IWF Urban Wood Seminar Delivered with a Tinge of Irony

As I went about last-minute preparations leading up to welcoming woodworkers to the August 24 urban wood seminar, I had to laugh.

Standing at the podium, I pulled a red and silver flash drive from my pocket containing all four of the panelist’s presentations. As I began inserting it into the laptop connected to the projector, I noted the device bore the logo “Allsteel,” The irony that I had uploaded our urban wood PowerPoints onto the thumb drive pf this metal office furniture manufacturer randomly fished from my collection did not escape me.

After briefly pausing to chuckle, I put on my game face and charged ahead with my opening remarks introductions of the expert panel representing three distinct urban wood utilization groups: Jennifer Alger, Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Wood on the West Coast; Joe Lehnen, Virginia Urban Wood Group of the Southeast; and Dwayne Sperber, Urban Wood Network of the Midwest.

The 90-minute presentation was well received by the audience of professional woodworkers attending the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. They came from coast to coast and Canada. Some had experience using urban wood in their products, others were curious to learn more about how they might do so. A few even expressed interest in trying to rev up urban wood networks in their home states where none currently existed.

The program had the support of lead sponsor Wood-Mizer, plus Richelieu Hardware, Dynabrade and Safety Speed Manufacturing. All four companies are long-time exhibitors of IWF, North America’s largest woodworking event.

Read more about the seminar, “The Urban Wood Revolution Is Now! Come Join the Movement,” in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also featured in this issue

Professional woodworkers are an important link in the chain to grow demand for urban wood. This is why being able to take to the stage of huge industry events like IWF, and benefit from all of the publicity that surrounds it, is an important component of the Urban Wood Network’s outreach activities to spur greater awareness of urban woods potential. Earlier this summer, the story of how Riverside, IL, repurposed an historic 160-year-old oak tree felled by high winds into custom desks for its trustees, was published in Woodshop News. The national publication is circulated to more than 50,000 print and digital readers.

Sam Sherrill, the dean of urban wood, helped examine the greener side of urban wood products. His research done in tandem with Steve of Dovetail Partners, quantified the benefits of furniture and other products made with urban wood to sequester carbon, thus reducing the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Reminders
The second installment of the Urban Wood Network’s How To Do Urban Wood webinar series – Urban Lumber – How to Produce and Market It – takes place at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, August 29.

The Wisconsin Urban Forest Fest is scheduled for September 15 at the Lynden Sculpture Garden in Milwaukee.

The lights are always on for receiving your urban wood stories, photos and experiences to share with the Illinois Urban Wood Update subscriber base.

Enjoy the issue!

Rich Christianson

Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org

P.S. Joe Lehnen texted me to let me know he had the “Allsteel” thumb drive, which I had left in the seminar room. I replied that he should hold onto it and that perhaps 10 years from now it would be a valuable collectable of the Urban Wood Movement!

READ THE AUGUST ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE