Looking for a unique and sustainable eyewear option? Featherwood Frames makes one-of-a-kind glasses with pedal power.
I don't know if it's too far of a stretch to call these glasses artisanal, but either way, the handmade wooden frames made by Featherwood for both sun- and eyeglasses, are a beautiful and low-carbon way of making your eyewear more sustainable.
Featherwood Frames, based in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is the big idea of Brett Nagafuchi and David Flowers, who first got the idea of creating wooden eyewear after Flowers repaired his own glasses with a handmade wood piece. The startup now makes both custom and standard eyeglass frames from their pedal-powered shop, where a repurposed exercise bike with a 90lb (41kg) steel flywheel is the prime mover for running belt sanders, grinders, and even a bandsaw. Additional stand-alone pedal-powered machines are put to the task in the production process, and the frames are all hand finished.
"Both the frames and lenses are manufactured using Pedal-Powered machinery that was designed and built in our workshop. All finishing is done by hand. After the basic frame is cut, various hand tools are employed to bring each pair of glasses to completion. In total each pair embodies approximately 2 miles of full speed ahead bike-generated energy." - Featherwood Frames
According to Featherwood, most of the wood for its frames comes from salvaged local hardwoods from the Southwest Ohio region, and their relationships with local arborists, naturalists, and woodworkers in their community yields a steady supply of raw materials. In addition, although the company doesn't specifically seek out or buy exotic woods, some other varieties of specialty wood that might otherwise get burned or tossed in the dumpster are occasionally used by the team for their eyewear.
The wooden frames have a non-toxic finish, and instead of conventional wood stains, Featherwood uses old-school traditional techniques to color some of the frames, such as dyes made from plants, tea, rusty water, and even berries.
"Our goal is to be completely free of production methods that are energy intensive, of highly entropic, highly technological nature. Our motto is “high thought/low tech”. Ultimately, we are not only driven to make the most beautiful eyeglasses we can, but do so through maintaining an eco-centric mindset, recognizing that small scale, low energy production is a solution to the myriad of problems our planet is facing." - Featherwood Frames
The company's website currently offers three styles of "off the shelf" sunglasses, made from your choice of either walnut, cherry, or maple, for $225 USD. In addition to these wooden sunglasses, Featherwood Frames also makes custom wooden sunglasses and frames, which can be used for prescription lenses, and more info on this custom eyewear is available by contacting the company.