Exotic Doesn’t Mean Unsustainable


Exotic Needn’t Mean Unsustainable: In the, unfortunately, not too distant past there was a general sense that the laws around the illegal felling of protected species of trees were just a nuisance. A nuisance that any old clever-socks furniture maker could get around if they knew the right folk, paid up a bit and generally turned a blind eye to the consequences. A bit of Ebony here, some Cuban Mahogany there. Where’s the harm when you’re only using a little bit of the stuff…?

Moving on

But here in the UK, things have moved on amazingly in the last 10 to 15 years, and it is safe to say that the market for, and interest in, illegally logged timber has dwindled to virtually nothing. On the contrary, what we have experienced is a dramatic increase in awareness of the issues expressed clients, by wood yards, and by cabinetmakers themselves.

The upshot is that any cabinetmaker worth their salt can talk with confidence to a wood yard about some fantastically exotic woods from all over the world. Moreover, they can expect the yard owner to know with a high degree of certainty the provenance of the wood in question. The yards have gotten so good at this that a maker can sniff out a shark within the first few minutes of talking to one. And you can walk away knowing there is every chance the next yard will have all the information you need to make a safe and ethical purchase.

Now, I’m not saying the world is perfect. (Hah! No-one is these days!) I’m simply saying that we have a situation whereby just about everyone in the chain has their interests aligned, from the forest owner to the client. And that has to be good news.

If you’d like to know more about the regulations that go into this industry, these guys have a good summary analysis of who’s doing what and where.


Until next time,




David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

Looking for our woodworking courses?

Rowdenatelier.com is the new home of Rowden Atelier Fine Woodworking School.

It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.