Our love for cedar stemmed from Mike's early days on and around boats. Cedars have been used for decades in boat yards around North America, and even longer in Native American canoes. An excellent wood choice for water craft, cedars are workable and light softwoods with good strength-to-weight ratios. What makes it good for boats, makes it good for boards.
Here in the state of Maine, we have Thuja occidentalis, commonly known as Northern White Cedar.
Our first load of white cedar came from Pat Lovely who then owned Portage Mills. To this day, just about all of our cedar needs have been filled by that same family operation. Today the mill (now called The Maine Cedar Store) is owned by J. Rocheleau and his family who carries on the same traditions and values that Pat started out with... sustainability, community, and taking care of customers.
While the primary use for Grain’s shavings and splinters is as animal bedding or garden mulch, any wood that harbors even a hint of utility is saved in dusty corners of the shop to await its full potential. Then one day, inspiration arrives - and suddenly it seems obvious that edgings from straightening rough planks can be used to make bead and cove strips; that all short blocking and leftover stringer stock should be made into handplanes; that longer offcuts and leftover surfboard planks should be made into Sea Sleds. Even our short and thin plank cutoffs can be used for internal blocking, surfboard fins or our handmade gift certificates.
We’re so dedicated to the practice of doing more with less that we limit production of these products to the times of year that we have the most scrap piles built up, typically in the fall and winter months after a busy summer season of classes, kits and custom boards. We continue to think of ways to “close the loop” on our own waste stream, and even how to fold into our operation more recycled material and waste-stream elements from other industries like our handplane straps which were designed around the availability and functionailty of recycled bike inner tubes and wetsuits.