Eclipse field trip: paradise and the greenest awards in the world
by Toby Barazzuol on Friday Aug 3, 2012
Last week we shut down the office for a day so that we could take our whole team to visit one of our favorite suppliers, Clegg Woodcrafts. I met the founder Steve Clegg several years ago after seeing a display of some of his impressive woodwork at an artisan fair. We found that we both shared an interest in sustainability and the natural beauty of wood, and since then we’ve gone on to design and develop some of the greenest awards in the world together.
Clegg Woodcrafts lies on a 20 acre piece of paradise in Chilliwack where the air is crisp and the deer still roam freely. Steve offered us a chance to get some first hand experience in terms of how the green awards are made - from salvaging fallen trees to milling the logs to shaping and finishing the wood, we tried it all! Not only was it a great opportunity for us to try some new activities and spend time outdoors as a group, but we also learned a lot about the skills required to make our beautiful green awards.
The first step in salvaging logs is to ensure that the trees have been freshly fallen. If a log has been sitting for more than 2 weeks, it starts to deteriorate and the bark can no longer be salvaged. To ensure a vibrant Living Edge on our green awards, newly fallen trees must be harvested quickly. Here's Jim, our art director, trying his hand at salvaging a newly fallen tree with the tractor.
After the tree has been secured, it’s time to mill it to size on the portable mill. This machine cuts fallen trees into panels and planks while still keeping the bark intact. Usually the tree goes to the mill, but this mill can also go to the tree if it’s too difficult to move. Here Sarah takes a turn cutting panels of wood from our salvaged log.
Next, the panels of wood are cut into “blanks” that will eventually become green awards. The blanks are slightly oversized to allow for finer cutting and finishing, however before then can be used, they need to dry. Coating the ends of each board with wax helps ensure that the wood dries at an even pace to avoid cracking, while also ensuring the living edge bark stays intact. Here you can also clearly see the heartwood of the tree.
The wood is then air dried in a climate controlled room for several months. Once it has stabilized in terms of moisture, it is then ready to be cut, shaped and finished.
Next we went to the workshop where Steve showed us the measurements involved in cutting and planing these pieces to size. It certainly takes skill and experience to ensure consistency, minimize waste and bring out the beautiful grain in each piece! Clegg’s workshop is a model of efficiency where every scrap piece of wood is eventually used in another project until it is too small to be used...then it goes into a furnace to heat the home and workshop. It’s an impressive zero-waste system that uses a renewable resource of wood - perfect for our green awards! Plus he has a Liger in his workshop that watches over everything...how cool is that?
The final stage involves 2 levels of sanding that give the wood an almost mirror-like smoothness before the pieces are finished with a natural food grade tung oil. After a final quality check, the pieces are then sent to Eclipse Awards where they become special, one of a kind symbols of recognition and appreciation.
After a great day on the farm and in the workshop, we all shared a meal of Chilliwack corn and salmon cooked on a cedar plank. It was a special day for everyone at Eclipse. As we learn more about the people and products we work with, we build stronger relationships and an ability to develop better ideas together. We feel confident about calling these the greenest awards in the world because we know exactly where everything comes from.
Stay tuned as our partnership evolves and brings even more beautiful and unique awards for our clients to recognize people with!