"Functional Wooden Artwork Through Inspirational Design"
<<Return to Home Page
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 619.669.9074
Email is best as I am seldom in the house to answer the phone, but you can leave a message....
ABOUT F.BECK WOODWORKING PRODUCTS
Welcome and thank you for visiting my web site. I attribute my interest in woodworking to my father, a building contractor, with “old school” German skills and work ethics. At a very early age I learned wood working skills that I use today. Getting to use Dad’s home made wood lathe was always a special treat. Additionally, I believe that my love of art has had a lot to do with my Mother who was an avid painter, primarily with water-colors and never saw a craft she couldn’t master. In fact, up until her passing at age 94, she was still hand weaving Pine Needle Baskets and painting water color greeting cards.
After retiring from 30 years in the retail business, I moved to Pine Valley, AZ., a small valley about 10 miles East of Sedona, and built my own home. With prodding from family and friends, I began working with wood again, as a “hobby”, primarily as an appeasement to my 4 daughters, to discourage them from shipping me off to a “senior center”, because I was too “inactive”. Working with mostly local wood types, Mesquite & Manzanita, I have evolved my hobby into a full time business. After developing techniques for inlaying, I began using Turquoise in all of my work and now produce an array of kitchen cutting boards, kitchen utensils, wooden bowls and small tables, all hand crafted out of hardwoods and all enhanced with Turquoise Inlay work. In May of 2010 I purchased a fixer-upper with 2 acres in the rural community of Jamul, CA.(eastern San Diego County) and moved back to my "roots" and to be closer to family.
My primary choice of wood is Mesquite. The Mesquite Tree is native to many southwestern states and is found as far south as Argentina. Native Americans relied on the mesquite pod as a dietary staple from which they made tea, syrup and a ground meal called “Pinole.” They also used the bark for basketry, fabrics and medicine. The wood is very dense, almost twice as hard as oak and more than twice as hard as walnut, and is one of the most stable woods in the world. This quality gives it a superior ability to withstand denting, scratching, and normal wear. Because Mesquite is much more dense than other hardwoods, it also has a much higher resistance to shrinking and swelling. Due to these traits, Mesquite cutting boards used in commercial kitchen and washed repeatedly in dishwashers retain their integrity for a lifetime with no checking, splitting, or warping. The Mesquite I use is either from Sonora, Mexico, or Argentina. The most noticeable difference between the two is that Sonora Mesquite is usually fairly dark in color, where as the Argentine Mesquite will appear a little more reddish in color. I also do some work with American hardwoods such as; Maple, Cherry & Black Walnut. All very poplar woods for cutting boards and ones that show off the turquoise inlay very nicely.
The turquoise I use comes from the famous “Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Mine,” near Globe, AZ. Known for it’s even “turquoise blue" color, it is highly prized by silversmiths and artisans and is a favorite of the Zuni Pueblo silversmiths for use in making their fabulous “petite point” jewelry.
To inlay the turquoise, I hand carve out “spalted” areas of the wood, or create and carve my own designs, based on grain patterns. The turquoise used is totally “natural,” which means that it has not been “stabilized,” or treated in any way to artificially enhance the color. I buy it crushed, but crush it down more to obtain the proper size. The stone is then mixed with an epoxy and filled into the carved out areas. After several hours of set time, the next step it to sand down the epoxy/turquoise inlay.
The epoxy used was originally developed by the U.S. government, in the 1960’s and is totally food-safe. Besides setting in the turquoise, the epoxy also aids in protecting the turquoise so that it will stand up to the rigors of daily use. Once the board, or kitchen utensil, is finish sanded the final step is to “season,” or “seal” the wood. For this I use a product which is bees wax based and contains several other natural, organic, ingredients, all non-toxic and food-safe. A couple of hand rubbed coats of this product brings out the natural grain, color and beauty of the wood, enhances the color of the turquoise and aids in protecting & preserving the wood, giving you a wonderful piece of beautiful & functional art work, which will last a life time. PLEASE NOTE: Cutting on the inlay will neither damage the inlay nor your cutting blade.
As a kid growing up in Ramona, CA. (pop. 1100), most of my toys were handmade, by me. Nothing fancy. A sling shot made out of a tree branch and an old inner tube, or a six shooter whittled out of a piece of scrap lumber from Dad's shop. There was no thought about developing motor skills or powers of cognitive reasoning.No worries about how dangerous the toy might be, to myself and or others and no concerns about lead poisoning, carcinogenic agents, unfair labor practices or environmental hazards, just how much play time I could get out of it, before it broke and I had to make a new one. As we all know, times have changed. As a father of four daughters and several grand-kids now, how well aware I am of todays concerns about the care and upbringing of the young ones. With that in mind, I have started up my own business offering an assortment of wood toys and other handcrafted wood products, as an alternative source to the mass produced, imported products now flooding our market place. Wood products which I would hope will foster many happy times and memories for their owners.. Wooden toys will last much longer then plastic toys and if a wooden toy does break, it generally does not create sharp edges and you can usually fix it. No batteries Required! Wooden toys help your child to appreciate the natural world, the shades and grains of wood, the colors, and the varying weight of wooden toys in a variety of sizes and densities. A well built, quality toy shows a respect for your child and in turn teaches the child to respect his belongings. Beauty and durability are important lessons for early developing ideas.
All of my toys are made from American hardwoods. I use Poplar a lot because it is a medium density wood, making it easy to work with, yet has excellent strength and stability. I also use Maple,Walnut and Birch. Although these woods are more expensive then some of the more traditional soft woods and plywoods, I use them because of their durability and resistance to denting and splintering. All my toys are hand sanded, using several grits, All corners and edges are rounded. The only finish I use is an all natural, totally plant derived, non-toxic varnish. This product consists of; linseed oil, which is pressed from the seeds of the flax plant; beeswax, which is a by-product of honey production and natural varnish resin which is hardened tree sap. I prefer to use this product because it creates a harder finish and gives a very nice rich look and feel to the toy. For More Information on this Finishing Product, Please go to Our Safety Issues Link. In the event I find a need to color an item, I use a water-based, non-toxic paint.
I stand behind every product I make, 100%. Should a product ever break or become dangerous, in any way, please return it and I will either fix the problem or replace the product.