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A behind the scenes look at Tiny Empire

Canadian Maple Wood Rings

Canadian Maple Wood Rings

From the very beginning, I knew that we were going to make Canadian wood products for our shop. Making them in Canada was important to me. I believe in the power of our dollar as a voting tool and by purchasing and supporting from Canadian suppliers and small business, we are putting funds back into our economy and just as importantly – the more we make here, the smaller our footprint is. I’ve researched the costs to transporting goods overseas and through boat or air, it does harm.

That’s why I focus on buying as many as my materials as I can domestically. I'm not perfect, by any stretch, but I try so hard to do the right thing and research, research, research!

Making our own wood products also comes from an innate passion of mine. I have a love for trees and nature. When I was 18/19, I spent my summers being a super hippy in Northern Ontario planting trees everyday while camping in the bush. My idea of a good time is walking through a forest. My great uncle is a woodworker, my brother makes wooden sunglasses and my partner is a carpenter. My mom says I got this tree obsession from my Grandpa – he could tell you the name of any tree he saw. So it comes naturally.

A dream of mine was to make a product that was super functional, made to last and would also have a truly Canadian component. The wood rings were a year long affair, as you might be able to tell from the picture, and that’s probably 1/10th of the tries I took before I got to the finished piece. There were some tears, lots of 1am nights and many failures as I taught myself how to use a CNC machine and the design program behind it.

The Process

Why Hard Maple? It’s safe.

It’s non splintering, and very hard – it rates as a 1450 on the Janka scale, which means it requires the force of 1450 lbs to embed an 11.28 millimetre in diameter steel ball halfway into a sample piece of wood.  

It’s also safe because it inhibits bacterial growth. Maple wood uses capillary action to absorb bugs from the surface pores. Once bacteria is trapped inside the wood’s cells it suffocates, cut-off from the oxygen it needs to survive.

The Process

So here we are - our maple wood rings are made in our woodshop in Ontario, Canada. Each ring is designed, cut, sanded and finished by us. They are buttery smooth and each one is so pretty. We source our Maple wood from a small mill in Ontario – it is beautiful, premium Maple. Oftentimes, I can even tell you how old maple is that we are using, for example, our last batch of rings were made from 50 year old hard maple. We’re deliberately not purchasing Maple from big box stores because the intent and message that comes with this rattle is that your purchase is touching the lives of small businesses who are passionately making products from their heart. While profit is important, it’s not at the heart of why we are doing this.

I want you to have a rattle that becomes a keepsake, that you know was made kindly and with intention and that lasts. Shop our maple wood ring rattles here. 

Thanks for reading, I'll leave you with my favourite quote about trees by Hermann Hesse. 

"For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree".

 

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