The early craftsmen who immigrated to America, would have known the Chestnut tree well. Because at one point this magnificent giant was one of the dominant hardwood trees in the northeast part of America. This is the area where most of the early craftsmen would have first settled. This species was economically important to the early settlers. The reddish brown wood was easy to split, lightweight, very resistant to decay, and did not warp or split.
The Chestnut tree was so prominent that legend has it, a squirrel could travel from Maine to Tennessee by jumping from Chestnut tree to Chestnut tree without ever touching the ground. Chestnut trees have been known to reach diameters of 20' or more and heights of over 100'. These hardwood giants could create a lot of useful lumber per tree.
In the early 1900's, a fungus emerged and rapidly spread through America's Chestnut tree forests. By 1935, a good portion of the mature Chestnut trees were destroyed by the fungus. During this time the wood was considered inferior because of bore holes caused by an insect that invaded the diseased trees. To eliminate the spread of any futher tree disease, the trees were quickly milled into lumber for barns, fences, structure flooring, and siding.
To date, experts have not been able to find a cure for the fungus. Research is progressing to genetically alter the trees to fight the fungus and grow to a mature age. The Chestnut being used today in our furniture, has been reclaimed from structures that were built using the timber from these fallen yesteryear trees. At YesterYear Furniture, we believe by recycling the reclaimed wood gives each piece of furniture we create a unique history and value.