Posted by Lacey Wilcox on 28th Dec 2014
We’re proud American craftsmen at Two Guys Bow Ties, and try to pay homage to the grand ole USA in anyway possible. Many of our handcrafted, hardwood products take their names from great American cities, landmarks, and historic personalities. That’s one of the reasons we decided to use white oak for many of our hardwood accessories, like our Earl (pictured below).
White oak is about as American as a wood can be. Its acorns were once a food source for Native Americans. And years later the USS Constitution was built from it. If you're not up on your naval history, you probably know that ship by its other name: Old Ironsides. Built to stave off the Barbary pirates of the Mediterranean—American Hero, Paul Revere made its bolts and breasthooks—Old Ironsides outlasted similar vessels, remaining seaworthy to this day. White oak is a pretty special, hardwearing tree whose wood we’d be crazy not to use while on this quest to bring back true American craftsmanship.
Photo Credit: U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command
Speaking of American crafts, white oak was Gustav Stickley’s favorite wood. Stickley was the originator of the “American Craftsman” style we’re all so familiar with in wood working circles today. The godfather of the American Arts & Crafts movement chose white oak to be the bearer of his legacy.
Another fine-crafted, truly American article owes its perfection to white oak—bourbon. Bourbon’s a Southern American whiskey thought to have been brought to the new world by Scots who’d have likely made something that tasted more like Scotch whisky if it weren’t for North America’s different ingredients. Instead of barley, wheat, and rye; Americans used a corn mash. Once the whiskey is aged inside a new charred white oak barrel, it’s ready to become the backbone of your old-fashioned.
Gerard Prins-CC BY-SA 3.0-GNU Free Doc License
We love using white oak for all the same reasons as those who’ve come before us. It’s a historic wood that’s made its mark on the American identity. White oak is the wood of American artisanship, and we’ve been honored to be able to use it on our Earl and Chester wooden bow ties, as well as several lapel pins: including the Cambridge, Deerfield, and Concord. Most recently, we thought it appropriate to use it for some of our own stylish furniture on our Mammoth Valet Tray.
Start a fire, put a wooden bow tie and lapel pin on, pour a bourbon, have a seat in your early century American chair, and toast all those who came before’s brilliant use of white oak.
It’s unclear why exactly the valet tray became a modern man’s accessory, but it’s not beyond comprehension to assume that it was really just an effort to allay those all too frequent, “Where’s my keys?” moments of frantic pocket searching seconds before you’ve intended to leave. For a more uneventful history of the valet, you may [...]