The maple tree is usually more than 100 years old before it is felled and comes to us. The diameter is then more than a meter and we mostly know the place where the tree was placed. After drying the wood we make thousands of combs from it. The warm and soft feel, the ease of processing and the long grain are making this wood to the ideal comb wood. The color ranges from nearly white to an off-white cream color. In the middle of the tree the color can be brown or pink too. Piles for the basic construction of huts were made of maple wood. I really like this visual analogy to the tooth of a comb. Ax handles are made of maple tree too. The wood lies warm in the hand. Especially during chopping wood in winter you love it to have maple in your hands. beech and hornbeam feels more cold in the hand and it needs time to reach the body temperature. During the comb making with maple wood there is a special fragrance in the air. It smells like pancakes with maple sirup. According to legend, an Indian in Canada watched a squirrel bite a small hole in the bark of a maple tree. It drank the juice that came out of the bark. The Indian looked at the behavior of the squirrel, carved a hole in the bark, tried the escaping juice and told his brothers. This was the beginning of maple sirup production. The symbolism of maple stands for calm, a clear head and the balance between to poles.
We esteem the very fine-pored apple tree wood. Grain is straight with a very fine, uniform texture. With mechanical work it becomes very smooth. The high quality apple tree wood is rare and we don’t have it disposal for every kind of comb. For our combs we need apple trees with a minimum diameter of 50cm and without spiral growth. After getting the tree from local fruit farmers we store the tree for ca. 8-10 years. Apple tree wood tends to crack during drying. If not we work beautiful combs. Do you know the imagery of an apple tree? He represents love.
The checkers tree wood has a very high quality for our combs and is rare. The whitish-yellow to pink and brown colored wood is very fine-pored and medium hard. We are using solely undamped checkers tree wood, because the wood becomes softer with the damping. It’s relatively insensitive about humidity. During the work it smells pleasantly fruity and sour. The wood of the checkers tree we use today is more than 300 years old. We planted over 20 years ago checker trees on our property. Perhaps my grandchild’s or great-grandchild’s will do the decision of cutting one of these beautiful trees. Until then they will give a lot of joy and shade. In Germany we call the tree “the beautiful Else”. “The beautiful Else” has a proud appearance with a high attraction. Tree and wood have the charisma of inner peace, serenity and concentration to the inner strength.
“No wood is grounding me with his smell like the fresh fragrance of hornbeam”. The wood of hornbeam is smelling during cutting and sanding like earth and humus. The smell evaporates quickly. The hornbeam is a part of the birch family. The color of the wood is most of time light gray, very fine-pored and hard. The wood of hornbeam trees is one of the hardest woods we have in Europe. Compared to checkers tree wood the hornbeam wood is less elastic. We modernized our hydro-power more than 10 years ago. The wooden parts – lying in the water – were made of hornbeam. Especially the teeth of the big horizontal placed wheel were made from hornbeam and only be changed every 50 years. Hornbeam wood was often used for wind- and watermills. This wood is very hard and tough and often used on places with high forces. Charcoal from hornbeam is getting so hot, that it melts iron.
The color is from light pinkish brown, over green to yellow and golden brown. No wood in our workshop has constantly different color. The smell is fruity and sweet. Cherry tree wood is hard, has a high density and is very fine-pored. With absorbing light and hair fat it’s getting darker. To the time of art nouveau and Biedermeier cherry wood was very popular for furniture.
Olive trees are evergreen and gives us by the fruits valuable olive oil. Respected by the old greek. Who doesn´t know the symbol of the dove with the olive branch in it´s beak for hope, growth and peace. The quality of the olive tree wood is very different and depending on the location. We are only using olive tree wood without spiral growth and root area. The strong grain is making every comb to a especially unique. The smell is unique too. It smells green. I don´t have another fitting description.
The easiest way to do so is to grab the hair from the side and pull them out all in one go. While you clean your brush with lukewarm water and a mild soap, you can also take a old toothbrush as aid. With that you can remove sebum and dust from the wooden pegs and natural rubber pillow. Please refrain from soaking the brush in water or from using a brush cleaner made from metal to avoid damaging the brush. To dry please put the brush down with the wooden pegs looking down.
The Ginkgo Biloba tree is also called the girl´s hair tree. He is the only survivor of the Ginkgoaceae family, which was native to many parts of the world (including Europe) about 160 million years ago. And he survived the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. 4 trees survived in the epicenter and blossomed againg the following spring – like a miracle. In East Asia, the ginkgo is a sacred tree that embodies the primal power of life (wll before World War II). The Ginkgo wood that I use in the workshop today comes from Weimar (Germany). It was Goeth who had many ginkgo trees planted there. It is an almost magical fragrance that spreads in the workshop when I work with ginkgo wood and for whatever reason, the various work steps quickly become meditative. The ginkgo wood is very fine-pored and long-fiber and is well suited für a comb. Since the wood is rather soft, I have had the best experience with our extra wide toothed combs.
It is the shrub-like growth that makes working with juniper wood a challenge. In many areas you can see the beginnings of the branches and therefore we work very carefully with this very rare wood. Juniper can be a tree and a shrub in one plant.
Juniper, as a cypress plant, belongs to the pine family and does not produce resin. But it exudes a long-lasting, very refreshing smell of its own.
In the literature (Das Holz des Wacholders – Eigenschaften und Verwendung von Dietger Grosser) it is described that juniper wood was the preferred wood for combs in earlier times. My guess is that it was very easy to work with the tools available at that time.
When I work with juniper wood and the unmistakable scent spreads in the workshop, I feel fresh, free and alive. The spirit becomes clear and the motivation increases.
Plum wood is a rarity. We do not search for it, because it finds us. Fruit growers or private persons who have to cut down a plum tree ask us if we are interested.
The drying process is delicate and lengthy. If it is successful we have a fantastic wood for our combs. Hard and fine pored with a unique color combination of pink, violet and brown. The grain often reminds of flame patterns. It is not surprising that plum wood is attributed to the elements fire and earth.
People who get involved with the tree and the wood feel that the wood strengthens self-confidence and reminds them of their own strengths.