Tag: wood

Hand-Crafted Recreational Vehicles

Tonke Campers are hand-built RVs that are now being sold in the Netherlands. The Campers are a distinct contrast to the mass-produced plastic RVs that are so common in this country (although the market for these RVs is actually plummeting). Tonke Campers are inspired by gypsy caravans, and the classic yachts created by Dutch boatbuilders in the 1920s. Read more

Optimal: European Toys

Non-Toxic Wooden Toys

This post has been updated and expanded here: Classic European Toys.

Toys that are well-designed and made with renewable materials are optimal. European toys often fit this description. This durable block set, for example, is made in Germany by Haba using solid, natural, untreated beech wood that is harvested from sustainable forests. Toys like this are known for their longevity — they can be enjoyed by multiple generations of children.Read more

Gorilla Glue: A Solvent-Free Glue

Gorilla Glue is a non-toxic, solvent-free polyurethane glue. Natural glues like white glues (e.g. Elmer’s glue) or mastic are optimal, but this glue is much less toxic than most. It works well on wood, but it’s not as specific as most wood adhesives. It bonds pretty well on metals, stone, ceramics, and many plastics. It is waterproof, meaning it doesn’t break down when wet, and doesn’t expand or contract with temperature.

You do have to clamp stuff in place for a while while it dries, which you should do with any glue. If you glue infrequently, it is nice that Gorilla Glue has a long shelf life — three years as opposed to one, as with many other polyurethane glues. It’s available from: Amazon ($13 for 8 0z), and most hardware stores. Review via Cool Tools.

Better Basics For The Home: Less Toxic Living

betterbasics.gifYou can make household and personal care products at home. The mixtures you create will be healthier and of a higher quality than those found in stores. Once you have the right ingredients, mixing them up is quite straightforward. The book, Better Basics for the Home, offers more than 800 simple alternatives to toxic household products, covering everything from skin care to gardening.

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Cellulose Tape: Biodegradable

Cellulose Tape is metaefficient because it is completely biodegradable. It is difficult to find, especially in the US. Almost all transparent tape sold here is made of acetate. One store, Green Earth Office does offer it.

Brands such as Sellotape are available in the UK. Sellotape is made from wood pulp that comes from suppliers with extensive reforestation programs.

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Efficient Wood Burning Stoves

Woodstoves can indeed be a metaefficient way to heat your home.

Modern woodstoves are an economical and environmentally sound choice for home heating. Wood has a much higher BTU capacity than gas, and wood is a renewable resource.

Older, conventional woodstoves emitted between 30 and 80 grams of particulate matter (smoke) per hour, while the new EPA-approved stoves have reduced emissions to between 3 to 6 grams per hour (a reduction of over 90%).

There are some woodstoves available that achieve a burn efficiency of 70-80%. Many of these efficient stoves can be found for sale at Fireplace Warehouse. This Washington-based company has a lot of information online about stove efficiency, because Washington state has stringent woodstove laws which exceed even the new EPA Phase 2 requirements.

Pellet stoves are automated stoves that burn pellets produced from waste sawdust. Pellet stoves burn about three times cleaner than the efficient woodstoves mentioned above. HearthNet has more information about pellet stoves. There is also a book available on wood pellet stoves — “Wood Pellets: As a Fuel, Stoves, Buyer’s Guide, User’s Handbook”

Cool Tools recently posted an article about “Extremely Tiny Woodstoves” — stoves that fit into small spaces in your home, and other portable woodstoves.

Metaefficient Wood Stains

Napier Environmental is a company in British Columbia that sells non-toxic wood stains that replace the hazardous products widely used to treat wood today.

An example of one of their products is Natural Desk Oil, a waterborne blend of natural oils designed to penetrate deep into wood, and protect it like the true oils found in wood.

You can buy their products from many retailers in the U.S.

Web Site: Napier Environmental

Non-Toxic Infant Toys and Teethers

Stellina Non-Toxic Toy by SelectaInfants absorb chemicals more easily than adults — their bodies run at a higher metabolic rate, and their skin is ten times thinner.

Infant toys and teether made of PVC plastic often leak phthalates (pronounced “thay-lates”) and other toxic substances (see more details in this report on 2003 PVC Report Card on Kid’s Toys Manufacturers).

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Lime Paint

This paint is made from natural ingredients and does not
contain acrylics or other plastics. The lime in it is slaked, meaning it
cures by reacting with oxygen in the air. Other ingredients include a type
of clay, marble dust, a natural glue and water.

This paint works on all wall surfaces, from wood to drywall to masonry.
It is intended for interior surfaces.

Lime paint allows homeowners and professional painters
to create these beautiful effects authentically. Painted on and left to
dry, lime paint has a lush, velvety look. Polished, the paint glows in
a way that’s unlike any other surface treatment. Walls appear to have texture,
but they feel smooth. People will want to touch them.

Price Per Gallon: $48

Brands: Olivetti

Purchase from: Environmental
Home Center