In Praise of Wood

Words by Form & Refine
Images by Bibi Berge

Our furniture designs come from a deep love of wood – our most favorite material. It is organic; it simply sprouts from the soil and supplies us with clean air during its growth. When harvested and manufactured responsibly, wooden furniture is low in CO₂ emission. It is a material that takes skill to master and is ever-changing. It is warm to the touch and has life and temperament. It expands or shrinks depending on its surroundings. And it only grows more beautiful as time passes.

Form & Refine greatly appreciate the materials we work with. That means we accept and applaud the natural and varied expressions of wood. Therefore, each piece of furniture will always have its very own distinctive traits depending on the grains, knots and colorations of the wood. Not only does this frame of mind support our vision of sustainability, it also honors the idiosyncrasies of the materials of nature.

These items are designed with Nordic design traditions. Our carefully selected European collaborators use solid wood from their respective countries. One of our main motivations is to produce our Form & Refine items in close proximity to the source of origin, thereby ensuring sustainability.

Furthermore, we have the unique privilege of collaborating closely with the Damsbo Forest, located on the Danish island Funen. The vast woodlands are allowed to naturally regenerate and each tree grows considerably longer than elsewhere. These conditions make the wood grains well-defined and the items made of wood from Damsbo are grown, designed and produced in Denmark.

– A product of Denmark

Damsbo Forest is a vast Danish forest located on the island of Funen where the sea meets the forest, and nature and flora merge. It covers partly mainland and partly beach shores towards Jutland – making it a premium location for a supreme woodland. The old forest which dates back at least 700 years spans an area of more than 200 hectares. 

Damsbo Forest has been and is still managed very carefully. By managing the forest sustainably – with a natural regeneration throughout the years – it is an utterly natural action to harvest some trees each year. Only then Form & Refine were allowed a certain number of cubic meters each year. Mass production can and will never happen. We can ensure a sustainable product of Denmark with a manufacturing proximity. We also request a safety that the trees grow under the best conditions and potential instead of overexploitation. That gives us a close relation to each tree that is harvested and upholds our true purpose and passion – the best and purest materials available in a sustainable manner. 

 

Material

Damsbo Forest has a very varied growth of both broad-leaved trees and coniferous trees. They are allowed to grow considerably longer than elsewhere, making the wood high in density and giving it not only well-defined grains but also a special glow. Trees need to grow around 25-30 years before they are able to produce a natural resistance towards bacterial growth and fungus. However, when a tree grows even longer, as all trees in Damsbo Forest do, they become even more resistant. 

The temperature and climate also play a part in how the tree will grow. The location of the forest on the island of Funen yields an exceptionally good condition for growth. The winters are usually mild but weather conditions change because it is located in the temperate zone at the meeting point of diverse air masses from the Atlantic, the Arctic and Eastern Europe.

Oak

Damsbo Danish oak is some of the finest oak available. The long growth and high-density quality makes it high in demand. With distinctly defined grains and an elegant color, Damsbo oak is durable, long-lasting and resistant to warping. Oak also holds a high volume of tannin making it robust enough for outdoor use for approximately 50-75 years.

 

Re-treatment of your Oak product in case of extra Wear & Tear

– Step 1: Clean the surface with a mild soapy water solution. Wipe the surface dry.

– Step 2: Sand the surface lightly with 220-280 grit sandpaper until an even surface is attained. Important note: Sand along the grains of the wood. Clean the surface with a wet cloth.

– Step 3: Layer 1: Apply a neutral furniture oil with a soft cloth – wait approximately 30 minutes. Layer 2: Apply yet another layer on top of the wet oil so the surface appears glossy for another 30 minutes.

– Step 4: Remove excess oil no later than 30 minutes after the application of the last layer (bringing the length of the oil treatment to a total of 60 minutes before wiping off).

– Step 5: Polish with a clean cloth until an even look is attained. The oil will not harden until after 12 hours. Do not cover any of the surface until the oil has hardened.

– Please note: Cloths with oil on them should be discarded in an airtight bag along with a little water. The cloths are combustible and highly flammable.

 

Ash

Ash wood for furniture production is almost completely extinct in Denmark. The past two decades, a widespread fungal infection has affected ash trees throughout Europe – usually with a fatal outcome for the trees. But each year Damsbo Forest harvests a small number of ash to keep the remaining trees robust and flourishing. And Form & Refine receive this wood. It is not only the fact that ash is scarce that makes it special. It is a relatively thick hardwood, yet very elastic in its structure. It has a strikingly bright glow with the wood grains shining beautifully through.  

 

Re-treatment of your Ash product in Case of extra Wear & Tear

– Step 1: Make a soapy water solution with the appropriate amount of soap flakes.

– Step 2: Sand the surface lightly with 220-280 grit sandpaper until an even surface is attained. Important note: Sand along the grains of the wood.

– Step 3: Wash the table evenly with the soapy water solution. Also wash the underside of the tabletop to prevent the wood from warping. Repeat Step 3 as many times as you like.

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