tile and working with all these toxic products. I felt myself growing rest- less with the direction of my trade.” Though it was a leap of faith, Dave decided to follow his heart. He gave up being an onsite carpenter and decided to become a full time wood- worker and master of the wooden charcuterie board. “People look at me sometimes and say, ‘So you make cheeseboards for a living?’ and the answer is yes. It’s crazy how that one board has turned into a couple thousand a year. But it’s never boring. Every piece has a story and I love being able to show- case the beauty of our local woods.” This past summer Dave found himself on the shores of Lake Lis- gar as two 200-year old maples—or “dinosaurs” as he calls them—were

removed for safety reasons. “It was sad to watch them come down, but I’m looking forward to giving them new life in the future,” he says. “Hopefully by this time next year, people will be eating off those trees and sharing a bit of Till- sonburg’s rich natural history with their dinner guests.” For Dave, the chance to salvage urban trees that might otherwise be lost to the wood chipper or reclaim wood that’s been relegated to the scrap heap is a noble calling indeed. “To me, the natural imperfections of our local hardwoods are some- thing to be celebrated,” he says. “The knots, holes and cracks add beauty and character. No two pieces of wood are ever the same and it’s my job to bring out those differences

and show that wood can be strik- ingly beautiful all on its own.” Each of Dave’s boards goes through an 18-step process from concept to completion. His wife Mi- chelle, an art teacher, helps with the design of the handles as well as the photography of the final product. “Sometimes people think I stain the boards, but I actually just give them a generous coat of mineral oil and then seal them with a thin coat of beeswax paste,” he explains. Once the paste is massaged into the wood, it is buffed to a medium shine for a result that is simple, food-safe and naturally beautiful. “The boards we get from Dave are made in the same way our cheeses are produced—locally with love, care and artistic perfection,” says


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