Bear Isle Boards was founded by Jen Holsten, who grew up summering at her grandparents’ small cottage on East Bear Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Fascinated by her grandfather’s woodshop and projects, she fell in love with the birdseye maple dresser her grandfather made in the room she stayed in when she was a young child. In 2002, Jen took basic, intermediate and advanced classes at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockland, Maine. She stayed on as an apprentice during the summer of 2003.
Jen first began collecting imperfect boards and end-cuts cast off by high-end furniture makers. She began to incorporate knots, worm holes, live edge, spalted wood and other imperfections into each piece she made. Many of the Bear Isle board shapes come from forms found in nature. Each board goes through at least five or six sanding stages to create a smoothness that is a joy to handle. The boards are finished with a combination of organic beeswax and food-grade mineral oil made in small batches.
The Tiger Maple Oval Serving Board was designed to hold one perfect cheese or sushi. Features a hole for hanging.