Dave Darr

Founder and CEO of Walrus Oil®. When not creating things in the shop, Dave enjoys cold weather travel, warm fires, and camping. He's also fond of classical music, oil paintings, and reading books on Orthodox monasticism.

Work with Purpose

There’s nothing more cliche than the age old saying “you’re here for a reason” or “God has a plan for you” but the reality of it is, whether you’re religious or non-religious, the Universe points to the fact that you are not an accident. No matter your circumstance, rich or poor, healthy or disabled, happy or depressed. Every damn one of us are here for a reason, all 6 Billion. There is a purpose to your existence and that purpose is uniquely yours and is probably a little more than drinking cases of Mountain Dew while watching Survivor reruns, just saying. Although if that’s your job and you’re slapstick happy doing it, by all means, joyfully live out your purpose, one can of Dew at a time!

As far back as I can remember, life has always looked like a windy road with endless turns and no road signs to follow. Yet regardless of all the places I’ve lived and all the jobs I’ve had, from working at night clubs in Nashville, to doing graphic design in Chicago, and printing shirts in Tulsa, what has consistently grounded me is nature. In particular, I’ve always been fascinated with conifers, every detail, the 600+ different species, how they’re endlessly green, the smell of pine needles carried by wind from miles away, the unbelievable beauty of pine cones, and even the complex life cycle which sometimes involves raging wildfires. When fires burn below the heat opens up pine cones above, causing them to drop seeds to the ground, and under the ash of their fallen mothers new life is born. And just as a reminder of how nature is unmistakably the most beautiful thing unmatched by anything man has ever created, these mysterious flowers spring up around the soon to be saplings called fireweed. They radiate a violent purple, which perfectly compliments black embers, new greenery, and the darkest richest brownest earth. A few decades later, a new forest will stand, and it will be just as breathtaking as its ancestors.

Nature. Is. Majestic.

Photo by Matthew Spaulding

So what is my purpose? Do you think it’s to make the most beloved wood finishes ever bequeathed to North America? Possibly! But that is far from my end game. When I close my eyes for the last time, I don’t think I’ll be dreaming of that glorious Cutting Board Oil. My prayer is that I die in a world far greener than one I was born in. Walrus Oil is not only a company that helps preserve cutting boards, leather boots, and antique rockers, we actively seek to keep the world wildly beautiful. Currently we plant over 10,000 trees per year, but one year I’d like to see that jump to 100,000. That is a goal completely dependent on us making products that solves problems, products that are well made, and priced fairly. We will never be the cheapest, we would have to sacrifice our purpose in order to do so. But can we be the best value? That is something reasonable to aim for. Can we get thousands of people behind our purpose? Whether you know it or not, when you purchase a Walrus Oil product, no matter where you buy it or what product it is, you’re helping trees get planted and you’re supporting our purpose. I want our company to always maintain a net-positive environmental impact. Challenging? You bet your ass it is. Attainable? You bet your other ass it is.

So there you have it. That’s the purpose of Walrus Oil, which is largely my life’s purpose, other than being a loving father, husband, and good steward of the time God’s blessed me with. While all of this sounds grandiose, I believe my purpose has always been the same, it just took a long time for that seed to grow. And even if I never made it this far, for whatever reason, at every bend of the road of life, my purpose was being fulfilled, so long as I’m living authentically and lovingly.

My prayer for you is this, that you find your purpose and dare to live it, no matter how ridiculously upsetting and unprofitable it appears. Be authentic, however that looks to you, and do it with love.

Why I Quit Drinking for Health and the Environment


Truth be told, my overall relationship with alcohol has been for the most part responsible and purely romantic. I mean sure I drank a few more than I should have in college, but when I had to put on my big boy pants and start a career, it wasn’t difficult to know my limits. I enjoyed my one or two microbrews with most dinners and treated it the same as fine wine, pairing it with the meal appropriately.

My all time favorite beer? That’s definitely a close tie between a Pinkus Hefe-Weizen and an Ayinger Bräuweisse. Deutschland brews that follow German Purity Beer Laws are unmatched in flavor in my opinion and since they’re not soaring in ABV, I could have a couple without feeling lit.

When I relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma I started brewing beer in my apartment. This is perhaps the moment I began to understand the art, ethics, and real connection to nature beer has. My first batch was a pale ale, I went rogue on the recipe and through in some citrus peels at the last minute in the brewing stage just to see what happens. Alcohol level bumped up a hair and flavor went through the roof. I was king of the stoop during that time, as I handed them out like free lemonade to all my apartment neighbors on hot summer days. Beer to me is a gift, a means of connectivity to nature, and an easy path to friendship to almost anyone.

So why quit?

Here’s my story. In 2020 I got some blood work done and came to find out my cholesterol was trending high. Ironically you don’t have to be visibly overweight to be unhealthy. I was clearly within a normal weight limit and the rest of my chart was perfect. However, with my cholesterol, as my doctor put it “eat a few less cheeseburgers and start exercising more”. I took his word for it.

Now grant it, I’m in my 30’s and far-far away from the risk of a heart attack. But why wait until I’m at the brink before I get myself into gear? This sort of segways back to an original post where I decided to do a complete 180 on many aspects of my lifestyle. Part of that was my diet, another was alcohol consumption. While light to moderate drinking doesn’t effect cholesterol levels much, it does a little, which was enough for me to at least consider cutting it out.

So did I hit the kill switch? You better believe it. Here’s how I did it and why I’m glad I did after a couple of months without a lick of alcohol.

First off, let’s do some math shall we! If I drank beer from the age of 23 until 36, averaged 1.75 drinks per day, minus an annual 30-day fast (something I did ritually just to keep myself in check), that comes to about 7,600 beers. Or in other words, nearly 50 kegs. That’s a lot of freaking beer if you think about it! I’ve more than drank my weight and shouldn’t be too sad to just let that ship sail off into the sunset (in a burning inferno).

So how easy was it to quit? I just stopped, plain and simple. I drank more water, tea, and coffee, and hardly missed it. After about 2 months, here’s 5 ways it changed me and then what I learned about the environmental benefit of not drinking.

I went to bed earlier, got up less in the middle of the night, and woke up naturally without an alarm clock. I felt more rested which means I was a little more alert and had more energy throughout the day.

I expected to thin out a little, but didn’t expect to drop nearly 10 lbs so quickly. Given my size, this wasn’t something I needed to do, however with my new found extra energy I started working out and exercising a lot more, which helped me gain some muscle mass and put back on a few healthy pounds.

While most people assume red flushed skin is only associated with excessive drinkers, even a little alcohol can have the same effect. When I cut alcohol out of my diet and replaced it with more water, my skin started looking a little healthier, less flushed and less wrinkly. Since I’ve also changed my diet to more plant-based, the skin benefits were compounded.

This one was a bit of a curve ball because I’m generally a happy and positive guy already. But my ability to handle stressful situations in the workplace improved even more after kicking the can. Not completely sure if its the lack of alcohol or just my new hyper-focused discipline that’s making me even more positive and stress-free, but I started noticing a difference after about two weeks.

If coffee is an upper, alcohol is a downer. So even with just a small glass of wine, you generally just want to chill out, and pumping iron or cycling 15 miles is out of the question. When I cut out alcohol, I found myself in the home gym every night working out hella crazy and I also started reading and writing more too. Netflix rarely gets flipped on these days as well.


It didn’t require much research to learn how cutting out alcohol helps the environment. But let me start off by saying the ethics of brewing beer and making wine is phenomenally beautiful and fair to the environment, and many breweries and wineries are moving toward net-zero with their carbon footprint. Plus growing grape vines, hops, and other ingredients used for alcohol manufacturing helps clean the air and contributes to saving the bee population. So I’m in no way attacking this industry, in fact I praise it.

With all that being said, scattered across several landfills throughout the world are over 7,000 empty cans and bottles of beer because of me. I did recycle more in the later years, but for the most part they ended up in trash cans and that’s not cool at all. Multiply that by a few billion drinkers, it’s colossal. Perhaps the partial answer is to only drink from the tap at a bar or bring home a reusable growler. This would eliminate the waste problem at least, although the carbon discharged from factories and delivery trucks is still something to consider.

I’m now convinced in a perfect world, all we would drink is purified tap water that’s drawn straight from the sink into reusable bottles. It sounds painfully boring just hearing it, but literally the world could have water for eternity with this system in place and the “single use” epidemic would be history. But let’s be real, we all have to get our kicks every now and then to stay sane, whether it’s a latte or a 6-pack of beer. But I’m definitely enjoying the benefits of this new direction in my life nonetheless and encourage anyone to give it a go if you’ve been tracking on the same wavelength.

Eat Pescatarian & Cut Your Carbon Footprint by Half

Recently after switching to a strict pescatarian diet, I decided to do a little research on what that means for my carbon footprint. Now when I say “strict pescatarian”, that doesn’t mean I wake up and have caviar waffles with a side of whale broth for breakfast. That would be weird. My daily routine mostly consists of whole grains, dairy, fruits, and nuts. I still have work to do in the area of vegetation and I only have about 1 portion of fish every few days, primarily because I live 700 miles from the nearest ocean, frozen fish is blah, and farm raised usually tastes like mud. Forgive my snobbery.

As a side note, what’s interesting is when I had a totally unrestricted diet, I ate red meat almost every meal, usually with a few sides of whatever the heck I felt like. Tater tots was my first choice, but regardless of what the side was, 90% of the time it was fried, heavily processed, and pretty much crystalized in salt. Going pescatarian, now my natural inclination is to pass on most things processed and rarely do I eat anything fried unless its falafel. Which by the way if you haven’t had falafel before, I feel sorry for you… no really. But other than falafel, my sides are usually a banana, apple, and/or hummus, things far healthier than my normal drugs of choice. So going pescatarian overall has changed my palate to prefer more natural, low processed foods, further compounding my carbon footprint reduction.

Anyways, in 2014 research was completed in the UK on how much carbon is produced from various types of meat and plant-based diets. What they found is not that surprising, a vegan diet produces substantially less carbon than that of a heavy meat diet. Pescatarians fell right in the middle, about half the carbon output of carnivors, and only a hair more than vegetarians. (source)

So why does meat have a bigger carbon footprint than fish? Simple, it’s because of farming practices. The amount of energy it takes to factory-farm raise a million chickens is astronomical. Let alone shipping them across the country and cooking them. Fish predominantly comes from water that doesn’t require any energy or human intervention to be raised, also known as “wild caught”. Even with farm raised fish, such as trout, energy usage is far less than that of a chicken factory. Though they still have to be shipped and cooked like everything else, it’s the energy used to raise the animal before slaughter that’s the major culprit.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, what’s the point because there’s no way you’re giving up your chicken wings and Big Macs. That’s totally fine, you do you. Listen, life isn’t about driving one road, my road is going to look different than yours. While I may find it easy to live off of fish tacos and carrot juice, I still have work to do in other areas, like driving a gas guzzler. And then their’s the Prius kid with his 100% recycled flip-flops rolling up to the McDonalds drive thru window for his bag of burgers. We both are doing something totally cool and right, then blowing it somewhere else.

When it comes to reducing our carbon footprint, it’s not just about energy, our cars, and the amount of gasoline we use, it’s about what we eat too. So if you’re feeling like a shift in diet and want to immediately reduce your carbon footprint, going pescatarian is awesome. You’ll feel incredible, maybe shed a pant size or two, and help windmill kick your carbon footprint in half. If not, that’s cool too, stick to your recycled flip-flops and keep driving your Prius, as long as we’re all doing something, we’ll help keep the planet around for a little bit longer.

Let’s Talk About Work / Life Balance

I recently made a short list of some things I wanted to improve in my personal life outside of work, call it “mind, body, spirit” if you wish. Honestly, it would be both cliché and unfair to say Covid has “taken it’s toll” on me. Business grew, we hired a lot of amazing new faces, and my core proved to be the most reliable, hardworking, dedicated co-workers and friends I could have ever hoped for. Absolutely no complaints whatsoever with Walrus Oil in 2020.

However, my diet sucked, I never slept, exercise became a foreign sport, no etiquette to be found anywhere, I felt spiritually lazy, dropped more f-bombs than I could count, and I allowed politics to rule my entire mental state. My work / life balance was horrific, like a protruding pimple I pretended wasn’t there, though undeniably visible. I’m probably being hard on myself, but looking back, I could have done better… could’ve eaten less tater tots and turned off CNN occasionally. But noooo.

There are things I have no control over, like viruses, the stock market, or whether people like me or not. But I can most certainly choose how I react and I can definitely adapt to be better prepared for whatever’s lunged at me. And I can also simply choose to cross a few things out of my life, like politicians and tater tots.

With all that said, here’s my current list of demands (for myself):
1. No alcohol
2. Eat a Pescatarian diet, mostly plant-based
3. Drink more water
4. Be more spiritually intentional
5. No news and politics
6. Loose the potty mouth
7. Read more books
8. Get in bed a little earlier
9. Wake up earlier too
10. Love yourself more
11. Get a fitness routine you can commit to
12. Make more time for hiking, biking, and kayaking

I know this reads like a belated New Year’s Resolution, that’s fine, whatever. I’m several weeks in with some of these points and already feel more mentally, physically, and spiritually coherent. I’d rather take this as an initiation toward more growth, especially in the area of discipline and self care. And do I expect to be perfect? Nope. I will have a beer again, throw back a few cheeseburgers, and violently devour a pound of tater tots covered in Velveeta cheese. I will skip church, hate myself some days, and bail on crunches for a week, but as my Priest always puts it, just get some rest and try again tomorrow.

I’m living my dream running Walrus Oil, but even your wildest dreams can become a nightmare. This is a road toward better stability and balance, so I can be my best self when I walk into work every day and when I come home.

Table Bar Co.’s Sleek Cincinnati Basement Woodshop

When your only option for a woodshop is a windowless garage or basement, it may not be half bad after all. Take husband and wife team Table Bar Co. for example. When they were given the opportunity to convert an old stuffy basement into their studio, they just utilized their obvious creative knack to make it work. With a wood burning stove and timeless architectural elements like exposed brick and aged wood beams, it was nothing a good broom and a few cans of paint couldn’t fix.

Company: Table Bar Co.
Founder: Noah and Kelsey Seurkamp
Website: tablebar.co
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Features: Exposed Brick and Wood Beams, Wood Burning Stove

CAM Design Co.’s Urban Rooftop Woodshop

If you love woodworking and city life, trust us, this is your dream woodshop. A rooftop workspace with breathtaking views of New York City and an indoor loft workshop with nearly floor to ceiling windows. Located in New Jersey with a little less traffic congestion but all the benefits of an urban lifestyle. If you don’t want your heart to be darkened with intensely fierce jealousy, read no further.

Company: CAM Design Co.
Founder: Christopher Miano
Website: chrismiano.com
Location: Union City, New Jersey
Features: Overlooks New York City, Indoor Loft and Rooftop Workspace


Made for Wear and Tear


You may have recently noticed the “Made for Wear and Tear” phrase on our website or print materials and wondered what it’s specifically in reference to. This year we have softly started an initiative encouraging woodworkers to use reclaimed wood and found materials for some of their projects. Although fresh kiln hardwood is not evil by any means, the truth is however, the world has a major waste problem and if we can save an old desk from the landfill, we’re doing earth and future generations a favor. All of our products work great on new builds, but they’re equally as effective on a heavily used cutting board, a scuffed up desk, or century old floor boards pulled from an old railcar.

Have you ever considered using reclaimed materials? Here’s where you can start.

  1. Get creative and start drawing up ideas of what you could build using reclaimed materials. Aged wood tends to spark fresh ideas and is insanely enjoyable to work with. We know from experience, we got our start refinishing old furniture using early Walrus Oil recipes.
  2. Check with your local hardwood supplier to see if they stock barn wood or vintage hardwoods. If they don’t, ask if they have a source to bring it in.
  3. While you’re looking for that perfectly worn flannel shirt at your favorite resell store, browse the furniture department. I once found a collection of vintage school chairs for $1 each and bought every one of them. The seats and backing were hickory and the frame was galvanized steal. After giving them a creative touch I sold them a few weeks later for $30 a pop.
  4. Don’t forget to make a profit, as shown in the example above. It’s easy to get carried away and spend more time than normal using old materials, so factor in all your hard working hours. One of a kind reclaimed pieces are expected to cost a bit more, so when pricing don’t be afraid to break into the 4-digit realm ($1,000+).
  5. Make it an adventure by checking demolition sites of old buildings for things you could use such as beams, floor boards, doors, etc. I once scored flooring from a 60 year old school building for next to nothing and hauled out loads of windows for free. Get permission first and don’t just hop fences. Bring a respiratory mask, heavy-duty gloves, and a good crow bar.

All of this is sustainable woodworking at it’s best and has a positive impact on the world. It’s also a whole other way to stretch your creative capabilities.

Let’s First Build Community

In corporate America, disconnect from the business and customer is all too common. Customer needs are ignored, dissatisfaction goes unnoticed, and demands are not heard. The corporate managers hide behind a mysterious black curtain and customer service is outsourced to contract labor who know little to nothing about the product. It is a sad reality we all have to live with and it’s a stigma we tirelessly try to upend.

When we launched Walrus Oil a little less than 2 years ago, we had nothing more than a name, a product, and a bit of ambition. Although today we now have over a dozen products and many more in the works, what’s more important than anything else, today we have community. From the moment we launched, we were welcomed into a dynamic community of artists who share work, plans, and tips with each other, and ask for nothing in return. What we also see across this beautiful landscape is humble hearts of gold and absolute devotion. And we are grateful to be thriving in this corner of the world.

As founder of Walrus Oil I receive a lot of messages from people just getting started with various businesses and I’m often asked “where do I begin” or “what should I do first”. From here on out my only answer will be this… “first build community”. Because I’m now certain community is the anchor that holds us all together. Without it, most of us wouldn’t be here, including Walrus Oil. As we continue to scale and widen our reach, there are a few things we are determined to protect and maintain: integrity, authenticity, spirit, but our sense of belonging within a community will always be unrivaled. Mark these words and hold us to it.

If you feel lost, out of place, creatively stagnant, too new, too old, or what have you… your answer is this, find your community, the place where you are lifted up, and where you can be both a learner and a teacher.