Our historic maple comes from Asheville North Carolina. The board was taken from a barn built in the late 1800's and was likely used to store tobacco, as was so common in the area.
Weathering the wood is done via an old process, whereby the wood is dipped in water mixed with ferrous sulfate, the same stuff often used as a mineral supplement. You can read more about that process here. The mixture reacts to the tannins in the wood, turning our maple a unique silver color that pairs perfectly with the reddish-brown coffee inlay.
This design was originally conceived for a friend of mine who owns a coffee shop. I used beans from his store in the ring I created for him, but the coffee used in future rings is a bit more unique. I was able to obtain an unopened Hills Bros coffee can from 1952. The coffee inside was still fresh (they really knew how to make stuff back then) and has a great vintage story.
Though we can enjoy coffee in an endless stream today, this has not always been the case. Coffee rationing in WWII began in 1942 - families could only get one pound every five weeks - and the rationing didn't end until 1946. There were a few reasons for this. Firstly, the GI's needed coffee in the field. Secondly, German U-boats were sinking boats with coffee shipments from Brazil making coffee hard to get.
Rationed coffee was packaged in glass containers, which were not only reusable, but also saved precious tin resources for the troops. That this coffee could be purchased in a can was a sign that the war had ended.
For me, the idea of an unopened can of coffee sitting in the back of someone's pantry for so many years is a reminder of the frugality of that great generation which was permanently impressed upon them during the war.
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