Category: News

Four Urban Wood Firms Snare Wood-Mizer Awards

Four enterprises recognized in Wood-Mizer LLC’s 2016 Business Best Contest are participating in their respective local urban wood movements.

The competition included first, second and third place winners in each of three categories. Entrants were judged on business practices, ethics, organization, and maintaining high-quality standards throughout their operations. Winners shared in $12,250 in prize credits and were profiled in The Wood-Mizer Way magazine.

Kamuela Hardwoods of Kamuela, HI, won first place in the Hydraulic Mills category. The company is going against the grain in offering lumber and specialty slabs from salvaged trees as an alternative to building materials that are predominantly imported. Kamuela Hardwoods’ customers make dining tables, bar tops, flooring, mouldings and trim, fence posts and even ukuleles.

J & M Logging & Sawmill of Fair Grove, MO, won first place for Manual Sawmills. Jacob Whitehead, who also possesses carpentry skills, operates a one-man sawmill operation focused on milling local trees.

The Wood Cycle of Oregon, WI, tied for third place in the Hydraulic Sawmill category. The Wood Cycle both mills and sells lumber and fabricates furniture, cabinets and products from urban wood. Owner Paul Morrison authored the book, Tree to Table: Emergence of the Urban Wood Movement.”

Knotthead Custom Sawing and Fabworx of Ceres, CA, tied for third place in the Hydraulic Sawmill category. Many of the company’s projects involve milling a homeowner’s cherished tree into lumber and then crafting finished products from it. The Knotthead profile was written by Jennfer Alger, who spoke at the urban wood seminar presented at the 2016 International Woodworking Fair and who wrote a blog posted on the IL WUT website: Let’s Make Urban Wood a Household Name.

Read about all of the Business Best Contest winners.





BY JENN ALGER Today, about half of Knotthead’s

business is custom sawing and the other

half a mixture of the sale of slabs and

finished products including Adirondack

furniture, finished outdoor and indoor

tables, birdhouses, live edge rustic

outbuildings, and a whole lot more. Many

of their projects are a combination of

the custom sawing and finished products,

where they turn people’s trees into beautiful

finished products for them to treasure. “All

of the wood is reclaimed locally, cut

into lumber and slabs and sold back

to people in our community,” said

Charles. “People love to come buy wood

with a local story and keep the wood living

on as a nice project.”


J & M Logging and Sawmill in the

southwest Missouri town of Fair

Grove has built his one-man business from

a startup company to a profitable and

successful operation.


City Forest Products Slates April 28 Launch Party

City-Forest-Products-Accent-TableCity Forest Products LLC (CFP), described by its principal as “a new social enterprise that creates value from urban woods,” will host a launch party 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday, April 28 at Standing Passengers, 1458 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago.

According to CFP founder Curtis Witek, “Our mission is to revitalize communities through the manufacturing and sale of sustainable products crafted from salvaged urban woods.”

CFP is based in Chicago’s West Town area. Witek is actively seeking local partners engaged in restoration and community development work, including woodworkers and marketers.

In its early stage of development, CFP’s products include accent tables, cutting boards and cheese boards all crafted from wood salvaged from local trees. These products will be sold through CFP’s website and at “various festival events around Chicago.”

CFP pledges to “dedicate 5% of our sales proceeds into a ‘Restoration Fund,’ which we reinvest in on-the-ground ecological restoration and community development projects.”

The launch party is meant to introduce CFP to other urban wood stakeholders. Admission to the celebration is free. Click here to RSVP.

For additional information about CFP, visit or contact Witek at

Reclaimed Ash Furniture in Iowa Home Show Expo Spotlight


Furniture made from trees infested by the emerald ash borer was recently showcased at the Home & Remodeling Show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The Des Moines Register reported that the solid wood furnishings were crafted by Aronson Woodworks, a local custom woodworking business owned by Clay and Megan Aronson. According to the Register’s story, the Aronsons “stumbled across the idea to use ash wood to create furniture about three years ago.”

“We started experimenting with ash wood because it’s really inexpensive at the lumber yard,” Megan Aronson told the newspaper. “A small craftsman is always looking to create something that doesn’t cost a lot of money, and the qualities of ash wood are tremendous for furniture.”

In addition to creating custom furniture, Aronson has a small sawmill and plans to add a dry kiln. The company’s products are displayed at three furniture showrooms in Clive, IA.

Read The Des Moines Register’s article.


U.S. Forest Service Strategizes Woody Biomass Utilization

Woody-Biomass-Utilization-PublicationThe U.S. Forest Service offers a variety of resources for woody biomass utilization, including a 22-page downloadable publication. The Forest Service’s strategy includes promoting and offering guidance on the removal of woody biomass from federal and private lands to achieve “a variety of critical benefits.”

Goals of the Forest Service’s woody biomass program include:

  • Identify and build partnerships through collaboration;
  • Develop and deploy the needed science and technology;
  • Help develop new and expanded markets for bioenergy and bio-based products; and
  • Facilitate a reliable and sustainable supply of biomass.

Learn more about Woody Biomass Utilization.


Urban Wood Utilization Webcast Set for April 11

Prof. Dan Cassens conducts a sawmill demo.

Prof. Dan Cassens conducts a sawmill demo.

The agenda for the biannual Urban Wood Webcast has been set. The webcast, which will feature updates of urban wood activities in the Midwest and other parts of the country, is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, April 11.

The webcast is presented by the Wood Education and Resource Center, a service of the Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry of the U.S. Forest Service.



Urban Wood Utilization Webcast Agenda

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern

Focus: Recent urban wood utilization activities.

1:00 pm – Introduction and Overview
— Ed Cesa, US Forest Service, Wood Education and Resource Center

1:10 p.m. – Introducing Urban Wood To Design Professionals and Update on the Four State Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle Project
Dwayne Sperber, Wudeward Urban Forest Products

     Full Circle Project state updates:

– IL Update, Richard Christianson

– MI Update, Jessica Simons

– MO Update, Russell Hinnah

– WI Update, Sabina Dhungana

1:55 pm – DC Urban Wood Utilization Efforts

– Brian LeCouteur, DC Council of Governments

2:10 pm – Street Trees as a Source of Urban Timber in Washington, DC

– Alex Grieve, Graduate Student, Virginia Tech

2:40 pm – Firewood Processing Productivity Study Update and Upcoming Workshop 

– Harry Watt, North Carolina State University Wood Products Extension 

2:50 pm – VA Urban Wood Group Update

– Joe Lehnen, Virginia Department of Forestry

3:00 pm – Final comments and date for next webcast  

Next Webcast: 1:00 pm Eastern, Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hobby Becomes a Post-Retirement Urban Wood Business

What started as something to do for retirement has grown into a lucrative custom woodworking business for Alan Runde of Batavia, IL.

Runde recently reached out to the Illinois Wood Utilization Team to share photos of some of his work. “I was so busy getting my shop up and running the past five years I did not have a lot of free time to be part of the social side of woodworking and reaching out to people and organizations like yours,” Runde said.

“My retirement hobby has become a small design build/one-man shop ‘business,.'” Runde added. “It really is a well paying hobby that goes to my daughter’s college education fund.”

Runde started his woodworking business in December 2012. His specialty is Arts and Crafts style design, but, “I also favor the urban industrial/barn wood design build projects,” he said.

Clients include a several commercial contractors for whom Runde does specialty work like doors, table tops and sales counters. “I also have a great loyal base of prior customers who were referred by word of mouth and reputation.” Yet another source of business are clients Runde referred to as “drive up customers.” They are mostly women who want a custom piece that they have seen on Pintrest or HGTV or something like that. They are my best advertising.”

Runde’s go-to source for milled and kiln-dried urban wood is fellow Batavia resident Ron Meyers of Meyers Lumber & Woodworking. He’s been purchasing urban harvested lumber from Meyers for about 10 years. ” I have been heating my home first, and now the shop, from Ron’s scrap pile since he opened up his business on River Street;” Runde said.

Runde credits his father for educating him about the benefits of wood recycling. “My father taught me about reclaimed lumber 30 years ago and how valuable and rare some lumber was. He was years ahead of the trend.”

Runde’s favorite urban wood is white oak. “It’s the classic Arts and Crafts species of choice from the last century. It is also our state tree,” Runde noted. “I love the smell of oak as I work with it. I love the classic ray and flecks of high-grade quarter sawn white Oak. Ron Meyers has some of the best stock in the Midwest since the area has a great gift of old-growth white oak that was not clear cut when the settlers came through.”

So what does Runde like best about using urban wood? “I like the whole tree to furniture movement that’s taking place now in the artisan-inspire shops. I love that clients get to see a tree on their property go through the whole process from harvesting to milling, drying, designing and building something from it. I also like that they get a hand crafted piece of art furniture  for future generations of their family. It makes me feel happy to be part of the equation.

Contact Runde at

Urban Wood Waste Powers St. Paul’s Energy Grid


When it comes to generating energy from urban wood biomass, St. Paul, MN, is way ahead of the curve.

For two decades, St. Paul Cogeneration has provided heat and electricity to area consumers. The main fuel source is urban wood residuals to the tune of about 50 truckload deliveries of wood chips each day. The vast majority of the chips are gathered from within 60 miles of the cogeneration plant. According to St. Paul Cogeneration’s website, sources include storm-damaged trees, tree trimmings, land clearing, clean construction residues such as pallets, habitat restoration and municipal and private tree and brush sites.

Approximately 280,000 tons of urban wood residues are used each year, most of which would have wound up in landfills.

The plant can simultaneously produce 65 megawatts of heat and up to 33 megawatts of electricity. Approximately 25 megawatts of this total – sufficient to power 20,000 homes – is supplied to the local electric utility.

In 2013, St. Paul Cogeneration was the only American project to be recognized in a recent report on the potential of district energy by the United Nations Environment Program.

Learn more at

Treecycle America Entrepreneur Forges an Urban Wood Network

Treecycle AmericaUsually when a tree care service, sawmill or custom woodworking business takes a shining to urban wood, the owner sets out to forge a network to sustain his business.

Treecycle America of Charlotte, NC, takes the opposite approach. The company was launched to create an urban wood network of tree care, sawmill and woodworking vendors to put felled and fallen trees in the greater Charlotte area to their best possible use. The company’s website proclaims that Treecycle America is a “Certified Urban Forestry & Local Marketplace. A collaborative network of certified architects, designers, developers, municipalities, arborists, sawmills, woodworkers, and makers embracing the common goal of using urban trees to their fullest potential.”

One of the novelties of Treecycle America’s Market, is its TreeID chain of custody system. It allows consumers to view the map and history of the trees used to create products. The product mix includes kiln-dried lumber, live edge slabs, furniture, fireplace mantels, DIY kits and handmade artisan crafts.

Damon Barron, co-founder of Treecycle America, was a featured speaker at the 2015 TEDx conference in Charlotte. The TED conferences are infamous for featuring speakers at the forefront of the convergence of Technology, Entertainment and Design. Each speaker is required to present their topic in 18 minutes or less. Barron accomplished his spiel in less than 12 minutes based on the video below.

Barron, who accumulated more than 15 years in commercially forested lumber and wood products, said, “I see a vision to the future of 10 billion inhabitants and the need to pay more attention to the local resource at hand, regardless where that might be.”

Learn more about Treecycle America at

Indiana Tree Service Branches Out into Custom Urban Wood Furniture

Vine and Branch Furniture of Carmel, IN, is the featured cover story of the December/January issue of Hamilton County Business.

Vine and Branch Furniture represents the latest evolution of Vine and Branch, a tree service established in 1976. The company is led by Jud Scott, a registered consulting arborist with the American Society of Consulting Arborists.

Read the story about how Vine and Branch Furniture brings “New Life for Dead Trees.”

Learn more about the company at

Repurposing Urban Wood Waste as Biomass

Wood-Chip-LandfillForest2Market recently posted an interesting article worth a read by all managers of urban wood, landfills and biomass operations.

“Urban Wood Waste: Are You Overlooking a Viable Feedstock?” delves into the potential economic benefits of burning urban wood waste to create power or heat instead of landfilling.

The article states, “Current economics favor funneling wood waste into the market, whether the market is for fuel, mulch or other uses. This is because the disposal of wood waste into a landfill adds zero net value. Rather, introducing wood waste into the market adds value as it can become a feedstock for a biomass power facility, for example.”

The Forest2Market article also looks at reasons for various stakeholders to look at using urban wood waste as biomass. For example, here’s some considerations for a landfill operation to make the shift:

  1. The landfill’s need for daily or intermediate cover (cover dirt is expensive and often difficult to find)
  2. State waste reduction goal credits the landfill might secure by using the wood waste for daily or intermediate cover
  3. A desire to save valuable landfill space for materials which have no alternative disposal options
  4. An end-market consumer with feedstock demand requirements.

Read the full article at Forest2Market.