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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.



A Look Back at 2018’s Most Viewed Posts

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The polls are closed and the winners are known. Here are the Top 10 most viewed posts at illinoisurbanwood.org for 2018.

  1. Urban Wood Network Announces ‘How-to Do Urban Wood’ Webinar Series
  2. Chicago Tree Project Continues to Transform Dead Trees into Sculptures
  3. How Much Is Your Log Worth?
  4. UWN to Present Free Urban Wood Seminar at IWFF 2018
  5. Retired Teacher Focuses on Growing Urban Wood Business
  6. Watch Tom the Sawyer Transform an Urban Honey Locust Log
  7. Join the Urban Wood Network Movement
  8. Book Chronicles Urban Tree to Table Movement
  9. Q&A with Erika Horigan of Horigan Urban Forest Products
  10. Story of Riverside’s Wind-Felled Oak Featured in Woodshop News

Top 10 Posts of 2017

Top 10 Posts of 2016



Urban Wood Network Slates ‘Urban Wood Toolkit’ Webinar for Jan. 30

Registration is open for the Urban Wood Toolkit Webinar, scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. The webinar is a free 90-minute presentation of the Urban Wood Network.

The Urban Wood Toolkit was created to walk users through the necessary components of building an urban wood use plan and establishing wood utilization efforts within a community. The Toolkit is designed to be used by municipal foresters, city managers, community volunteers or students and to arm them with information needed to advance their wood utilization plan.


Register for the Webinar Now

Urban forests can be sustainably managed from ‘seed to sawdust’ by capturing valuable urban forest products from urban trees that need to be removed. This webinar will show different models of full circle urban forest stewardship that are used to reclaim urban forest products from those felled trees, and what strategies have been employed to support the reclamation of those urban forest products.

The Urban Wood Toolkit is divided into six bulletins:

—  Bulletin #1: A Guide for Creating Urban Wood Utilization Plans

—  Bulletin #2: Building Organizational & Community Support for Urban Wood

—  Bulletin #3: Exploring Product Options for Urban Wood Utilization

Bulletin #4: Establishing an Urban Log Collection and Sorting Yard

—  Bulletin #5: Building Relationships with Wood Industry Partners

Bulletin #6: Recommended Resources for Building an Urban Wood Use Plan

The Urban Wood Toolkit was written by Jessica Simons of Verdant Stewardship and Margaret Miller of Spalted Banjo Consulting. With support from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Forest Resource Division Forest Utilization and Marketing Program (special thanks to Dave Neumann), the Sustainable Resources Alliance and the U.S. Forest Services Northeastern Area – State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program.

SPEAKERS
Author Margaret Miller and MDNR staff
will speak about the need for increasing urban wood utilization in Michigan and beyond and will walk participants through Bulletin #1.

Dave Neumann, Forest Utilization & Marketing Specialist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  Dave is a relative newcomer to the urban wood community, and has worked as a private land service forester and as a silviculturist for the DNR for 15 years before joining the wood use program.

Kevin Sayers, Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator, Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Kevin has worked as the Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator at the MDNR since 2002 where he administers the state urban forestry program at the MDNR out of Lansing. Kevin is a graduate of Michigan State University (2001) with a Master’s degree in Forestry. The urban forestry program provides technical, educational and financial assistance to communities and partners throughout the state to support a variety of urban forestry activities. Prior to working for the DNR, Kevin worked in the tree nursery industry, and with the municipal forestry program at the City of Lansing.

Margaret Miller, Spalted Banjo Consulting, MI. With a resume that ranges from championing the opening of an Urbanwood Marketplace within the City of Flint to chairing the City of Grand Rapids first ever Urban Wood Utilization Sub-Committee, Margaret views wood utilization as a vital management practice, obtainable to any community.  As a forester and consultant, Margaret is dedicated to viewing resource management through both an environmental and anthropocentric lens. Margaret received her degree in Forest Science from Michigan State University. As a consultant, for Spalted Banjo Consulting, Margaret strives to assist all of her clients by managing their projects and resources in the most effective and sustainable manner.

The Urban Wood Toolkit presentation is the latest in webinars presented by the Urban Wood Network. The UWN’s four-part “How to Do Urban Wood” Webinar Series is available for viewing on demand.

Access all UWN webinar presentations.

 



EAB Threatens 50,000 Trees in Lincoln, NE

The deadly emerald ash borer has made its way to Lincoln, NE, putting up to 50,000 public and private ash trees at risk.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the city has been bracing for the emerald ash borer’s arrival for the past three years. The wait ended when the EAB was cited within the city this fall.

According to the Journal Star, Lincoln has developed a 15 year plan to spend an estimated $22.8 million to combat the EAB invasion and its impact on 14,000 public ash trees. The plan includes removing about 1,000 ash trees a year and replacing them with other tree species. The city will spend about $10 million of the total to hire private tree care companies to remove ash trees with diameters of 18 inches or more.

The city has also held public hearings to outline its plan to residents. The newspaper reported that there is concern that many residents cannot afford to remove ash trees, which pose a safety hazard,  from their private property.

A related article by the Journal Star focused on a pair of workshops held in late November focused on utilizing some of the ash tree removals for lumber and wood products.

 

 

 

 



Dead Ash Trees Come to Life in Chainsaw Sculptures

 



Hoppe Tree Service Takes Full Circle Approach

Hoppe Tree Service of Milwaukee, WI, illustrates how a tree care specialist can branch out into producing urban lumber.

Hoppe Tree Service, is a full-service tree care company, that third generation owner August Hoppe says cut “our removed trees into firewood and not thinking anything of it.”

That approach changed in 2014, when Hoppe Tree Service purchased a launched the Urban Wood Lab and stated milling some of the logs of those removed urban trees into lumber. The company operates a retail store catering to professional custom woodworkers, hobbyists, etc.

In a 2017 interview with the Urban Wood Network, Hoppe said urban lumber sales were still a fraction of the company’s annual sales but had a great upside. “Right now it is still low, 3 to 5 percent of our business, but the company is growing at a fast rate. Within five years, I predict it will become between 5 and 10 percent of our revenue. Our goal would be to get to a place where we both remove trees and take on logs from other sources, becoming more of an aggregate of urban logs.”

To grow Urban Wood Lab’s business, Hoppe said, “We cross-brand to our existing client base. Telling the story of urban wood and providing the uniqueness of natural edge wood slabs are both working very well for us right now. We also participate in local networking and exhibiting events, such as home and garden shows. We market to anyone who has an appreciation for the uniqueness of wood.”

Read the full interview on UrbanWoodNetwork.org.

Learn more about the Urban Wood Lab.



Share Your Urban Wood Success Stories, Photos, Videos, etc.

A lot of the best news and events items, blogs and videos about urban wood posted on this website were submitted by sawyers, woodworkers and others who are proud to share their success stories.

And we’re more than pleased to do so!

Here are just a few examples of urban wood in action that came across the transom:

Retired Teacher Focuses on Growing Urban Wood Business

Read more.

Wisconsin Urban Forest Fest Set for Sept. 15

Read more. 

Watch Tom The Sawyer Transform an Urban Honey Locust Log

Read more.

 

There are as many potential story lines as there are urban trees. If you have one to share, we’d love to hear it. Simply send a photo or two and a short write up – even a few bullet points – about the tree and how and why it was transformed into something of value for its second life. We’ll do the rest and share your story with our audience on the IL WUT website and monthly Illinois Urban Wood newsletter.

Direct your urban tree news, events, videos, etc. to Rich Christianson at richc.illinoisurbanwood@gmail.com.



What’s That Urban Log Worth?

Scott Wunder, a custom sawyer and woodworker based in St. Charles, MO, also is a ‘wunderful’ blogger. Over the years he has tackled a variety of subjects, many of them relative to the world of urban wood. I think one of his most interesting and germane to the urban wood conversation is rhetorically titled, “What Is Your Log Worth?”

“The short answer,” Wunder writes, “is probably not as much as you had hoped, but you’re not here for the short answer, so I’ll give you the long one.”

If you’ve got a few minutes, it’s well worth the read.

Also featured in this issue
The Urban Wood Network concluded its four-part “How-to Do Urban Wood” webinar series with “Starting a State Urban Wood Network.” The presentation illustrates by example, featuring three speakers of Wisconsin Urban Wood. You can catch this and the other three webinars On-demand.

Since retiring from his professorship at Purdue University, Dan Cassens has more time to devote to Cassens Lumber, a custom sawmill operation in West Lafayette, IN. Cassens is the featured guest in one of the “Milling Your Own Lumber” video series presented by Poplar Woodworking in conjunction with Wood-Mizer.

Dovetail Partners, a forest consulting firm with strong ties to urban wood markets, invites urban wood enterprises to get listed on its “Buy Local – Wood Products Campaigns” map. Learn how in this edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Think urban wood for that special someone on your holiday list!

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Teami
info@illinoisurbanwood.org

READ THE NOVEMBER ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



How to Improve Yields Milling ‘Out of Shape Logs’

“There are opportunities for improving yield in out-of-shape hardwood saw logs. Good decision-making is important. To maximize the yield and economic value of the end products, have a plan before the log is opened up. Th ere are more critical decisions to be made on the outside of a log than the inside, because that is where most of the clear wood is located. Finally, maximizing yield has to be in balance with sawing times, and thus sawing costs.”

This is just a sampling of the advice served up in a 2014 report authored by Neal Bennett of the U.S Forest Service, Northern Research Station, in Princeton, WV. The title of the report is “Sawing Methods for Improving Lumber Yield Recovery of Out-of-Shape Hardwood Saw Logs.”

Here’s the abstract: “Not every saw log is straight and cylindrical in shape. In fact, logs are commonly out-of-round, tapered, or crooked, and often a combination of these shapes. Sawmill operators employ every means to recover as much yield as possible from each log. Yield recovery can be the difference between a profitable and a non-profitable log. There are opportunities for improving yield in out-of-shape hardwood saw logs while still maintaining lumber quality.”

The report includes milling strategies for logs that are out of round, tapered or crooked.

Read the report.



UWN Webinar #4: Starting a State Urban Wood Network

“Starting an Urban Wood Network,” the fourth in a series of informative presentations in the Urban Wood Networks’s “How to Do Urban Wood,” webinar series, is available on demand.

This webinar provides an overview of the industry, active networks, potential funding options, organizational structures, and guidance on how to start a state network.

Featured Presenters
Paul Morrison – The Wood Cycle, Oregon, WI.  Paul is owner of The Wood Cycle and a founding member of Wisconsin Urban Wood. Paul formed the Wood Cycle in 2001 with an intentional focus on what is now termed urban woodworking. The Wood Cycle employs seven full time workers; produces its own urban lumber, supplying its own custom shop, two Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations, and many other woodworkers in search of live edge slabs. Paul enjoys mentoring new urban wood businesses, with a goal of saving newly-networked members from many of the early struggles of his own experience.  Paul also authored “Tree to Table: Emergence of the Urban Wood Movement.”

Dwayne Sperber – Wudeward Urban Forest Products. Wudeward Urban Forest Products Owner Dwayne Sperber has always been interested in architecture, wood, and the environment. He was introduced to urban wood nearly twenty years ago, and with this intersect of his three passions, Dwayne immediately became a major advocate for its use. He has worked tirelessly to build awareness and markets for the abundance of wood being removed due to insect, disease, or circumstance. Dwayne is a founding member of Wisconsin Urban Wood, a nonprofit focused on building networks of people and businesses that links material streams and availability of quality urban wood products and services across Wisconsin and beyond. He also serves as the Wisconsin State Lead for the Urban Wood Network and is an appointed member of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council.

Matthew Staudenmaier – City of Eau Claire, WI. Matt is the Forestry Department Supervisor for the City of Eau Claire, WI, which is a member of Wisconsin Urban Wood. He leads a team of five full-time ISA Certified Arborists and is charged with the maintenance of over 32,000 street trees. Emerald Ash Borer and diversification of the city’s tree population will continue to be the major challenges facing his Department, along with constricted budgets and labor force. Finding creative solutions while maintaining public trust and respect has been vital to his success, including overseeing implementation of the city’s urban wood use agreement with Wisconsin Urban Wood which allows its members to utilize removed trees from the city’s urban wood yard.

Watch the Webinar Series

Webinar #1: Urban Tree Removals – Reducing Costs and Promoting Utilization

Webinar #2: Urban Lumber – How to Produce and Market It

Webinar #3: Producing Urban Wood Products – What, How and Where

Webinar #4: Starting a State Urban Wood Network