While designing the furniture collection was a fun project, Ms. Husby plans to refocus on architectural products that can be made out of the tough, durable and beautiful Panama wood. “I don’t know a damn thing about furniture, but I know the wood and I know the top furniture manufacturing places in Canada, and they’re here in Vancouver, so I plug in my wood and my sketches to them and they do what they’re good at.”
Ms. Husby designed the simple, rustic pieces, and hired furniture shops to collaborate and execute the creation.
John Schmidt, owner of Hycraft Design, a Delta, B.C.-based custom woodworking company, has more than 53 years of experience in the industry, and it just began working with Coast EcoTimber last year. Hycraft is one of the companies that Ms. Husby brought in to execute a few table designs for the furniture collection.
“I’m not a big one on salvaging, until now,” Mr. Schmidt admits. “It’s dense, very hard, especially the IPE, and then there’s another wood that I just love – the Zapatero – its gorgeous. I’m just waiting to get my hands on some, and I want to make a big piece of modern furniture with it, like a big wall unit.”
And while it isn’t the easiest material to work with, Mr. Schmidt said its density makes it ideal for exterior applications, such as siding and decking, which need to withstand the elements.
He says he has been seeing a growing appetite for reclaimed lumber and salvaged materials, and already has clients who are interested in having pieces made from the Panamian wood. “I think its excellent and I’m just hoping we can get our hands on some of this stuff pretty quick, and see what we can do with it.”
So far, Coast EcoTimber employs seven people at its head office in Vancouver, and another 40 people work at the Panamanian logging company.
“We are so excited to be able to show Panamanians B.C. forestry skills and help them develop a real lumber industry in Panama,” Ms. Husby says. “We have plans for expansion and we hope to employ 400 people with a dry land sort, kilns, sawmill and architectural wood product manufacturing facility.”
Special to The Globe and Mail