What is earlywood?
Do you remember the last time you looked at a cross section of a tree and counted the growth rings? What you were really doing is counting how many times the earlywood/latewood cycle has taken place. Each year, every tree adds a ring of earlywood cells and a ring of latewood cells. These rings tell the age of the tree and a lot more. The thickness of the rings tells how favorable growing conditions were that year. You can count your way back through the rings of a tree and pick out the nicest summers and the harshest winters. You can also count the rings across the end of an Earlywood spoon and see how long it took to grow that spoon.
Earlywood develops in the spring when rain and nutrients from the soil are abundant and days are getting long. New growth makes up the better part of the ring, and in many woods, it is lighter in color than latewood, which develops towards the end of summer before the tree goes dormant (in harsh climates). Of course, growth rings can vary drastically in appearance between a tree that was grown in Canada and a tree that grew in Brazil.
Earlywood is porous, and made up of thin walled cells, compared to latewood, which is influenced by colder temperatures and drier conditions. As a result, latewood is made of densely-layered, strong, thick-walled cells. Both earlywood and latewood serve a purpose for the tree. It’s the latewood that gives wood the majority of its strength, and the earlywood keeps the tree growing by delivering water and nutrients.
What is Earlywood?
In that spirit of renewal and growth of spring that gives earlywood the chance to grow, we have created the Earlywood kitchen utensil product line. We've taken the common form – a simple spoon – to an uncommon level of quality in function and beauty. Spoons have been around for thousands of years, but that doesn’t mean anything other than that they have been around for thousands of years. I use my background in design/mechanical engineering to analyze every single aspect of the spoon and its purpose. No detail is too small to change if it makes the utensil better. I often start with a specific task in mind and design a utensil that fulfills the need. It is an iterative process and I commonly reference this Buckminster Fuller quote for inspiration and a reality check.
“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”
This is why all Earlywood utensils are both utilitarian and beautiful. So that is Earlywood from a design and product standpoint, but Earlywood means a lot more for us. Earlywood is also a way of life. It’s a way to feel good about using a sustainable resource to create beautiful objects that can be passed on through generations. It’s an excuse to spend time in the shop working with our hands. It’s a way to stay creative. It’s a small business and is a way to connect with and give back to our local community. Earlywood is first in quality, and we will maintain that as long as we are able to wake up and make it to the shop. Also, we’re planning a couple holiday giveaways and money-saving promotions for friends of Earlywood in the next few weeks. Like us on Facebook so you don’t miss out.