Cape Cod Woodcrafters
While beauty may only be skin deep, integrity and character are to the core. Spend any time in the company of Jeremy Wiley and Paula Ribeiro and you quickly sense the Marstons Mills couple’s passion for life and for their business, Cape Cod Woodcrafters. The adage has always held that form follows function; the look of a piece takes a back seat to its functionality. Wiley, a third generation wood worker, blends long lasting durability with an elegant look to his pieces that proves both qualities can be achieved to the highest degree.
After three tours in Iraq as an Army reconnaissance scout, Wiley turned to woodworking as a way to help with the transition into civilian life. “I’ve always found it to be therapeutic,” he says. Then, co-workers began to ask Wiley to make pieces for them. That turned into friends of co-workers putting in their orders. That’s when he had his ah-ha moment and turned his hobby, his therapy, into his career. Along the way, Wiley met and fell in love with his future business partner, Paula. Ribeiro’s background as an artist has further expanded the design elements of Cape Cod Woodcrafters pieces.
They are decidedly old school in their approach. They fully expect their products to stand the test of time, and will be there if a problem ever were to occur. “I’m not just making items for the customer,” Wiley explains. “I’m making them for their kids and grandkids.” Whether it be a farmhouse table, cornhole game, wall art, coasters or their signature cutting and cheese boards, each is made with the care and the quality materials to withstand the ages. There’s no rush to mass-produce merchandise in this basement shop. As Wiley says, “I like the concept of slowing things down.” Rounding over corners and chamfering edges by hand takes commitment, and then there is the company logo. The Cape Cod Woodcrafters insignia of an encircled jack plane is branded onto each piece. One could have easily used an electric brand. Just plug it in and away you go. That just won’t do for Wiley. He actually uses an authentic brass bovine branding iron from an iron works company in Texas. He gets a fire going in the back yard, heats up the brand and leaves his mark.
More and more establishments are turning to Cape Cod Woodcrafters to create unique charcuterie and serving boards and doing away with the inexpensive bamboo versions that seem to be pervasive across Cape Cod. According to Ribeiro, many restaurants use the same bamboo boards. It doesn’t matter if they’re using it to serve a burger or a high-end entrée. The Chatham Wine Bar is an example of this move. “They were using bamboo, and now we’re making them a new set made out of cherry,” Ribeiro reports. Chatham Bars Inn has tasked Wiley to create cutting boards for their gift shop that only sells CBI-branded products, so Wiley will have a CBI branding iron on hand to burn in their seagull logo on every board.
A wide range of woods combines to make each board unique. Hickory, black walnut, chestnut and African mahogany, sourced locally at Stonewood Specialty Products and The Cape Cod Sawmill, are just some of the species that Wiley and Riberio will lay out in the design phase. Some pieces of stock have a live edge to them for an even more impressive look. Titebond #3 is the glue of choice because it’s waterproof. “People don’t realize what their cutting boards are made of, and they don’t know the proper way to take care of them,” Riberio claims. This is an area of education for both professional and at-home cooks alike. A board with a mere ¼-inch veneer of wood can be marketed as “solid wood”. Some restaurants will use the harshest cleaners on them, which will seep into the grain of the wood. Rubbing a cut lemon over the board is enough to disinfect it. Riberio blends simple and natural cleansers and conditioners that are available in small jars and will keep the boards in top shape.
The term “heirloom” shouldn’t only apply to pieces of furniture. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and every cut, slice and chop on a Cape Cod Woodcrafters cutting board is a memory of family meals that will last for generations. Wiley and Riberio are here to see to it that the board on which it was created does as well.
– Larry Egan
Cape Cod Woodcrafters cutting boards can be found at Oceana in Orleans and The Chatham Cheese Shop or through their website at capecodwoodcrafters.com.