By Rich Christianson
Bernhard Woodwork Ltd. puts the “high” in “high-end.”
The Northbrook, IL, company is among Chicagoland’s biggest and brightest architectural woodworking shops.
Mark Bernhard, the second generation owner of Bernhard Woodwork, graciously hosted the November meeting of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team. As a decided bonus, Bernhard led a tour of his manufacturing facility where projects ranging from display cases for Tiffany’s and Macy’s to custom woodwork for a Trump Tower condo and the renovation of a historic hotel were in full swing.
Bernhard Woodwork is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The company’s specialty is meticulous crafting of veneers from the careful selection of flitches and creation of perfectly created veneer sheets to layup and finishing. It’s this demanding attention to detail that founder Pius “Pete” Bernhard, Mark’s father, learned in Europe and brought with him to Chicago.
But while the art of veneering is its crown jewel, Bernhard Woodwork is also highly proficient in the use of hardwoods, wood composites, glass, metals and other materials specified by designers for their projects.
IL WUT members got to witness this attention to detail first-hand, while also seeing some high-tech machinery in action including a Heesemann widebelt sander that can process the thinnest of veneers without sanding through the veneer and a Komo CNC router.
Bernhard took particular delight in showing off his newest “toy,” a new Höcker Polytechnik energy management system and dust collector purchased from 02 Filtration. The system automatically shut-offs air flow from machines when they are not in operation. The result has been an amazing 90 percent energy savings in the plant, Bernhard said.
During the meeting, held in Bernhard Woodwork’s luxurious conference room, IL WUT members continued hammering out plans for the “Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle” conference set for March 18, 2016 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL. Among actions taken at the meeting, the committee voted unanimously to adopt a pentagon-shaped logo to brand and promote the conference. The logo shows five stages of urban forest renewal from removing a tree to turn into lumber for wood products through replanting.