Green way of life

Aspen Rustic Inc. works hard to preserve and protect the world around us!

Aspen Rustic Inc. lives by a commitment to improve the world around us. Our local community here in Crested Butte Colorado is truly on the “Edge of Paradise”.  This local saying stands for everything we enjoy outdoors, everything we belong to as a community, and everything we will leave to our children. This kind of promise is just a load of B.S. unless it is backed up by good solid hard work and a devotion from all the people involved.  I am proud to say we are giving it our all!

We are not perfect!  We learn from others who have integrity, wisdom, and an innovative approach to responsible living.  Please let us know of anything we might consider doing to improve as a company committed to the green way of thinking.  We have also added several helpful links to our “Resources” page so that others can share in the future successes of environmental sustainability.

Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.

Our first years working with Wind Power

From day one we made the commitment as a company to live by a code of ethics that reduces our ecological impact and promotes a healthier environment around us.  Within the first years (1998) of opening his own woodworking shop, owner Kirk Modglin opted to run all machinery, lighting, and other electrical appliances on 100% wind power.  Holy Cross Energy, our local utility cooperative in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen, had a small availability of Solar and Wind generated electricity and offered it at a premium charge to those who wanted to contribute to this worthy cause. 

Since our move to our new Austin, TX location in 2010, our current electrical company is not offering this option as of yet, though we continue to push for this and other renewable energy programs in the future. See Solar Below…

Future Solar Energy Plan

When planning our “dream shop” here is Austin, Kirk extensively researched proper roof pitch/orientation and built the electrical infrastructure for future solar panels to best capture sun rays during a time of day that most effectively offsets the highest power use so that the shop can be comfortable year round. We also planted native trees that help shade the barn from the sun while offerering the best chances of a cool breeze blowing through on those hot summer days.

Limited use of airborne finishes

Many new technologies have been developed in the last few years that improve the environmental compliance of industrial strength finishes. A move from solvent based lacquers (which we almost never used anyway) to a water based commercial quality alternative has been achieved .  The use of harmful airborne finishes has also been eliminated as we NATURALLY prefer traditional, durable, and very reliable natural oils or waxes to provide a lifetime of beauty.  Since we build each piece of furniture, one at a time, we are not in a hurry so can go without using other types of “efficient” yet harmful factory applied finishes. 

Recycled Wood and Dust

When leftover materials such as wood scraps and saw dust are generated from normal woodworking processes, we recycle this material in one of several ways.  Sawdust is used as an absorbent, even as bedding for pups at our local animal shelter and chicks at a local farm. Almost all the wood gets donated to local families to burn for heat in the winter (our Colorado location).  Since we use almost entirely solid wood that was sustainably harvested in the first place, our use of man-made materials is very limited.  (See harvesting practices detailed below)

Reclaimed lumber: 

Our reclaimed lumber is sourced from old structures such as barns that are in disrepair, obsolete and unsafe warehouses from the industrial age, and old, dismantled bridge trestles and the like.  Company founder, Kirk Modglin, was born and raised in the upper Midwest near Chicago and has always had an appreciation for old barns and other quintessential American structures.  Barn timbers and barn wood is only taken from structures that have fallen due to mother nature, are unsafe for use, or in the unfortunate circumstance of years of neglect.

This reclaimed lumber is essentially being recycled (“upcycled”) since it has already served a prior purpose.  That is truly 100% post consumer content.  Many of the old timbers are sawn or hewn of old growth trees and this alone is worth saving.  It may be our country’s last remaining source for old growth timber available for use in furniture and fine home finishes.

Logs and locally available lumber

Aspen Rustic Inc., and most other fine furniture builders choose only to use standing dead trees for their wood needs.  Because of its more reliable and consistent nature, standing dead timbers are counted on to provide years of lasting durability when used in furniture.  When trees, like the Lodgepole Pine we use, die of natural causes like a lightning strike, mineral imbalance, or simply old age, they can stay standing for years or even decades.  When the timbers stand tall in the open air, they dry out naturally.  They also move, twist, and shed their bark naturally. This unrestricted “seasoning” is responsible for the strength and lasting durability of the lumber used by Aspen Rustic in its rustic log pool tables.  Also, the air-dried, seasoned wood is beautiful to our eyes, yet far less attractive to bugs and insects because the fibers/ pulp has no nutritional value to offer the visitor.