Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today we talk about walnut wood..

I have done my research on walnut wood completely on line, and here is what i have discovered!

"The common walnut and the black walnut and its allies, are important for their attractive timber, which is hard, dense, tight-grained and polishes to a very smooth finish. The colour ranges from creamy white in the sapwood to a dark chocolate colour in the heartwood. When kiln-dried, walnut wood tends toward a dull brown colour, but when air-dried can become a rich purplish-brown. Because of its colour, hardness and grain it is a prized furniture and carving wood.
Walnut wood has been the timber of choice for gun makers for centuries, including the Gewehr 98 and Lee Enfield rifles of the First World War. It remains one the most popular choices for rifle and shotgun stocks, and is generally considered to be the premium – as well as the most traditional – wood for gun stocks, due to its resilience to compression along the grain. Walnut is also used in lutherie, i.e. making stringed musical instruments.

In North America, forestry research has been undertaken mostly on J. nigra aiming to improve the quality of planting stock and markets. In some areas of the US black walnut is the most valuable commercial timber species.[13] The Walnut Council is the key body linking growers with scientists. In Europe, various EU-led scientific programs have studied walnut growing for timber.[14]

Walnuts,the fruit from the walnut tree, are considered to be a herb in Traditional Chinese medicine. They are said to tonify kidneys, strengthen the back and knees, warm and hold qi in lungs and help kidneys to grasp the qi, moisten the intestines and move stool. It is believed to stop asthma and is prescribed to be taken between bouts of asthma, but not for acute asthma. It is also used by the elderly to relieve constipation.

The two most commercially important species are J. regia for timber and nuts, and J. nigra for timber. Both species have similar cultivation requirements and are widely grown in temperate zones.
The 21 species in the genus range across the north temperate Old World from southeast Europe east to Japan, and more widely in the New World from southeast Canada west to California and south to Argentina." 
 THank you Wikipedia for that wonderful information!

I also discovered that Claro walnut is a completely different type of tree and wood, and it is an endangered tree, whereas the previous types of walnut are grown commercially for lumber and thier fruits.
Below is a picture of a fork made of Claro Walnut wood. Its graining is beautifully crazy!

Walnut wood is strong and beautiful, and we love to work with it. It is also very widely available and  grown sustainably for the lumber industry. While we have used some claro walnut on request, it was hard to find and due to its highly figured nature did not lend itself perfectly to making strong hairforks. It tends to stay flexible and alittle softer that we like for our forks. We do have a piece of it left and a few made forks with it that are available. It is very beautiful, much more expensive than regualr walnut, and hard to acquire.

WE hope that this information was interesting and helpful to those of you interested in the woods we use.
As a side note, working it is lovely, it has a bit of a peppery smell to me. It does finish beautifully and the boards we get that have some sap wood in them have a lighter color mixed with the dark brown to purple, and we truly enjoy working with it and making hairforks in this wood.

WE appreciate all of you so much, and look forward to showing our new creations and innovations in hair art for the coming year!
Happy New year to all!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A contest for our German Long Haired Friends

We hope that you are enjoying your holidays so far!
We are having a beautiful holiday so far, and are busily planning our new designs to be debuted in the new year...but this new fork is special....

This hairfork has been designed specifically in dedication to our German Long hair network Friends! 
And, a special fork needs a special name, so we thought a contest would be fun! For this week, we are going to have the German LHN girls submit thier suggestions for the name of this fork , and we will choose a name on the first of the year and the winner is going to get this very first fork as a prize and gift! a $120 value!!

So what we would like to see is this:
1. leave a comment here with your suggested name, we would prefer a one to two word name please.
2. it can be in german or english.
3.please also make sure to let us know how to contact you if your suggested name is chosen, and you can do that here, through etsy convo or email if you prefer 
our email is

We know alot of you are out of town or on vacation so we are letting the contest run this whole week, hoping that you all tell your friends and others on the LHN about it and we get a fabulous name for this lovely fork !
There are also more photos on our facebook page here
and we will of course, gladly answer any questions anyone has about this fork. WE do plan to make it in any size, and already have a  pair of micros in spalted holly made and ready to go after they get their name!
and, we  have a  special coupon waiting for this fork, anyone form the German LHN will get to use any time they buy this fork design!
Good luck to everyone and Ich hoffe Sie sind zufrieden
Love to you all!
Stacy and Kimi

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

WE figure everyone will be be busy tomorrow with family, friends and travel and so we

wanted to wish everyone a beautiful holiday and blessed travel time with loved ones!

Here are a couple pictures of the fun we had making a snow fork with all of the snow we got this week!
Merry Christmas EVERYONE!!!
Love from Stacy and Kimi
Grah-Toe Studio

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some new wood and new designs!

WE have finally acquired some apple wood, and a nice colorful few pieces too! they were from some ones back yard when the tree had to come down, and they are just beautiful! We are so happy to let you  know some more apple wood forks are on the way!
we also have some new designs coming out in the new year! the Lyria, as pictured here, is a new design for the end of this year and we are offering it in all sizes..the one pictured is a mini lilli, and we will be making it in all woods as well!! This is a very fluidly carved top on the hair fork and it holds and sits on the head very comfortabley and beautifully! we are proud to offer this new fork at the end of 2010~
the new fork designs coming out for the new year are equally stunning, i think :D and we hope you will like them too!

Merry CHristmas, happy holidays to all! we will have that walnut wood post coming right up!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stacy has a gift for YOU on this special day!!

Hey Grah-Toe Friends!! Today is Stacy's birthday, and he wants to GIFT to you a 24% discount on your order!! That was what he asked me for, so I am doing it for him, and for you too! There is still time to get gifts to people, or to yourself and this is a great oppotunity and a huge discount for today only!!! take advantage by using the coupon code  24hour  at check out and it will take the discount off your order before you check out! ! Happy Birthday my love, and Merry Christmas to everyone!!
We appreciate and love you all !!
Stacy and Kimi
ps the walnut post is in the works :D

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lignum VItae wood is our study subject today

Lignum Vitae wood is a beautiful, aromatic,green and gold colored wood. It grows in the Florida  Keys and is a very dense hard wood. It has been used in the making of bowling balls, false teeth , ships propeller shafts and it was used in the Erie canals locks as hinges.

We of course, use the wood to make beautiful hairforks. I am often asked about the woods we use and this following information was acquired from Wikipedia:

"Lignum vitae is a trade wood, also called guayacan or in Europe known as pockenholz, from trees of the genus Guaiacum. This wood was once very important for applications requiring a material with its extraordinary combination of strength, toughness and density. It is also the Jamacian national flower

The wood is obtained chiefly from Guaiacum officinale and Guaiacum sanctum, both small, slow growing trees. All species of the genus Gayandcum are now listed in Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) as potentially endangered species. Demand for the wood has been reduced by modern materials science, which has led to polymer, alloys and composite materials which can take lignum vitae's place (IT IS NOT ENDANGERED YET)

"Lignum vitae" is Latin for "wood of life", and derives from its medicinal uses; lignum vitae resin has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions from coughs to arthritis, and chips of the wood can also be used to brew a tea. Other names for lignum vitae include palo santo (Spanish for "holy wood") and greenheart; lignum vitae is also one of the numerous hard, dense woods referred to as ironwood.

Lignum vitae is hard and durable, and is also the densest wood traded; it will easily sink in water.

Various other hardwoods  may also be called lignum vitae and should not be confused. The best-known is from Bulnesia arborea and Bulnesia sarmientoi (in the same subfamily as Guaiacum) and is known as Verawood or Argentine lignum vitae; it is somewhat similar in appearance and working qualities as genuine lignum vitae."

Many woods have been called the "tree of life" over history and usually it is due to thier medicinal properties. 

I hope that you have found this information about this beautiful wood informative and helpful in your search about the woods we use for hairforks. We re having this post in tandem with Hair, There , and Everywhere today! come see her blog too please!

Next, we are doing Walnut wood!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

a little more of the story...

A little more of the tale of Grah-Toe Studios today...i left off where we were working along and doing our  art for fun..we made snowflakes out of wood every fall and used them as gifts. People would always tell us we should sell them, and we tried in different shops , and it never worked out. The timing  wasn't right after 15 years in south florida, we realized it was time to move, get away from  the crowds and the heat, no seasons to speak of....and we didn't know where to go! we didn't want to go back to MY home or HIS home, we wanted a place our very own.

SO..we took a trip and drove all over the country to see where we
wanted to go! it was a great fast whirlwhind trip around the country and through national parks, and along the way, our studio got its name! I don't know how many of you have seen the Grand Canyon, but I honestly think it should be something everyone sees in person..its unbelievable..we were in total AWE...and we are greatful that the Lord gave us the opportunity to do that and see so much of the country. We also knew we were heading towards doing our art full time eventually, and the colors and shapes in the west are SO inspiring..the desert, the rocks, the mesas, the trees, everything seemed so BIG out there!! THe rocks in Zion national park have these AWESOME grottos that are big enough to fit a small town into! we loved them.

This is where we got our studio name..we were in love with the rocks and grottos..we were Grateful..Grah To our toes. Toe . Studio Grah-Toe Studio.
SO now, you know how we got our name! it was a fabulous trip, and we ended up in Utah where we live and create today!
We are SO thankful that we found Etsy and had been working toward this for so our work is evolving and growing and we are loving every minute of it! and it YOU that makes it all worth it!!
We hope you all feel the love we have for our creations when you get them!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

And, presenting, Padouk wood!

We are talking about the beautiful reddish-orange wood, Padouk or Padauk. The botanical name of this tree is Pterocarpus, and it grows in Africa, Thailand and the Andaman Islands. It is a pantropical genus of the familyFabaceae and other names it is known by are Mukwa or Narra.

Padouk wood is valued for its toughness, stability in use and of course its decorativeness. THe color is strikingly beautiful deep reddish orange to bright orange, but sunlight and time can fade it to a warn delicious brown color. SOme finishes may slow or stop the color from changing, but most woods will darken over time regardless of the finish.

Some Padouk woods are used as herbal medicines intreating skin parasites and fungal infections. I could not find an information on this wood as far as its magical properties.

Although the wood itsself is not endangered, it does grow in rainforests and some of them are considered in danger. We are still trying to get direct answers from our wood supplier about where their lumbers come from and if they are from sustainable farms, but they are not being very helpful about it and the snwers are vague. The wood industry highly values this wood and it will more than likely continue to be available as the tree itsself is not endangered.
The wood works beautifully, is light weight and has a delightful smell when being worked. It smells very sugary sweet to me, and to Stacy it smells a bit buttery. YUMMM!
It is a very beautiful wood, and is ideal for hairforks due to its light weight and decorative nature.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the beautiful padouk wood today!

Next we are going to do Lignum Vitae wood!!

Thanks so much for your interest, we love to have any comments or suggestions or extra info that you have found on each wood we do!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Our next wood is going to be....

Well, We have had so many requests about what wood to do next! We are going to do Padouk wood, and we are still doing a little research on it, but we wanted to get your taste buds ready for it! 


This is a fabulously beautiful reddish to orange wood, wonderful to work and smells like cotton candy to me when its being worked!
full details coming!!