock miyake bench, and more:
White oak hostess stand
Hemlock Miyake Bench
Sputniks photo-bombing a stack of in progress live edge table tops
What will they use all of this for?
My sources tell me that Gulf State Park is going to use all of this as restaurant decor. Meaning at some point in the near future, if you visit Gulf State Park, you might get to see some Alabama Sawyer furniture. Pretty neat, huh?
Gulf State Park mission statement copied directly from their website.
Walnut Wood Monitor Riser
Let's face it, we use computers a lot. Some of us have to use them for our jobs. However, studies tell us that continuously looking down at a computer isn’t great for the spine - especially when the top of the screen should be closer to eye level. Consider giving this walnut Wood Monitor Riser from MaderacraftHandmade on Etsy:
ALASAW's Walnut Rounds
Our attractive rounds give you the opportunity to take home a piece of Alabama’s urban forest. Display your favorite piece of jewelry or your prettiest candle; they make excellent seasonal gifts!
Live Edge Walnut Bath Caddy
Do you know someone that likes to read or eat in the bath? Maybe you're friends with one of those careless individuals that's always dropping their phone in the bath. This live edge walnut bath caddy from Redhead Woods on Etsy is perfect for that person.
Noaway Countertop Compost Bin (in walnut)
Friends with a gardener that's really into composting? Give them one of our artful walnut Noaway Countertop Compost Bins. If you want to go above and beyond, do them the kindness of building a pallet compost pile in their backyard so they don’t have to. It's super easy, and if you're lucky, it's free.
Nixie Tube Clock
Know who’ll love this Nixie Tube Clock in walnut? A huge nerd, that’s who. Get this from Past Indicator on Etsy for the huge nerd in your life. If they're a hardcore nerd, then include supplemental reading on how the Nixie Tube operates.
This walnut Backgammon board from HelenaWoodArt on Etsy is great to play at family gatherings, so give this to someone you’re living with to liven up said family gathering. What I'm saying is that this is a holiday gift that could benefit the giver as well. See where I'm going with this?
Walnut Bed Trays
Our expertly crafted walnut bed trays are perfect for lazy Sunday mornings with a good book and warm tea. Give these trays to someone who appreciates those lazy Sunday mornings. Even better, give them this tray and bring them breakfast on it as part of the gift. They'll appreciate the gesture.
Holy alliteration Batman! Goofy title aside, I stand by the sentiment in the title itself. If you need gift ideas this Christmas, check out Goop’s website for advice. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Goop is an online lifestyle blog & retail shop. They’re featuring an Alabama Sawyer walnut wine rack that can be found only on their website.
Screenshot taken from Goop’s website
Alternatively, they will be selling these walnut wine racks at any of their 3 pop up shops in Dallas, San Francisco, and Manhasset. Read on if you'd like to know the locations + hours of the three pop up shops- and see some gorgeous photos of the shops courtesy of Stephen Karlisch and Adrian Gaut.
What are you doing still reading this blog? Go to their website and read stuff. Or you could buy our walnut wine rack to satisfy even the pickiest of in laws this holiday season. But remember, it's a Goop exclusive. It won't be available forever.
STORE LOCATIONS + HOURS
The Americana Manhasset, 2100 A Northern Blvd. | Manhasset, NY 11030 | 516.570.0744 | Monday-Wednesday 10am-6pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm⠀
70 Highland Park Village | Dallas, TX 75205 | 972.803.1660 | Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm⠀
2241 Fillmore Street | San Francisco, CA 94115 | 415.872.9517 | Monday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 11am-6pm⠀
Dallas photos courtesy of Stephen Karlisch: @stephen_karlisch_photo on Instagram
San Francisco & Manhasset photos courtesy of Adrian Gaut: @a_gaut on Instagram
Oiling your wooden cutting board can greatly extend its life. You’ll want to oil it every time it dries out, and the frequency that your board dries out will change depending on how often you use it. In terms of effort this takes the same amount as shoe tying, so get ready:
- First thing you’ll need is an appropriate oil (click to see Alabama Sawyer's Cutting Board Oil.) Many people use mineral oil because it’s relatively cheap and easy to find at kitchen hardware stores.
- Evenly apply the oil by rubbing it into the board using a small piece of paper towel or a soft cloth.
- Let the oil soak in at least a few hours.
- Then use a dry paper towel to wipe away any excess oil. It shouldn’t feel sticky at all once you’ve finished.
And that’s basically it. If you haven’t already, take a look at some of our own cutting boards.