My name is Janet Levis and this web site is intended to help promote my furniture making.
After years at home raising four children I wanted to enter the workforce. Despite having a B.Sc. in biochemistry, and a college diploma in respiratory therapy, I found few options that were of interest. Add the fact that I needed time off in the event that any of my kids were sick or had a snow day made my services of little interest to prospective employers. Given this I decided to look at turning one of my hobbies into a business. I had always been interested in woodworking so I threw myself at it with everything I had. I found an online site that taught almost every facet of woodworking (The Woodwhisperer on Youtube) – I went through every video multiple times! I then began taking woodworking classes at Algonquin College, and bought tools every chance I had. Eventually I started selling cedar furniture out of my garage, and now, a few years later I have 2 bays at a commercial complex here in Stittsville, Ontario.
I make handcrafted outdoor furniture, mostly out of cedar, but I also use oak. My oak furniture can be used both indoors and outdoors. I focus on only a few different pieces and am constantly looking at ways to achieve efficiency – this allows me to sell high-quality pieces at very competitive pieces.
I am a committed environmentalist and I want to do my part – and many of my customers want to as well! I have explored certain associations that provide certifications for producers that practice sound forestry management practices. While I laud their efforts, it is my opinion that they may create too much an administrative burden for very small suppliers. Additionally some of these organizations attempt to force all parties in the supply chain (from woodlot owner, to harvester, to sawmill operator, etc…) to each invest thousands of dollars in certification. I have no control over anybody in the supply chain but myself, and have no interest in pressuring people into adopting my views. The following represents my own commitment to the environment:
1 – All of my furniture is made using “Green Power”
I do not have a windmill or solar panels on the roof of my shop, and I don’t have a generator on my husband’s rowing machine powering my tools! Instead I have a contract with Bullfrog Power – they inject a kilowatt of green power into the grid for every kilowatt of power that my shop uses. You can learn more about Bullfrog Power by visiting their website at www.bullfrogpower.ca.
2 – Scrap Management
I make every effort that I possibly can to never put wood scraps into our garbage dumpster. I try to put larger pieces of scrap aside for other woodworkers who can make use of them. I save shavings for farmers who need bedding for chickens and other small animals. The balance is given to friends who heat with wood – they use my scraps instead of buying kindling.
3 – Seedling Program
One mature tree can easily yield enough wood to make up to twenty chairs or benches. I have no way of knowing the exact number of trees that my furniture costs the environment in a single year but it is safe to say that it is much less than a one to one relationship. I have approached the woodlot owners who supply my wood and have negotiated a deal. They have agreed to allow me to go on their property and plant a seedling for every chair, bench, table, or planter box that I sell.
Thank you for visiting my site. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.