Search Results for "downed"

Trees Downed in 2012 Storm Crafted into Stand for Local Bell

Urban wood bell stand

The red oak and black walnut bell stand, now a permanent part of the West Chicago City Museum’s collection, is surrounded from left to right by Tom Tawney, Lorenzo Covarrubias, Fernando Ramirez, Jeff Perkis, Mayor Ruben Pineda and Sara Phalen.

West Chicago, Illinois: August 28, 2015 Downed trees from the storm that hit Reed-Keppler Park in West Chicago on July 1, 2012 continue to give back to the community more than three years later through the talents of architect, woodworker and former resident Jeff Perkis.

The City of West Chicago commissioned Perkis to create a lasting legacy that celebrates the heritage and culture of many of its residents It will play a major role in the upcoming Mexican Independence Day Parade and Celebration, to be held downtown on Sunday, September 13, 2015.

A four-foot tall, solid red oak bell stand with walnut accents, sturdy enough to hold the approximately 80-pound train bell, which has been at the center of the spirited historical re-enactment of El Grito de la Independencia or the Cry of Independence, was built with the repurposed wood that Perkis and his uncle, Ron Myers, milled a couple of months after the storm.

As a member of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team (WUT), as well as a member of the Chicago Furniture Design Association (CFDA), Perkis is a specialist in sustainable design utilizing urban wood. He created Out of the Woods after the storm hit and worked with architecture students and Associate Professor Paul Pettigrew at the Illinois Institute of Technology to design and fabricate various pieces of extraordinary works of art.

Perkis became aware of the need for the bell stand following an introduction to West Chicago resident, Tom Tawney, who also has strong ties to the community. Tawney’s father-in-law, Lorenzo Covarrubias, emigrated from Mexico in 1957 as one of the first Mexican families to settle in West Chicago. He holds the distinction of being West Chicago’s Patron de la Campana, or Patron of the Bell, and has offered the use of his bell for West Chicago’s El Grito for the past 23-years. However, over the years, its makeshift stand was worn and in need of replacement.

The two men agreed to work together on a design, and the City agreed to underwrite the cost of the labor and materials to build a new stand.  From a design standpoint, the decision was made to replicate some of the styles already existing within the community, particularly the Arts and Crafts style of many of the homes in the area. Perkis also referenced work done by architect brothers Greene and Greene, and ended up translating elements of these designs into his own. His fine craftsmanship and woodworking skills produced a stand that is strikingly beautiful and worthy of the momentous historic event that it celebrates.

The project has come to have great significance for Perkis, and he became introspective recently about its meaning for him. “I grew up playing baseball, football and soccer at Reed-Keppler Park. I spent a large part of my childhood in that Park”.

He continues to wonder from which exact tree this wood may have come, and if he had seen it in the Park before? “I found myself reminiscing about many childhood memories. I felt, and still do feel, very proud that I was able to give this wood, from such a devastating event, a chance to continue to be enjoyed by the community. I am happy that not all the wood from that storm was turned into firewood or mulch, and I hope this will help others to see that there is opportunity for a higher use of wood from our own backyards.”

Perkis presented the new bell stand to the West Chicago City Museum on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, surrounded by fellow residents Tom Tawney and Lorenzo Covarrubias, Mayor Ruben Pineda, Museum Director Sara Phalen and Mexican Cultural Center DuPage’s President and event organizer, Fernando Ramirez. Perkis plans on using some of the saw dust and wood chips he collected from the project to make paper on which he will print the details of the stand’s creation so that it will “tell its story” for future generations. The stand will become part of the City’s permanent collection and remain at the Museum when it is not being used at the City event.



IllinoisUrbanWood’s Top 10 Countdown

By Rich Christianson

The eyes have it!

The final votes are in and the Top 10 most-viewed posts on IllinoisUrbanWood.org are known.

Activity on the Illinois Urban Wood Utilization Team’s website finished 2016 with 7, 349 visitors who clicked through 17,412 pages. Both of these totals are more than double that of 2015.

Here’s a quick reverse-order recap of the most popularly viewed posts last year.

10. Video: Tom The Sawyer Mills Black Walnut for Figure
Tom Hogard, aka Tom The Sawyer, of Eudora, KS, demonstrates how to maximize the figure of logs with “flaws” including sweep or crotches. Read more.

9. Woodworking Enthusiasts Get a Taste of Urban Wood
Woodworkers of all ages get an opportunity to craft products from wood salvaged from Chicago Park District trees. Read more.

8. Historic Bell Tolls for Urban Wood Display
Jeff Perkis used red oak milled from one of the downed trees to create a display stand for a historic train bell. It will become a permanent exhibit at the West Chicago City Museum. Read more.

7.  Illinois Sawmill Directories Updated
The Forestry Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently released a pair of newly updated sawmill directories, one featuring custom sawyers and the other dedicated to stationary sawmilling operations. Read more.

6. Passions Flow at IWF Urban Wood Seminar
Three presenters – representing three very diverse business models – chorused their praise for urban wood during a unique seminar held Aug. 26 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Read more.

5. Diverse Audience Unites at Urban Wood Event
Arborists, foresters, sawyers, architects, woodworkers and other professionals came together at the Bringing the Urban Wood Full Circle Conference to learn and share ideas for propelling the urban wood market. Read more.

4. Couple ‘Sacrificed Our Entire Lives’ for Urban Wood Business
Rob and Zoe Bocik left the 9-to-5 rat race six years ago to pursue their dream of milling lumber and crafting furniture, jewelry and other products from local trees otherwise destined for the chipper or landfill. Read more.

3. Arborist Pursues His Passion with Urban Wood Start-up
Dobnick Timberworks has joined the Illinois urban wood  movement, opening up a lumber and custom wood products business in Oswego, IL. Read more.

2. Urban Wood Products Showcase Winners Strut Their Stuff
The Urban Wood Products Showcase, featured at the March 2016 Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, shined a bright spotlight on the design creativity of the entries that ranged from tables and wall hangings to a bell stand and soccer ball all crafted from urban wood. Read more.

1. First Release: Urban Wood User’s Resource Guide
A new national directory dedicated to helping connect tree care professionals, sawyers, woodworkers and other urban wood enthusiasts was recently released by the Urban Forest Full Circle Network. Read more.



Urban Lumber Company Thrives on KC Woods

urban-lumber-company-timberking-sawmillUrban Lumber Company has been giving a large quantity and wide variety of felled and fallen trees in and around Kansas City a second chance since 2005.

As of October 2016, Urban Lumber Company’s website claims it has recycled a total of 638,062 pounds of wood and sawn 90,886 board feet.

As owner Tim O’Neill told the Kansas City Star in an article published April 8, “There’s a unique and wild look to this lumber, particularly in the variety of species found around town.” Woods cited in the articled include ash, elm, hickory, locust, maple, mulberry, oak, pecan, sweet gum, sycamore, tree of heaven and walnut.

O’Neill, a former exhibition designer, was inspired to found Urban Wood Lumber after having a hackberry tree downed by an ice storm sawed into logs. “I’d been spending lots of money on lumber, and all of a sudden I had a large pile. It was super cheap and easy to find, since dead trees are everywhere. It was interesting to work with, too,” he told the Star.

O’Neill processes logs on a TimberKing sawmill and also invested in a dry kiln. Customers include local custom woodworkers, homeowners and woodworking hobbyists.

Visit Urban Lumber Company’s website.



Diverse Audience Unites at Urban Wood Event

ILWUT_LogoBy Rich Christianson

Arborists, foresters, sawyers, architects, woodworkers and other professionals came together at the Bringing the Urban Wood Full Circle Conference to learn and share ideas for propelling the urban wood market.

The unique conference focused on converting community trees into lumber and wood products. It was presented by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team March 18 at Hamburger University on McDonald’s corporate campus in Oak Brook, IL. Sponsors included Horigan Urban Forest Products, the Wisconsin Arborist Association, Sterling Tree Solutions Meyers Woodworking & Lumber, Graf Tree Care.

While most of these diverse conference delegates hailed from the greater Chicago area, others traveled from southern Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska and even Ontario, Canada.

Among the many highlights:

  • Edith Makra, chairperson of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team, kicked off the conference noting that there is an estimated 3 to 4 billion board feet of lumber potentially available from the nation’s urban forests. Capitalizing on this greatly underutilized raw material would require local markets throughout the country to strengthen their links in the chain from land managers and tree care services to sawyers and woodworkers.
  • Ian Brown, urban forestry district manager for Milwaukee, discussed how Milwaukee is diverting 100% of its logs to local sawmill and in the process reducing disposal costs by 50%.
  • In a similar vein, John Lough, senior city forester of Chicago, shared the Windy City’s urban log removal and reclamation plan.
  • Separate presentations by August Hoppe, president of Hoppe Tree Services and the Urban Wood Lab in Milwaukee, and Jessica Simons, coordinator of Michigan’s Urbanwood Project based in Ann Arbor shared different models for developing retail outlets for urban wood lumber, slabs and wood products.
  • Three architects participated in the conference. Laureen Blissard, principal of LTBL Envirotecture presented how urban wood fits into sustainability building programs including LEED. Jeff Perkis, senior project manager for Chipman Architecture Design and owner of Story Wood, recounted how dozens of hardwood trees downed in a freakish 2011  storm in West Chicago were salvaged and turned into furniture and other wood  products. One of the most recent is a bell stand Perkins made for the West Chicago museum. Architect Paul Pettigrew, also an associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, showed more than 100 slides of projects made by his students of his popular furniture and architecture class over the years.
  • Ken Wier, owner of i2i Design, told the audience why he loves making furniture from urban wood because of its rich and often unpredictable splendor compared to hardwoods harvested from traditional forests. Wier’s discerning customers include Starbucks, Mariano’s and Freshii.
  • Mike Dimitroff, manager of art initiatives for the Chicago Park District, showcased a variety of projects that use wood reclaimed from city parks including the Bears Den at Solider Field and at CPD community wood shops. Dimitroff was joined by Jim Semelka, urban forestry advocate for Sterling Tree Solutions, to discuss how the public and private company partner on urban wood tree reclamation programs.
  • Dimitroff also showed how thermally modified urban wood is being used as a decking material for the CPD’s harbor dock. Brian Mitalo, regional salesperson for Tourneslol Siteworks, which makes outdoor furniture and more from thermally modified lumber TML), agreed that there is great potential for converting urban wood into TML.
  • Prof. Dan Cassens, wood extension specialist at Purdue University, pulled double duty. First he lectured on how urban wood sellers can compete with traditional hardwood lumber and wood products by not only being novel, but by being nimble. Cassens also conducted a live portable sawmill demonstration using logs generously donated by Ron Meyers of Meyers Woodworking & Lumber of Batavia, IL.

Rounding out the event were plenty of networking opportunities, including a networking featuring table top exhibits and more than a dozen furniture and other items displayed in the Urban Wood Products Showcase.

The Bringing the Full Circle Conference was preceded by an all-day Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop instructed by Prof. Dan Cassens, wood products extension specialist at Purdue University.

THANK YOU CONFERENCE SPONSORS & PARTNERS!

Horigan Urban Forest Products

ASH LEVEL SPONSOR

 

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Sterling-Tree-Services-Logo

ASH LEVEL SPONSOR

 

Basic Sponsorship

MEYERS WOODWORKING & LUMBER

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ASH LEVEL SPONSOR

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ASH LEVEL SPONSOR

Elkhart-Wood-Logo

CONFERENCE PARTNER

American Society of Landscape Architects

CONFERENCE PARTNER

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International Woodworking Fair

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IL-Sustainable-Technology-Center-logo-1

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PRIMARY CONFERENCE SPONSOR

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ORGANIZER: ILLINOIS WOOD UTILIZATION TEAM



Historic Bell Tolls for Urban Wood Display

By Rich Christianson

It’s only appropriate that Jeff Perkis’ first commissioned custom woodworking project was made with urban wood salvaged from a vicious July 2012 storm that severely crippled nearly 200 old-growth trees in Reed Kepler Park of West Chicago, IL.

Perkis used red oak milled from one of the downed trees to create a display stand for a historic train bell. It will become a permanent exhibit at the West Chicago City Museum.

A graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Perkis is an architect by trade but has taken up woodworking in a basement shop of his home in Wheaton. “The thing that happened at Reed Keppler Park and all of the trees that were storm damaged really kind of pulled me into urban wood and that’s become my woodworking niche,” Perkis said. “We were able to reclaim a lot of this urban wood for a higher purpose instead of seeing it turned into firewood or mulch.”

Perkis was commissioned by West Chicago to design and fabricate the stand for the brass bell owned by Lorenzo Coverarrulias, a long-time resident of West Chicago. Coverarrulias grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico near the Southern Pacific rail yard. The sound of train bells has always been like music to his ears. He purchased the 80-pound, 1-foot diameter bell from a Lombard salvage yard in in the early 1960s.

Trains and train bells also reserve a special place in West Chicago’s heritage. The town was once called Turner Junction among others and home to a large switching yard in serving as a major hub for freight trains that came in and out of Chicago.

Coverallulias’ bell has been displayed at West Chicago’s annual Railroad Days festival several times over the years. “In the past they either rented stands or just used makeshift 2x4s to display it,” Perkis said. “For a while they have wanted a stand built for it. Knowing that there was a log of wood available from the storm, it just seemed like a good idea that the stand be built from that wood and that the bell would be kept at the museum in West Chicago.”

Arts and Crafts’ Inspired
Perkis designed the 4-foot-wide by 4-foot-eight-inch-high stand in an arts and crafts style. “I tried to take some cues from some of the historical buildings of West Chicago. I also drew inspiration from the famous architect firm Greene & Green who were big in the arts and crafts movement around the turn of the last century.”

Perkis said red oak was a good match for the project. “Red oak is a beautiful, sturdy wood and is a favorite among furniture makers. It has a great smell when working with it,” he said. Perkis added black walnut accents to the stand. The display was expertly finished by Ken Wier, owner of i2i Design of Wood Dale. i2i specializes in the manufacture of custom furniture made with urban wood.

Both the red oak and black walnut lumber was milled by Perkis’ uncle Ron Meyers, owner of Meyers Woodworking & Lumber of Batavia. (Meyers Woodworks is among dozens of custom sawmills included in the Illinois Small Sawmill directory.)

Meyers also supplied lumber salvaged from the savage storm to the ITT Technology Architecture & Furniture course taught by Associate Professor Paul Pettigrew. Perkis, who helped instruct some of those classes, estimated that some 200 objects have been made from the reclaimed urban wood over the last three years.

“I grew up playing baseball, football and soccer at Reed Keppler Park,” Perkis said. “When I was working on the stand, I found myself wondering which tree exactly this wood may have come from. I felt and still do feel very proud that I was able to give this wood from such a devastating event a chance to continue to be enjoyed by the community. I hope this will help others see that there is an opportunity for a higher use of wood from our own backyards.”

Read related press release.



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Urban Forest Products Alliance

The Tri-State Urban Wood Marketing and Certification Collaborative, of which the Illinois Wood Utilization Team was a member, held a series of three roundtables involving key players in the wood products, urban forestry, government, and green building and products sectors. As a result of these sessions, industry, government, and non-profit leaders came together as the Urban Forest Products Alliance (UFPA) with the mission of advancing the highest and best use of the products of sustainably-managed urban forests and the vision of putting all wood from urban trees to good use. For more information on UFPA, please join the Urban Forest Products Alliance LinkedIn group, Urban Forest Products Alliance or visit the Urban Forest Products Alliance website.