David Stine is a true believer in quality. He knows that when something is made right, it will last a long time. It's the driving philosophy behind his work as a custom furniture maker – and his choice of tools.
"I'm not a fan of our 'throw-away' society. I don't want to buy a chainsaw at The Home Depot®, then throw it out in a season because it stops working and I can't replace anything."
A former attorney, David now crafts custom furniture from trees harvested on his family's land. He has customers all over the country, many who buy on the spot at trade shows, and others who request custom pieces, frequently saving for years to own some of his beautifully crafted furniture. He explains, "Everybody can respond to wood. It's just a moving, living, beautiful thing."
For five generations, his family has worked the 1,000-acre property, half devoted to crops, the other to timber woodland. The area produces a remarkable mix of hardwoods, including a variety of oak, walnut, cherry, hackberry, sassafras, sycamore, and a bit of white pine. David and his family are devoted to sustainable harvesting, only taking dead and dying trees and replanting, leaving the forest in better shape than it was when the family bought it before the Depression.
"You got to take what you need, but you also have to leave something for the next generation, which is what I try to do." As a result, David spends a lot of time waiting - waiting for a storm, or for a tree to die. He then harvests it, brings it to the shop, cuts it into large slabs of timber, then waits 2-3 years for it to air dry. Finally, it's put in the kiln. Only after this process is David ready to craft a piece of furniture. Even then, his approach is a patient one.
"Rather than imposing my will upon a piece of wood, I think there's something to be said for just letting the thing be what it wants to be. Knowing when to stop is a big part of my work. You don't go out in the woods and overdo it, and you don't overdo it when you're building furniture. Just finding a stopping point, letting that piece of wood be what it wants to be, that's as good as it gets for me."
David says STIHL chainsaws have always been present, appearing on the farm after his grandfather was introduced to German engineering in WWII.
"I couldn't do the work I do without a chainsaw, and I've never used anything but STIHL saws. We were some of the first people around to have STIHL tools; some have been on the farm since the sixties. There hasn't been any other kind of chainsaw around. I mean, when you've found the best there is, why fool around?"
David appreciates their efficient fuel consumption, innovation, Dealer support, and especially their longevity and durability. He says he has dropped STIHL chainsaws from trees, off the back of a truck and run over them with his tractor, but they keep going.
"We may wear out a part, put it back together, and the thing still runs as good today as it did when we got it. I need my tools to work for me and to add value to my life every day, and that's what they do. It's just really, really good equipment. There's nothing better than at the end of the day seeing what you've done… you've built something you can be proud of and something that's going to last."
The Home Depot® is a registered trademark of Homer TLC, Inc.