What does woodworking have in common with your iPod?
August 15, 2011 | 11:06 am CDT

Your first reaction might be “nothing,” and until a couple of days ago, I would have said the same thing. Then I found the Skull Candy Wooden Earbuds. These earbuds, which are suitable for an iPod or other listening device, feature tiny speakers inside a carved wood casing with laser-cut aluminum accents. And at $99.99 each, they fetch a hefty price for something so small.

This got me to thinking of what other woodworking projects that I’ve seen that I wouldn’t have thought of before. In the pages of CWB, we’ve reported on wooden sunglasses, wooden hats and the wooden supercar.

There’s such a breadth of products that are made partially or entirely out of wood. It really is a versatile material that can be used to make just about anything. It’s also an environmentally friendly product to use. While researching and writing this month’s State of the Industry article on green building, I was reminded of just how important a source material wood is. And it becomes apparent through our talks with industry executives that much of the general public doesn’t know that.

For instance, many people might not know that while a tree is growing it takes in and stores carbon out of the atmosphere, and that even after it is cut and processed and make into something else, the carbon remains locked away in the wood until the wood rots away. Some executives and experts in the woodworking industry would argue that wood is one of the only, or maybe the only, truly renewable building materials available.

So how does the woodworking industry begin to educate the general populous about the importance and usefulness of wood as a source material? Well, one way is through cool and innovative products like the Skull Candy ear buds. (I just brought the blog back full circle quite nicely there didn’t I?) With more products available for consumers to choose from, especially products that tie in with popular trends — although one can hardly say that the iPod is a trend anymore, it’s more of a cultural icon now — wood products manufacturers can begin a dialogue with a broader spectrum of consumers.

Or maybe I’m just reading too much into a pair of earbuds. What do you think?

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