Introducing Urban Wood into Your Woodworking with Carver Young
As a third-generation woodworker, Carver Young’s quality craftsmanship reaches all areas. From cabinetry to furniture to home decor, into the kitchen with beautiful personalized cutting boards and even to the high-seas with intricate boats. All of his work is made custom for each client
He now has added the benefit of offering urban wood to pull on the heartstrings of his clients who appreciate the sustainability and character of urban wood.
We’re going to learn more about his process, how he is incorporating Urban Wood, and the dreams that he is bringing to life. As he says, any idea or dream you have can be created. Nothing is too crazy or minimal. If you can dream it, he can build it!
Carver and I met a couple years back, when we used to have a wood yard in Irvine. He came by with his family to pick up some firewood. I asked him if he himself was a carver based on his name, and he said he was a carpenter through and through: “I bleed sawdust.” That’s how we became friends: through our love of wood and power tools.
He grew up in his dad’s workshop, he was a home builder by trade, and a guitar builder as a hobby. Everything was built in the house and he remodeled their house into a two-story when Carver was growing up, so Carver’s dad is definitely to blame for all this. (I also get to place the blame on my dad.)
Carver loves his hand tools, and he is becoming a connoisseur of too many. His and his girlfriend’s work benches are both made of ash, from urban wood. His girlfriend’s bench was 2 ¾ inches thick by 8 feet long, solid ash. The handles of the drawers are made with North Indian rosewood. *FUN FACT-Rosewood grows commonly in California, Arizona, and Nevada.
Carver has some real unique and incredible pieces, we are going to highlight a few of them and explain a bit about how he got to the finished product.
The above is a canoe that is made of 19-feet cedar with no knots. This canoe project began when he went to the Ontario Yard with Jason and me. He started the project in September of last year, so he’s been working on it for over a year, wanting to enter it into the County Fair, which he will do once the Fair returns in person. It is 100% urban. No wood was purchased from any mill or anywhere other than Street Tree Revival.
Carver ran into some length issues. He calls them beauty marks. Each wood has their own unique piece. While you can force a piece of wood to look like something with a chainsaw, that’s more difficult to do with fine detail work. So Carver needed to do a pattern instead.
The planking material is redwood, but there is also incense cedar, calocedrus decurrens, which is what they make pencils out of. Carver started with two or three 6x6s for the planking material, which ended up being enough wood to make two canoes instead of just the one.
The triangle pieces that make up the bow and stern of this canoe are called the decks. He used cotesan sycamore on the inside, and there is shamel ash on the outside. For the cotasan, he book matched it, ripped the boards, and cut them down the middle. His seats are also made out of the cotasan.
To seal the wood he applies three coats of sealer and six coats of varnish. There is a 24-hour wait period in between each coat of varnish because Carver likes to sand it on, which takes more time but will provide a thicker coat. Once he’s done with eleven more coats of varnishing (five on the inside, six on the outside), then he’s good to go on this project!
Carver made this ^ great fireplace mantel out of sycamore, which is native to California. It has burrells on the outside, which makes for some neat bird’s eye figure. This one is spalted, too. The end grain is out of control.
One thing that is great about sycamore is that when it’s dry, it is pretty light. Which is great for a mantel. *FUN FACT When it’s wet and full of water, it’s about 200% the weight. Bonkers. If you do a full kiln char of sycamore, maybe 500 gallons of water will come out.
Italian stone pine mantel
Carver also made the above mantel for his sister out of Italian stone pine.
This is a harder wood for us to cut successfully, I myself have broken a lot of blades. So here is a secret trick, we use a mixture of dish soap, pine salt, and a bit of Dr. Bronner’s for the eucalyptus scent to lube it up in order to cut it properly.
We had to resaw this piece to a specific size, a lot of sweating happened during this process!
*FUN FACT Pine has a lot of sap in it typically, but this piece had no sap.
Red gum eucalyptus wall
Carver made the wall above out of red gum eucalyptus, carving a Chevron pattern.
Eucalyptus is infamous for cracking and twisting. It was difficult to create this pattern and work with it, but it burned well. He used the shou sugi ban style to change the color of the wood to black. Eucalyptus is definitely not for those who are afraid. When they burned it, it moved even more. But it’s obviously so beautiful. That wall, seeing all the grain up close, is awesome.
The bed in the second photo is actually mine and my wife’s bed that Carver and our friend Jason helped me build. They have also helped me mount the massive headboard a couple different times too!
Being a lover of bringing the outdoors in, Carver of course has many wood pieces in his own home. In his bedroom alone he has at least five or six species of wood. Maybe seven. They’re not all Carver’s pieces though. He built his bed from poplar. His dresser is his dad’s old dresser. He has a table that belonged to his mother, and a few of his dresser drawers are made of another type of wood.
- Carver loves the Stanley #3 Plane and Lie-Nielsen.
- Emmet’s Good Stuff Wood finish.
- An Alaskan sawmill is an attachment you put on your chain saw so you can mill dimensional lumber. The attachment slides across, and the chain saw can cut through it. That’s how he made a bunch of carob cookies. They’ve also run it in front yards before, which is a great way to break down a log when you don’t have access to bigger tools.
- But we have a man saw, so we don’t run an Alaskan that frequently anymore.
The STR Effect
His relationship with trees has certainly changed since becoming involved with Street Tree Revival. He says he looks at trees differently, always wondering what type of wood they are. He knows a few, but he is still learning all the species. When he needs to know something, he turns to me. If this post inspired you into introducing urban wood into your woodworking and want some really motivation check out THIS post!