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Wood is Good: It took a global recession for Jeff Pechan to tap his woodworking lineage

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Jeff Pechan is a jack of all trades. He has many hobbies, from raising birds to woodworking to making tea, but the woodworking is the most impressive.

Pechan, who has lived in Bend for nine years with his wife and two kids, runs the one-man operation Central Oregon Woodworking. If you want a cheap piece of furniture you should look elsewhere, but if you want a unique design that will last for generations, Pechan is the man to talk to.

"If it's made out of wood, bring an idea by and I'll do it," Pechan said during a recent visit to his workshop.

Although Pechan comes from a line of cabinetmakers, he studied finance in school, and worked in that field until the economy started to go downhill in 2008. He had been dabbling in woodwork, but decided to start his own business a few years ago.

"There's no particle board and no MDF (medium density fiberboard) in my work - it's all solid wood," Pechan said. "It's quite a bit different from furniture anywhere else."

A lot of the furniture you see in stores is not made of real wood, even if it looks that it way, and most pieces have a polyurethane finish or a man-made varnish, Pechan said. Both of these finishes show any marks or nicks, and if you want to hide them, you have to re-finish them or take off the top layer and glue on a new one, Pechan said.

Natural finishes are important to Pechan, so he frequently uses beeswax, orange oil and linseed oil.

"Some of the finishes you could dip your hand in and eat it, they are so natural," Pechan said.

Because he uses solid wood and natural finishes, if a piece gets marked or scratched, all he has to do is run it through his sander and rub some oil on it. He has tables in his house that have been heavily used by his two kids, but you would never know if by looking at them.

Not only is Pechan's work durable, it is also beautiful. He uses a lot of reclaimed or recycled wood, and works with its flaws and the grain of the wood to emphasize patterns designs within it.

"You'll never find pieces of wood like it from a lumber company," Pechan said.

Pechan's attention to detail is apparent in his most recent project, a set of hutches with stained glass windows made by another local artisan, Rich DeWilde. Part of the wood for the hutch was lighter that the rest. Pechan cut those pieces so that the lighter parts are on the inside lower corners of the drawers and look like the sun rising.

"I try to use medium to high grade wood," Pechan said. "It may cost a little more but it lasts longer and doesn't fall apart. Quality is really important to me."


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