published Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Woodworker builds eco views into furniture


by Tamara Best
Audio clip

Matt Sears

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    Staff photo by Danielle Moore/Chattanooga Times Free Press In addition to tabletops and canoes, commercial and home furniture can be found at Haskel Sears Design studio on Rossville Avenue in Chattanooga. Owner Matt Sears has been designing sustainable furniture and art using recycled wood products for more than a decade.

* What: Sustainable furniture design

* Company: Haskel Sears Design

* How is it green? Furniture pieces are built from reclaimed lumber and environmentally sensitive adhesives and finishes. All of the scrap pieces are reconfigured into slabs that are then used to construct countertops, chairs, residential and commercial cabinetry.

* When? Since 2005 owner Matt Sears has created environmentally sustainable furniture design. Locally, his work can be seen at Greenlife Grocery.

* Location: Mr. Sears' shop is located at the newly remodeled gallery and showroom on Rossville Avenue.

* Why do it this way? "I've been a woodworker all my life and I really see a lot of waste in my industry," Mr. Sears said, adding that he wanted to eliminate waste and exposing his workers to chemicals often used.

*Plans for expanding in the future: With the newly remodeled gallery, Mr. Sears plans to use the space to showcase the furniture and art, displaying works by a new artist's each month. "It's just a forum for people to come and see what we do, touch the furniture and go through the process with us," he said.

* Any suggestions for others considering green initiatives? Buy domestic plywood which is heavily regulated, with the forests used to produce them often privately owned with sustainable practices in place.

* Is this an essential part of the business and why? "It's my mindset that we can be a wood shop and produce competitive furniture and cabinetry without having to use chemicals and without being so wasteful."

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