Tag: Tom The Sawyer

Making the Transition from Teaching to Running an Urban Wood Business

Skorup made this live-edge table from tornado-salvaged wood.

Steve Skorup of Sandwich, IL, may have retired from high school teaching, but he’s hardly retired. His new day job is harvesting urban trees to make into furniture and other wood products. He’s found diverse sources for urban logs and has made friends with a pair of local sawyers to mill them for his shop. Read more about Skorup and his urban wood business, SAWINC, in this edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also featured in this issue

Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products of Milwaukee, presented the first Wisconsin Urban Wood Utilization Award to the architects and builders of the DoMUS apartment complex. The award recognized the project’s use of Wisconsin Urban Wood shelving in 117 luxury apartments. His goal is to make this an annual award. Way to go, Dwayne!

We’ve featured several videos produced Tom Hogard of Eudora, KS, better known in urban wood circles as Tom The Sawyer, over the years. Tom recently began blogging on his website. In one of them he tackles the challenging question, “Can you cut your lumber costs significantly by patronizing your local sawmill?” Read the article in this month’s Update for Tom’s answer.

The Urban Wood Network presented its third in its “How to Do Urban Wood” webinar series last week. It will soon be archived to watch on-demand. The second webinar, “How to Produce and Market Urban Lumber,” was recently added to the archives. A handy link is offered in the newsletter to check it out.

As always, send me your urban wood news and photos. Steve Skorup did it, so can you!

Rich Christianson

Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team


Tom The Sawyer’s Examines ‘The Cost of Lumber’

Tom Hogard of Eudora, KS, better known in urban wood circles as Tom The Sawyer, has done a bang up job of sharing videos of interesting milling projects and sharing his knowledge and experience of the ins and outs of the urban wood marketplace. Case in point is a blog Hogard wrote to answer the challenging question, “Can you cut your lumber costs significantly by patronizing your local sawmill?”

Here are a few excerpts:

  • In my opinion, there are two basic types of markets for hardwood lumber.  I refer to these markets as commodity and character.  The commodity market is the primary market, hundreds of times larger than the character lumber market.  Huge milling operations that may put out many thousands of board feet per week.  For commodity lumber, extra-wide boards demand a premium price, as do thicker boards.  Rarely do they offer characteristics such as crotch figure or live edges.
  • The journey from a growing tree to a piece of furniture has many steps.  Every step in the process involves risk, investment, waste, and profit.  The earlier in the process you acquire your lumber, the less expensive it will be.  The potential cost savings involves an investment and some risk.  Each of the persons in the process must cover their expenses or go out of business.  If there is no profit, they’ll often find something else more rewarding.  Depending on your needs, that $5 p/bf walnut board may be a bargain.
  • Logs are heavy.  It takes ingenuity to remove a 4000 lb log from someone’s back yard, through a fence gate, without tearing up the lawn (which is one reason why many urban logs are cut into short, easier to handle, pieces).  Then there is the issue of loading those logs on a truck or trailer and transporting to their next stop; a sawmill, or a landfill/dump/chipping facility.  Of course, in commercial operations there is an abundance of heavy equipment designed to perform those functions efficiently.

To get the full context, read the entire blog – and others – on Tom The Sawyer’s website.

 

 



FEB Update: ICON MODERN HOSTS ARCHITECTURAL WOODWORERS

Thank you Rocky Levy and Aaron Tvrdy, co-owners of Icon Modern, for organizing a workshop focused on urban wood use for architects, designers and architectural woodworkers. It was great to see more than two dozen in attendance at this special event. Rocky and Aaron have done a tremendous job of pioneering urban wood use in corporate projects and are currently working on furnishings for the new McDonald’s headquarters.

Read and see photos from the workshop in this month’s edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also in this edition of the Update:
> Tom The Sawyer demonstrates milling an urban honey locust log.> Michigan, one of our Urban Wood Network partners, launches a new website. Congrats!

> Dovetail Partners takes the lead on creating certification standards for urban wood.

Reminder: Take advantage of free membership by signing up for the Urban Wood Network now.

As always, share your urban wood stories, photos and experiences.

 Until next month, I remain,
Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org


Watch Tom The Sawyer Transform an Urban Honey Locust Log

Tom Hogard, a.k.a.,Tom The Sawyer, strikes again with another wonderful video documenting the milling of an urban tree into high-valued wood products. This time Hogard shows the milling of a honey locust tree destined to be used for custom live-edge tables. Hogard not only videos the entire milling process, he effectively uses removed from the Kansas City, KS, area to point out key processes and considerations of the log’s transformation.

Hogard said he shot the video preparing for a wood utilization program hosted by of the Missouri Department of Conservation, Kansas Forest Service and Bridging the Gap. It’s well worth a look!

 

 



And the Most Viewed Urban Wood Stories of 2017 Are…

The following articles garnered the most page views during 2017 from visitors to Illinoisurbanwood.org.

1 Book Chronicles Urban ‘Tree to Table’ Movement

2 Rescued Wood: Habitat for Humanity Wisconsin’s Unique Answer to the EAB Problem

3 Photo Gallery: Color Point Greenhouse Operations

4. First Release: Urban Wood User’s Resource Guide

5 Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Seeks Businesses for Wood Heating Study

Video: Be a Smart Ash, Denver!

Indiana Tree Service Branches Out into Custom Urban Wood Furniture

Video: Milling a Huge Burr Oak with a Chainsaw Mill

Chicago’s Sister City Has an Urban Wood Brother in Sawmill Sid

10 ISTC Open House Offers a Look at Heating with Wood Waste

View Top 10 posts of 2016.



CHECK IT OUT: URBANWOODNETWORK.ORG IS UP & RUNNING!

The big news in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update is that UrbanWoodNetwork.org is live and serving as a beacon to urge all who visit – municipal mangers, arborists, sawyers, lumber sellers, woodworkers, designers and more – to “Join the Movement.”

Urban Wood Network’s mission manifold: “to inform, collaborate, and connect to build business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. Whether you are looking to expand your existing model or want to start a new business dedicated to urban wood, click here to see how we can help you be successful.”

The website’s launch represents a collaboration of the wood utilization teams of the four states participating in the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle project funded by the U.S. Forest Service: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

This is only phase one. Websites are created to change with the times. The Urban Wood Network welcomes and encourages your feedback to make the site more valuable and relevant.

Also featured in the July Update is a pair of worth-a-look videos:
First, watch how Tom Hogard, a.k.a. Tom The Sawyer found a solution to milling a 5,000-pound burr oak log that was way too big for his portable sawmill to handle.

Then, watch and listen to the urban wood “elevator pitch” succinctly uttered by Sean O’Brien, owner of Pacific Coast Lumber.

Finally, kudos to our brethren in Virginia for organizing the Mid-Atlantic Urban Wood Conference set for Aug. 15-16 in Richmond, VA. It’s great to see so many exciting urban wood activities springing up all over the nation.

Until next time, don’t forget to share your urban wood news!

Enjoy the issue.

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team

READ THE JULY ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



Video: Milling a Huge Burr Oak with a Chainsaw Mill

Tom Hogard, a.k.a. Tom the Sawyer of Eudora, KS, wasn’t sure what to do at first with a huge burr oak log left in his driveway in August 2015 by a tree service friend, “thinking he was doing me a big favor.”

How huge? Hogard estimated that the log was 3 to 4 feet in diameter, 11 feet long and weighed 5,000 pounds.

“This log was too big for my mill,” he said. “It laid here for almost two years. Clients would look at it, trying to figure how to use it. There were only three solutions: cut it up for firewood (which I resist); quarter it with a chainsaw and mill the quarters (with the irregular shape and all of the knots, it would be a nightmare); or chainsaw mill it into slabs – expecting either rot and decay, or fantastic grain patterns. ”

He ultimately decided to take his chances with the latter option, He called Dog Holler Custom Slabbing of Lecompton, KS, .to cut the log into slabs with a chainsaw mill. The timing couldn’t be better as a customer, who had been contacted by an interior designer who had previously specified one of his slab tables, needed at least three more.

Hogard said the video of the log being sawn that follows was edited from about a 3.5-hour process.

Learn more about Tom the Sawyer at TomTheSawyer.net.

 



Video: Tom The Sawyer Mills Black Walnut for Figure

https://www.facebook.com/TomTheSawyerPortableSawmill

 

Tom Hogard, aka Tom The Sawyer, of Eudora, KS, has been milling trees cultivated from the urban forest for many years.

In the accompanying video, Hogard demonstrates how to maximize the figure of logs with “flaws” including sweep or crotches.

Like Tom the Sawyer on Facebook.