To make our wares, we gather materials from flea markets and old shoppes, abandoned houses and torn-down buildings, construction sites, yard sales, and dirty basements. Most of what we use—leather from baseball gloves and drawing-room chairs, and WWII gun slings, pages from outdated medical texts and antique seed catalogs, misplaced photographs of people long dead, fabric from bedding, aprons, window covering—is more than a century old. Every item bears marks of a not-fully-known and not-quite-finished past.
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We use wood from old-growth trees, which lived for many, many years packed in dense North American forests surrounded by other trees—the denser the forest, the slower the growth, the tighter the grain. The trees were cut down sometime in the early to mid 1800s and turned into homes - homes that, in many cases existed during the Civil War, The Industrial Revolution, The Jazz Age, WWI, The Carolina Tarheels recording Peg and Awl, The Depression Era, WWII, The Space age and were probably beginning to feel heavy from neglect by the time Leonard Cohen began writing Favourite Game. After decades of dereliction, the piles that were once homes to many, and now eyesores to most are treasures to us. We scoop up the forlorn bits and once again offer them a new life. The wood, newly cut, with each ring tightly stacked upon the next, betrays its more recent past life, now riddled with ebonized nail holes or burrowed trails to carpenter bees and other insects' long abandoned homes. From time to time, we find scrap wood at a local ébéniste or pluck it from a storm-broken tree.
The bits of leather we wrap around our handmade journals are gathered willy-nilly from farms and flea markets and the shoppes of cobblers, cordwainers and upholsterers across the world. Much of the leather has not grazed in a pasture for many decades and some, over a century. Leather straps and handles on our bags are obsolete, military-issue gun slings. Some of which have travelled from country to country in the hands of Americans. And of those well-travelled, many have been oiled and cared for over the years, few have names engraved or drawn within and upon them. Others yet, are dead stock, squirreled away for some war that they didn’t make.
Our decoupage comes from antique books found wherever treasures are found. We pour through pages and pages piecing together collections that we drool over. We then coordinate each image with the shapes of our blocks and re-print on Epson paper, adhere with PH Neutral bookbinding adhesive and finish with a protective layer of acrylic sealant.
Our antique fabric comes from 19th-century-ladies’ house dresses, curtains, unfinished quilts, mattress ticking, scraps and feed sacks and grain sacks, found wherever they can be found. Our waxed canvas comes from a local 6th generation company whose roots go back to Philadelphia in the 1800s. Our collection consists of 6 selected colors that are hand dyed and waxed.
Our tree swings come with Manila rope for hanging. Manila rope is a natural fiber and will self-abrade internally and shrink (10% to 15%) when wet. You will see the swing rise after a rain, and drop again with use. Peg and Awl is not responsible for the deterioration of the manila rope. Replacement manila rope can be purchased from any local hardware store. Pro-Manila Synthetic rope can be purchased as an upgrade through us. The pro-manilla rope looks and feels like rope, with a brighter, whiter colour. It does not rot or shrink.
Our finishes are natural and carefully selected for both our health as well the beautiful finish they create. Tung oil is an all-natural drying oil made by pressing the seeds of Chinese Tung trees. The nectar of these seeds coats our wood products in organic armor. We paint our objects with Real Milk Paint, an organic, milk-based paint that contains no lead, no mercury, and no VOCs. So safe that we allow Søren and Silas to participate in the painting. We ebonize (or iron-stain) our ebonizable wood (not all woods react to this natural process) with iron oxide which responds to the natural tannins in the wood to create a beautiful black finish. This results in a black that goes deeper then the surface of the wood (as does a stain), creating a durable, natural finish that enhances the patterns within the wood.
All of our metals are recycled and come from objects that had an entirely different history from coins to spoons to long disconnected ancestor’s relics like candelabras or jewellery. We use only sterling silver and 14K gold. Our bronze is an alloy that we have matched closely to the colour of gold.