Giving an opportunity for pride

June 15, 2011

Today we finished working with a carpenter who built us two small pieces of furniture. I absolutely INSISTED that no chemicals should be used on this. In today’s age that is actually a vey difficult request. All of his other clients would be appalled at the ‘flaws’ of nature so by consumer demand alone he must work in a way that pleases them to the great detriment of our planet and future generations. I firmly requested a beeswax finish.
In the west I have asked for this also and so many manufacturers won’t take the ‘risk’ because the consumer will utilize that piece as if it were shellaqued and when it doesn’t act industrious returns complaints to the manufacturer. The problem is consumer education really. How lazy we have become too. A thing may last a century but if it requires a steady input of care like yearly repolishing, we feel too much burden. We have lost the time of day our elders had.
Luckily my carpenter didn’t consider such issues and went along with it. Unfortunately however, purity is getting hard to come by these days and he brought not only imitation beeswax but also petrochemical-polluted coconut oil which we had to spend a half day in search of the pure ones.
How simple it went: melt the wax with coconut oil over a fire and rub with a cotton cloth into the wood. This construction was done at our home so we were able to be a part of the whole process.
When was the last time you opened fresh cabinet doors and were intoxicated by an exquisite aroma? After one piece was finished and sitting in the open air, a bee came and landed on our piece. Nature’s approval for the choice.
Sure, it will mean that I have to be more mindful about letting liquids sit there and we’ll have to reapply the polish now and then. Everything was validated when the carpenter looked up at me today and asked ‘madam, tell me who’s idea was this to put this kind of finish on this?’ I told him mine. He was impressed and then he confessed to me how the chemicals are so expensive and how when he applies them they ruin his hands and he breathes the fumes. Are we not responsible for the health of our employees? His hands softened by the beeswax and smelled of a perfume his wife has never smelled before.

He looked at me with such pride the poor man has probably few opportunities to feel about his craftsmanship and said “THIS furniture will last a hundred years!”

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