Frequently asked questions

How do you make your woodenware?

The wooden spoons, spatulas, bowls, and other products we make are all hand-carved or turned on a foot-powered lathe. We don’t buy exotic woods from far-flung places, we use the wood that we can cut down and regrow ourselves in healthy, highly diverse, and well-functioning local ecosystems. In most cases, that means the wood comes from our own land, or from a neighbor’s. Every product has information about the individual tree or salvaged source it came from.

How do you ship your products?

We believe that plastic and fossil fuels are ruining our global environment, so we are doing everything we can to reduce our impact. We ship our items in 100% recycled padded paper mailers that can be either reused, home composted, or 100% recycled again. We realize that fossil fuel use is necessary (at the moment) for an online business like ours to ship our products to our customers, but we are working hard to find shipping companies that are also dedicated to reducing their impact on the environment, and also hope to become a 100% local business, to sell only to customers within a certain distance from where we live so that we don’t have to rely on shipping companies, cars, or aircraft to get our work to where it needs to go. If you need more details, please see our shipping and returns page.

Can you ship an item faster than the options provided?

No, unfortunately. We have done research to understand which shipping companies and options have the smallest effects on our climate. We are always looking for more ethical and sustainable ways to produce and sell our products, so we will continue to update our shipping options as the world works harder to slow down the climate crisis.

Can you make something specific for me?

We are happy to talk about creating a custom product for you. If you see something in our shop that you really like but would prefer it in a different type of wood, or in a different length or shape, we can certainly consider making a custom piece. We cannot guarantee we will always have the time to do so, but don’t hesitate to contact us to find out. Please keep in mind that we don’t make exact copies of any of our products, so we will not be able to make something identical to another product, but we can make you something that we feel is similar yet different enough to be unique.

How can I tell people about you?

If you really love our products and our company we suggest you simply tell people about us. We prefer in-person communication, but over the phone, over text message, or by smoke signal are mediums that are cool with us. We don’t mind if you post about us on social media, but we would prefer you choose to promote us while also considering the impacts that the tools you’re using have on the world.

Where do you find your materials?

Out in the world! It’s pretty mind-boggling when you begin to realize that you can make useful, beautiful products from resources that would have been thrown away or decayed naturally. We take regular walks and watch for recently fallen tree limbs. We ask local hardwood furniture makers for the scrap wood that they don’t have use for. And we fell our own trees to use for building projects on our farm, and use the smaller pieces to make our products. Though whenever we fell a tree, we calculate the amount of time it will take to grow a similar one, then plant many more so that we regeneratively manage our local ecosystem and account for the possible death of young trees on their way to restoring that ecological niche.

How do I take care of my woodenware?

Wood needs care kind of like our skin. Clean it soon after use, don’t soak it in hot water for a long time, allow it plenty of time to dry, and then moisturize it with a food-safe oil and wax mixture when it is looking dry. You can also buy some 600 grit sandpaper and give it a quick sanding if the finish ever feels less smooth than when you first received it. Hardwood is unbelievably durable, so long as you don’t abuse it or allow it to dry out and crack. Please care for your Oak and Jay products dearly, as we hope you’ll have it for a lifetime, or maybe even a few generations.

How do I take care of my ceramic products?

All of our ceramic products are food, dishwasher, and microwave safe, though that doesn’t mean you should use them as carelessly as you would use something from IKEA. Our ceramics are fired past what is called “cone 10” in the ceramics world. What that means is that any natural glazes molecularly bond with the clay, and the clay, including unglazed pieces, completely loses its porosity. This means that even our unglazed pottery is food-safe and can store liquid long-term without weeping. Any moisture on the outside of our products comes from condensation from the temperature difference between the clay and the ambient air, not from weeping. It also means that all of our plant pots can be used both indoors and outdoors, without risk of cracking in freezing temperatures (though they could still crack from root bind so repot your plants regularly). This “high-fire” pottery is also exceptionally more durable than your average pottery. That doesn’t mean it won’t break or chip if dropped or mishandled, but it is slightly less likely to do so. We suggest you keep your Oak and Jay ceramics clean and dry, hand wash them as often as possible, and be mindful when you are handling them. We are always happy to provide suggestions for mending broken pieces, or to try to mend them for you if you live locally.

What types of clay and glazes do you use?

We only use locally dug clay and homemade glazes, so they don’t have brand names, types, or numbers. The glazes we make are often experimentally made from natural materials including soil, plants, and water. We also sometimes add different natural materials like herbs or salts to our firings to create different chemical reactions with the clay inside of the kiln.

Our favorite “glazing” process is that of unglazed pottery being fired in a wood burning kiln. The ash from the wood coats the pottery at the early stages of firing, and then, when the kiln reaches a high enough temperature for a long enough time (above cone 10), the ash changes state from a solid to a liquid and coats the clay as if it had been glazed before the firing. This type of glazing is what we consider the most natural and most beautiful.

What types of wood do you use?

Our wood choices are similar to our clay choices. We only use locally grown or reclaimed (aka recycled) wood. Each product page has information about the source that it came from, whether that be a branch that naturally fell or a salvaged old piece of furniture.

Why aren’t your products perfectly smooth and symmetrical?

We take pride in the fact that our products have marks that show their handmade nature. You can tell that a person made our products, because we want you to. We don’t try to use the knot free pieces of a tree, or to grow our trees in an unnatural way in order to encourage the traits we desire for the wood. We just use everything as it naturally occurs. And nature is imperfect, thus, our work may be seen as imperfect by some people’s standards.

Do you have social media?

We do, it is called a blog! We believe that social media is a brilliant tool, but also that the people who are currently in control of those tools are ethically bankrupt. Ten years in design and advertising has taught us that companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google simply don’t care about the data privacy of their billions of customers, so we have chosen to try to run our business using only open-source, ethically minded technology. Here are some of the service providers we choose to use instead of the ethically ambiguous ones:

Email: https://tutanota.com/
Website and domain hosting: https://www.greengeeks.com/
Website and e-commerce templates: https://woocommerce.com/
Word processing: https://www.openoffice.org/fr/
Web browsing: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/
Data protection tips for Firefox: https://restoreprivacy.com/firefox-privacy/
Shipping: https://www.dpd.com/group/en/sustainability/

And here are some fun articles about the lack of ethics in the tech world:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/10/business/location-data-privacy-apps.html
https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/2/27/21156609/verizon-t-mobile-sprint-att-fined-location-data
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/20/facebook-data-cambridge-analytica-sandy-parakilas
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/02/facebook-global-lobbying-campaign-against-data-privacy-laws-investment
https://slate.com/technology/2020/01/evil-list-tech-companies-dangerous-amazon-facebook-google-palantir.html