Editor: Your recent magazine cover (FDMC January 2017) showing two elephant tusks is incredibly irresponsible and only highlights how ignorant you and your staff are. Elephant populations are being wiped out and to display these tusks that only promote and further the desire to own ivory is so careless of you. I would expect better judgment as you must be educated and aware of this problem. Even if they are fake it is equally irresponsible. Do you not have any regard for these creatures?

I hope you exercise better judgment going forward.

Thanks.

Chris Seward
Altadena, California

Editor replies: Mr. Seward is not in the woodworking industry and happened upon a copy of the magazine at a stone and tile shop in Upland, California. He first phoned me, and I encouraged him to send a letter for publication since he felt so strongly about the issue. In the article that featured the small tusk cabinet handles made by Mark Meyer in Corvallis, Oregon, it clearly stated that the handles were made of artificial ivory and wenge. As a woodworker, Meyer is very environmentally sensitive, emphasizing locally sourced domestic hardwoods and reclaimed wood in many of his pieces. The size of these handles could never be mistaken for actual elephant tusks, but we are interested in what our readers think. Are Mr. Seward’s points valid? Is the mere suggestion of using ivory irresponsible? What about classic ivory uses such as in scrimshaw, piano keys and stringed instrument nuts and bridges? Is using an imitation substitute adequate? Email me at will.sampson@woodworkingnetwork.com with your responses.