The Atlantic region certainly is home to sprawling forests and woodlands. Even in our urban areas we work very hard to preserve our natural forestation - not only for its aesthetic appeal, but also the health of the city itself.
With the beautiful scenery of the changing leaves, the fall is great time to really appreciate all the different types of trees in Nova Scotia. From birch to pine, we have many types of hard and soft woods. Made from various types of wood found across the province, the Fall Nova Box contains a beautiful wooden cutting board by Breakers Woodworking.
Daryl Wasson, owner of Breakers Woodworking, is passionate about working with wood and it's many different natural colors and grains. Based in Dartmouth Nova Scotia, Daryl has been working passionately on his business since 2002. Apart from milling his own wood from the Maritimes, he collects discarded end pieces from a factory in Nova Scotia that would have otherwise been burned or thrown into the landfill.
Daryl rescues these remnant pieces to recycle them into works of art that can be used every day. From coasters to large cutting boards, Daryl designs and handcrafts each piece, taking into careful consideration his customer's needs.
I spoke with Daryl to learn more about his passion for turning discarded trees into beautiful yet practical wood products.
How/why did you start your business? I started my business after hurricane Juan 2003. I milled all the trees that had fallen in my neighborhood; then I had people asking about getting something made from the trees in their own yards. This soon took off and now has become a very busy operation.
Why is it important to you to repurpose materials? After seeing how many trees were destroyed from the hurricane and then were just composted, I thought it was such a waste of resources. These trees could have been put to good use. So then I started looking for other places where wood was being left to be destroyed or composted. I collected all the wood that I could get, then milled them and let dry for a year. All the saw dust from the milling is used in gardens from Bridgewater to Amherst here in Nova Scotia. There is very little waste left over as even very small pieces are used to make smaller items like fridge magnets. I think this is just good practice for any wood worker.
What is your biggest challenge and (how) can we/Nova Scotia help? My biggest challenge now is finding a good supply of discarded wood that is still usable for my products. Some years you can have too much supply (and limited storage space!) then the next year no wood at all. I have to balance demand/production as best I can with the current available inventory.
When speaking with Daryl, it is very evident that he loves what he does. I truly admire businesses that are able to take resources that would otherwise go to waste, and turn them into beautiful and useful products. He is also very open to sharing his experience with other small business owners; especially those that are balancing production with attending craft shows and building wholesale partnerships. In addition to being featured in the Fall Nova Box, Daryl’s products can be found in stores across Canada.