Search Results for "Diverse Audience"

Diverse Audience Unites at Urban Wood Event

ILWUT_LogoBy Rich Christianson

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.

The unique conference focused on converting community trees into lumber and wood products. It was presented by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team March 18 at Hamburger University on McDonald’s corporate campus in Oak Brook, IL. Sponsors included Horigan Urban Forest Products, the Wisconsin Arborist Association, Sterling Tree Solutions Meyers Woodworking & Lumber, Graf Tree Care.

While most of these diverse conference delegates hailed from the greater Chicago area, others traveled from southern Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska and even Ontario, Canada.

Among the many highlights:

  • Edith Makra, chairperson of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team, kicked off the conference noting that there is an estimated 3 to 4 billion board feet of lumber potentially available from the nation’s urban forests. Capitalizing on this greatly underutilized raw material would require local markets throughout the country to strengthen their links in the chain from land managers and tree care services to sawyers and woodworkers.
  • Ian Brown, urban forestry district manager for Milwaukee, discussed how Milwaukee is diverting 100% of its logs to local sawmill and in the process reducing disposal costs by 50%.
  • In a similar vein, John Lough, senior city forester of Chicago, shared the Windy City’s urban log removal and reclamation plan.
  • Separate presentations by August Hoppe, president of Hoppe Tree Services and the Urban Wood Lab in Milwaukee, and Jessica Simons, coordinator of Michigan’s Urbanwood Project based in Ann Arbor shared different models for developing retail outlets for urban wood lumber, slabs and wood products.
  • Three architects participated in the conference. Laureen Blissard, principal of LTBL Envirotecture presented how urban wood fits into sustainability building programs including LEED. Jeff Perkis, senior project manager for Chipman Architecture Design and owner of Story Wood, recounted how dozens of hardwood trees downed in a freakish 2011  storm in West Chicago were salvaged and turned into furniture and other wood  products. One of the most recent is a bell stand Perkins made for the West Chicago museum. Architect Paul Pettigrew, also an associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, showed more than 100 slides of projects made by his students of his popular furniture and architecture class over the years.
  • Ken Wier, owner of i2i Design, told the audience why he loves making furniture from urban wood because of its rich and often unpredictable splendor compared to hardwoods harvested from traditional forests. Wier’s discerning customers include Starbucks, Mariano’s and Freshii.
  • Mike Dimitroff, manager of art initiatives for the Chicago Park District, showcased a variety of projects that use wood reclaimed from city parks including the Bears Den at Solider Field and at CPD community wood shops. Dimitroff was joined by Jim Semelka, urban forestry advocate for Sterling Tree Solutions, to discuss how the public and private company partner on urban wood tree reclamation programs.
  • Dimitroff also showed how thermally modified urban wood is being used as a decking material for the CPD’s harbor dock. Brian Mitalo, regional salesperson for Tourneslol Siteworks, which makes outdoor furniture and more from thermally modified lumber TML), agreed that there is great potential for converting urban wood into TML.
  • Prof. Dan Cassens, wood extension specialist at Purdue University, pulled double duty. First he lectured on how urban wood sellers can compete with traditional hardwood lumber and wood products by not only being novel, but by being nimble. Cassens also conducted a live portable sawmill demonstration using logs generously donated by Ron Meyers of Meyers Woodworking & Lumber of Batavia, IL.

Rounding out the event were plenty of networking opportunities, including a networking featuring table top exhibits and more than a dozen furniture and other items displayed in the Urban Wood Products Showcase.

The Bringing the Full Circle Conference was preceded by an all-day Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop instructed by Prof. Dan Cassens, wood products extension specialist at Purdue University.


Horigan Urban Forest Products








Basic Sponsorship








American Society of Landscape Architects




International Woodworking Fair
















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 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.

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03/31/22 – Update on the Urban Wood Network-IL Chapter

03/29/22 – Fast Company Honors Taylor Guitars for Urban Wood Use

02/25/22 – Icon Modern to Host UWN-IL Info Meeting on March 9

02/24/22 – Seizing the Value of Fallen Trees

02/22/22 – Room & Board Launches Table Line Made of Reclaimed Ash Nationwide

01/26/22 – IL Chapter of Urban Wood Network Officially Launches

01/10/22 – Don Peterson, Founding Executive Director of Urban Wood Network, Passes Away

12/28/21 – Online Directory Lists More Than 80 IL Custom Sawmills

11/29/21 – Wood-Mizer Anoints Sinker Cypress Desk As Top Furniture Project

11/26/21 – Invitation to Take Part in the Urban Wood Network IL’s Dec. 2 Next Steps Zoom Meeting

10/28/21 – Now Streaming: Chicago’s Urban Forest Metrics

10/26/21 – Video: Sawing Urban Wood with a Stihl 880 and Alaskan Chainsaw Mill

10/26/21 – Traece Software Simplifies Urban Lumber Inventory Management

09/23/21 – New IL Chapter of Urban Wood Network Slates Next Steps Zoom Meeting

09/23/21 – Celebrate OAKtober

09/15/21 – Cheyenne, WY, Braces for EAB’s Arrival

09/14/21 – Video: Urban Wood Sawyer Awarded Grant by CalFire

08/26/21 – Twin City Closet Turns to Wood From The Hood For Reclaimed Ash Conference Table

08/19/21 – Syracuse Designates $2M in Stimulus Money to Plant Trees, Combat Climate Change

08/16/21 – Waukesha County, WI, Urban Wood Program Among SFI Grant Recipients

07/30/21 – The Story of Urban Wood Guitars

07/30/21 – Video: Deadwood Revival Design brings urban forest full circle

07/29/21 – Forest Service Awards $15M in Wood Innovation Grants Program

07/26/21 – 5-Step Plan for Managing Urban Forest to Fight Climate Change

06/18/21 – Video: Restoring the American Chestnut Part 2

06/15/21 – Urban Ashes Partners with NextCycle Michigan

05/30/21 – House Bill Includes ‘Cooperative Agreements’ for Urban Wood Utilization

05/30/21 – Chicago Area’s Urban Forests Have More Trees and Lots of Challenges

05/27/21 – Professor named ‘Citizen of the Year’ for Urban Wood Use Program

05/25/21 – Plethora of Research Aims to Safeguard Trees from Pests & Pathogens

04/25/21 – Urban Wood Network Announces First State Chapters

04/18/21 – SFI Commits to Developing Urban Forestry Sustainability Standard

04/15/21 – Developer Salvages Urban Timber; Wins Georgia Tree Council Award

04/12/21 – Video: Restoration Research of the American Chestnut Part 1

03/23/21 – Videos: NCUFC Public Service Announcement Emphasize Trees’ Importance

02/26/21 – Slideshow: Chicago Park District’s Wintery Milling Project

02/24/21 – U.S. Ag Department Ends EAB Quarantine Regulations

02/24/21 – Video: Wood From The Hood’s Story and Slideshow Tour

02/11/21 – Urban Forest Connections: More than 60 Webinars Served

01/29/21 – CBS News Features Report on Baltimore Urban Wood Project

01/28/21 – Video: NC Urban Wood Sawmill & Vacuum Kiln Webinar

01/25/21 – NASF Fact Sheet Highlights Wisconsin Urban Woods’ Success

01/21/21 – UK Researchers Search for Ash Borer-Resistant Trees

urban wood fabrication at UW Stout12/29/20 – How Harrisonburg, VA, Upscales Dead Ash Trees

12/28/20 – Urban Tree Merchants Is Keeping Score

12/26/20 – American Hardwoods Focus of New Free Guide

12/23/20 – Urban Tree Monitoring Video Series Part 1: Getting Started

12/23/20 – Urban Tree Monitoring Video Series Part 2: Mortality Status

12/23/20 – Urban Tree Monitoring Video Series Part 3: Trunk Diameter

12/23/20 – Urban Tree Monitoring Video Series Part 4: Location Methods

12/23/20 – Urban Tree Monitoring Video Series Part 5: Managing Field Work

11/29/20 – Watch Urban Wood Movement: Expanding from Coast to Coast Webinar

11/29/20 – Video: Artist Makes Urban Tree Invisible

11/22/20 – Urban Lumber Expands with Acquisition of Urban Hardwoods

10/24/20 – Hurricane Sally Ravaged Oaks to Become Art Works

10/19/20 – National Urban Wood Academy Set for Nov. 20

10/10/20 – Atlantic Fine Hardwoods: From African Exotics to Georgian Urban Wood

09/27/20 – World Demand for Massive Wood Slabs to Surpass $2B by 2030

09/26/20 – Urban Wood Movement’s Growth Focus of IWF Connect Webinar

09/15/20 – Urban Hardwoods Christens New Showroom

08/28/20 – Cornell to Research Using EAB-Ravaged Trees for Engineered Wood Products

08/22/20 – Urban Wood Network Secures Forest Service Grant

08/20/20 – Canadian Teen’s Woodworking Business Built on Backyard Trees

07/31/20 – Urban Wood Workbook Tells How to Create Value from Waste

07/28/20 – Sculptures Feature Urban Spalted Maple

07/22/20 – Urban Wood Network’s Future Visioning Webinars Available On Demand

07/14/20 – Chicago Neighborhood Makes a Stand to Save Ash Trees

06/29/20 – IWF Cancelled; Urban Wood Seminar to Be Virtual Event

06/25/20 – Video: Overview of i-Tree Landscape

06/25/20 – Urban Wood Forest Brewing Opens During Pandemic

06/20/20 – Penn State Developing Tech That Destroys Pests in Wood

05/29/20 – Taylor Guitars Uses Urban Ash for Tonewood

05/27/20 – WUW & City of Marshfield Partner on Urban Wood Use Agreement

05/16/20 – Video: Urban Wood Rescue of Sacramento

04/23/20 – Pilot Program in Rome Uses Urban Wood to Curb Kids’ Digital Addiction

04/22/20 – Urban Wood Movement’s Growth Focus of IWF Seminar

04/22/20 – Urban Lumber Business Strategies Theme of May 13 UWN Webinar

04/17/20 – Allendale Association’s Youth Learn about Urban Wood

03/27/20 – Slideshow: Nebraska’s Ash Wood Showcase

03/09/20 – Award-winning Book Celebrates Chicago Tree Project

02/26/20 – UWN Slates ‘Future Visioning’ Webinar Series

02/19/20 – Study compares EAB impact: Vienna vs. Minneapolis

01/28/20 – NC Program Protects Ash Trees from EAB

01/24/20 – Sculptor Adds Urban Wood to Her Palette

01/19/20 – New Sculptures Breathe Fresh Life into Four Dying Trees

01/17/20 – Urban Wood Use Action Guide Is Chock Full of Resources

01/14/20 – Alabama Sawyer Fills Big Order for Gulf State Park Eatery

12/06/19 – Paul Simon Concert Benefits SF Urban Forest

12/06/19 – Wisconsin Urban Wood Assists $10K Tree Planting Project

12/03/19 – Video: Good Wood Guys Mill Huge Black Cotton Log

11/22/19 – Chicago Furniture Maker Digs the Vibe of Urban Wood

11/22/19 – Chicago Plans to Inventory Urban Forest Canopy in 2020

11/06/19 – Urban Wood Standards & Certification Highlight Webcast

10/28/19 – Wudeward’s Owner Shares His Passion for Urban Wood in Podcast

10/27/19 – NYC Declares Victory Over Long-Horned Beetle

10/17/19 – Video: Palomar College’s Urban Wood Sawmill

09/26/19 – Forest Service Slates Urban Wood Utilization Webinar for Oct. 8

09/26/19 – Hoppe Tree Service Opens Second Urban Wood Lab

09/25/19 – Wood-Mizer’s New SlabMizer Flattens Slabs

09/18/19 – Wisconsin Urban Wood Slates Webinar for A&D Pros

08/30/19 – Wood From The Hood Opens Urban Lumber Showroom

08/28/19 – Fiserv Forum Design Team Wins Wisconsin Urban Wood Use Award

08/27/19 – Texas Urban Wood Firm Focuses on ‘Tree to Home’

08/26/19 – ‘Upscale Urban Wood’ Is Theme of Arbor Day Foundation Bulletin

07/30/19 – Madison, WI: A Progressive Urban Wood City

07/24/19 – NC Urban Forest Council Plans Urban Wood Use Workshop

06/26/19 – Watch Urban Wood Toolkit Webinar #1

06/25/19 – Chicagoans ‘Import’ Live Edge Walnut Table from KC

06/21/19 – Petitioners Push for ‘National Urban Wood Day’

06/18/19 – Event to Highlight ‘Urban Wood from Coast to Coast’

05/29/19 – Tables Made in Seattle Reside in NYC

05/28/19 – Video: WoodSwimmer into Tranquility

05/20/19 – SkillsUSA & Urban Wood Unite in Wisconsin

04/15/19 – SUFC Names New Co-chairs

04/10/19 – August Hoppe Joins TCIA Board

04/01/19 – Like Urban Wood Network on Facebook

03/28/19 – Alabama Launchpad Jumpstarts Urban Wood Business

03/18/19 – Lumber Woman Repurposes Wood from Topeka’s Urban Forest

03/08/19 – Video: (Urban) Forest Proud

03/04/19 – The Greenfield, WI, Urban Wood Model

02/15/19 – Forest Service Extends Wood Innovation Grant Deadline

02/14/19 – UWN Q&A: Tim O’Neill, Urban Lumber Company

02/10/19 – New Report Explores How Certification Can Grow Urban Wood Demand

02/08/19 – Urban Wood Toolkit Offers Guidance for Utilizing Community Trees

01/30/19 – Urban Wood Network Sets 2019 Membership Fees

12/27/18 – Urban Wood Network Slates ‘Urban Wood Toolkit’ Webinar for Jan. 30

12/16/18 – Emerald Ash Borer Threatens 50,000 Trees in Lincoln, NE

12/13/18 – Dead Ash Trees Come to Life as Chainsaw Sculptures

12/02/18 – Hoppe Tree Service Takes Full Circle Approach

12/02/18 – Green America Honors GA Urban Wood Business

11/26/18 – How to Improve Yields Milling ‘Out-of-Shape Logs’

11/20/18 – UWN Webinar #4: Starting a State Urban Wood Network

11/07/18 – Urban Sawmilling in Hawaii

10/31/18 – Put Your Urban Wood Business on the Map

10/26/18 – Video: Dan Cassens on ‘Milling Your Own Lumber’

10/22/18 – UWN Webinar #3: How to Produce Urban Wood Products

10/09/18 – National Urban Wood Project Certification Update

09/25/18 – Urban Wood Webinar #2: How to Produce & Market Urban Lumber

09/24/18 – DoMUS Serves as Industry Model for Wisconsin Urban Wood

09/22/18 – Retired Teacher Focuses on Growing Urban Wood Business

08/27/18 – Urban Wood Movement Surges Ahead at IWF

08/17/18 – UWN Webinar #1 On Demand: Urban Tree Removals

08/16/18 – GWTP Celebrates 25 Years Training Low-Income Chicagoans for Woodworking Careers

08/02/18 – Story of Riverside’s Wind-Felled Oak Featured in Woodshop News

07/25/18 – How Urban Wood Use Mitigates Climate Change

07/17/18 – Wisconsin Urban Forest Fest Set for Sept. 15

07/17/18 – Q&A with Erika Horigan of Horigan Urban Forest Products

07/06/18 – Urban Wood Network Announces ‘How To Do Urban Wood’ Seminar Series

06/24/18 – Adding Value to Urban Trees: Two Upcoming Workshops at MSU

06/19/18 – IWF Urban Wood Seminar Gains Diverse Sponsorship Support

06/10/18 – Video: Introducing the Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods Network

05/25/18 – Wood-Mizer Acquires Swedish Manufacturer of 4-Sided Planers/Moulders

05/25/18 – More Than 1,750 Strong! Urban Wood Network LinkedIn Community

05/18/18 – Wisconsin Urban Wood Graces Ortho’s Office

05/18/18 – Study: U.S. Metro Areas Losing 36M Trees Annually

05/11/18 – Communities Across Chicagoland Join to Create Sustainable Future

05/09/18 – Vermont Braces for Emerald Ash Borer Invasion

04/24/18 – UWN to Present Free Urban Wood Seminar at IWF 2018

04/19/18 – Video: How NY Uses Drones to Inspect Urban Forest Canvass

04/18/18 – April 3 WERC Urban Wood Webcast Available On-Demand

04/16/18 – Video: Urban Sawmilling in Sacramento

03/27/18 – Webinar Registration Open: Urban Wood Network – Join the Movement

03/11/18 – Virginia Urban Wood Group Creates Business Directory

03/06/18 – 31 States Infested by EAB

02/25/18 – Chicago AWI Members Learn About Urban Wood at Icon Modern

02/20/18 – New Project to Certify Responsible Urban Forestry and Urban Wood Use

02/16/18 – Michigan Urban Wood Network Launches Website

02/11/18 – Watch Tom The Sawyer Transform an Urban Honey Locust Log

01/21/18 – Tree Services Magazine Focuses on Using Urban Tree Waste

01/20/18 – Video: Salvaging Trees in Vancouver’s Urban Forest

01/19/18 – SUFC Slates Annual Meeting for March 7

12/29/17 – Chicago Tree Project Continues to Transform Dead Trees into Sculptures

12/21/17 – Invitation to Join the Urban Wood Network

12/07/17 – Illinois Architect Takes the LEED in Urban Wood Movement

12/03/17 – Wood-Mizer Offers Free Urban Sawmilling Guide

11/19/17 – Video: Reclaiming Wood from Historic Philadelphia Buildings

11/18/17 – ISTC Open House Offers a Look at Heating with Wood Waste

11/13/17 – Video: Pioneering Urban Wood Use in Austin

11/13/17 – Fall Urban Wood Utilization Webcast Available On Demand

10/21/17 – Video: Richmond Hill Educates Residents about EAB Scourge

10/20/17 – ‘Underappreciated’ Urban Wood Focus of Pennsylvania Workshop

10/17/17 – Cook County Forest Preserves’ Tree Repurposed for Unique Award Plaques

10/05/17 – Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Seeks Businesses for Wood Heating Study

10/03/17 – Why Schmidt Custom Flooring Joined the Urban Wood Movement

09/22/17 – Agenda Set for Oct. 10 Urban Wood Use Webcast

09/16/17 – Enter Rebuilding Exchange’s Contest to Win Nick Offerman Tix

09/14/17 – Southeast Urban Wood Exchange Connects Urban Forestry Professionals

08/23/17 – U.S. Forest Service Updates Inventory of Nation’s Urban Forests

08/22/17 – 160-Year-Old Oak Begets Three Tables for Riverside’s Village Hall

08/21/17 – House Acts to Save Urban Community & Forestry Program from Budget Axe

08/16/17 – How Raleigh’s Parks & Recs Department Re-utilizes Its Trees

07/16/17 – Indy Urban Hardwood Stars in New Wood-Mizer Urban Wood Video Series

07/15/17 – Mid-Atlantic Urban Wood Forum Set for Aug. 15 & 16 

07/07/17 – The Urban Wood Network Launches New Website

07/02/17 – Video: Milling a Huge Burr Oak with a Chainsaw Mill

06/23/17 – Michigan Urbanwood Tour Set for July 28

06/19/17 – Entries Sought for Urbanwood Showcase in Ann Arbor

06/17/17 – Southeast Urban Wood Exchange Invites Businesses to List Their Products & Services

06/13/17 – ‘No Wood Wasted’ Theme of NC Urban Forest & Small Woodlot Workshop

06/10/17 – Wood-Mizer Issues Call for Personal Best Contest Entries

05/21/17 – Wisconsin Urban Wood Signs on as Wisconsin DNR Green Tier Charter

05/19/17 – City Forest Products Celebrates Urban Wood Biz Launch

05/01/17 – WunderWoods’ Sawmill from Down Under

04/17/17 – Four Urban Wood Firms Snare Wood-Mizer Awards

04/17/17 – City Forest Products Slates April 28 Launch Party

04/10/17 – Reclaimed Ash Furniture in Iowa Home Show Expo Spotlight

04/10/17 – U.S. Forest Service Strategizes Woody Biomass Utilization

03/27/17 – Urban Wood Utilization Webcast Set for April 11

03/24/17 – Hobby Becomes a Post-Retirement Urban Wood Business

03/15/17 – Urban Wood Waste Powers St. Paul’s Energy Grid

03/09/17 – Treecycle America Entrepreneur Forges an Urban Wood Network

02/22/17 – Indiana Tree Service Branches Out into Custom Urban Wood Furniture

02/22/17 – Repurposing Urban Wood Waste as Biomass

02/21/17 – Horigan Urban Forest Products Re-launches Website

02/11/17 – Video Update: TV News Features Restore’s Rescued Wood Project

02/06/17 – Video: Be a Smart Ash, Denver!

01/28/17 – Chicago’s Sister City Has an Urban Wood Brother in Sawmill Sid

01/25/17 – Dovetail Partners Reports on Worldwide Refinery Growth

01/22/17 – TCIA Releases Statement on A300 Urban Forest Products Standard Status

01/17/17 – Urban Wood Used in Oak Park LEED Platinum Project

01/15/17 – Rescued Wood: Habitat for Humanity Wisconsin’s Unique Answer to the EAB Problem

01/02/17 – IllinoisUrbanWood’s Top 10 Countdown

12/21/16 – IAA Slates Certified Arborist Workshops & Exam in Glencoe

12/18/16 – Cover Treatment for Wisconsin Urban Wood

12/11/16 – IL Arborist Pursues His Passion with Urban Wood Start-up

12/01/16 – Help Wanted: Homer Glen’s Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration

11/28/16 – Video: Urban Hardwoods a Growing Company

11/14/16 – Urban Lumber Company Thrives on KC Woods

10/27/16 – TigerStop Embraces the Urban Wood Message

10/26/16 – Scenes from the 34th Illinois Arborist Association Convention

10/26/16 – On Demand Webcast Highlights Urban Wood Activities in Six States

10/13/16 – Baltimore Wood Project Tackles Two Urban Waste Streams

10/03/16 – Woodworker’s Fallen Farm Trees Star in ‘Made in Illinois’ Video

09/27/16 – IWF Urban Wood Seminar Report Slated for Oct. 11 Webcast

09/08/16 – Urban Wood for Community Firewood Banks

08/30/16 – Passions Flow at IWF Urban Wood Seminar

08/29/16 – First Release: Urban Wood User’s Resource Guide

08/19/16 – Forest Fast Break Video: Urban Wood Benefits

08/15/16 – Day of Wood Set for Sept. 8 in Jasper, IN

08/09/16 – Urban Wood Exchange Opens for Business

08/09/16 – FDMC Profiles i2i Design

08/09/16 – Woodshop News Features IWF Urban Wood Seminar

08/07/16 – Video: Tom The Sawyer Mills Black Walnut for Figure

08/06/16 – On Demand: WERC Urban Wood Utilization Webcast

08/05/16 – Forest Fast Break Video: Urban Forests

08/03/16 – USDA Forest Service Awards Urban Forestry Challenge Grants

07/25/16 – Forest Fast Break Video: Urban Forest Wood Usage

07/17/16 – Sterling Lumber Garners Pair of Business Awards

07/16/16 – IWF Seminar Aims to Demystify Urban Wood

07/11/16 – Elkhart EnviroFest to Showcase Urban Wood Works

07/08/16 – Woodturners ‘Bowled’ Over by Urban Wood

06/26/16 – North American Urban Wood Directory Entries Sought

06/24/16 – Chicago Botanic Garden Exhibit Exposes the ‘Hidden Art of Trees’

06/12/16 – Magazine Profiles Baraboo Woodworks’ Urban Wood Model

06/01/16 – Video: Custom Woodworker & Sawyer Make a Great Team

05/19/16 – Urban Wood Stars in Free IWF Seminar

05/19/16 – Couple ‘Sacrificed Our Entire Lives’ for Urban Wood Business

05/15/16 – Video: How Toronto Is Turning Ash Tree Tragedy into Opportunity

05/13/16 – Update: USGBC IL Postpones May Urban Wood Event

05/10/16 – MSU Retails Wood Goods Crafted from Campus Trees

04/24/16 – IIDEX Woodshop Exhibit Spotlights Urban Ash Furnishings

03/29/16 – Urban Wood Products Showcase Winners Strut Their Stuff

03/29/16 – Hardwood Workshop Covers Logs to Lumber

03/28/16 – Diverse Audience Unites at Urban Wood Event

03/28/16 – Illinois Sawmill Directories Updated

03/25/16 – Icon Modern’s Urban Wood Story Told on WBBM Radio Chicago

03/11/16 – AIA Members Eligible for CEUs at Urban Wood Event

03/06/16 – Hunski Hardwoods Logs the West Coast Urban Forest

03/02/16 – Register for Hardwood Workshop & Urban Wood Conference Online by March 16

02/21/16 – Early-Bird Discount Conference Registration Extended

02/19/16 – ASLA CEUs Available for Urban Wood & Hardwood Lumber Events

02/18/16 – Enter the Urban Wood Products Showcase

02/05/16 – Illinois Arborist Association Offers CEUs for Urban Wood Conference

01/21/16 – Urban Wood Conference Topics Go Full Circle

01/21/16 – Urban Wood Boardwalk Cuts a Path to South Side Corner’s Renewal

01/20/16 – Film Opens Eyes to Wondrous Potential of Urban Wood

01/19/16 – Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop Set for March 17

01/16/16 – Urban Wood Utilization Fits Community’s Utopian Vision

01/14/16 – IWF Supports Urban Wood Conference

01/08/16 – What to Do with Urban Wood Event Rescheduled to Jan. 21

12/31/15 – Full Circle Urban Forestry Takes Root in Elkhart, IN

12/28/15 – Registration Opens for Unique Urban Wood Conference

12/22/15 – Can You Dig It? JULIE 811 Supports IL WUT Conference

12/18/15 – IL Sawmill Directory Being Refreshed

12/18/15 – Coming Attractions: Saving America’s Urban Forests

11/27/15 – Eco Urban Timber Turns Dead Ash into Cash

11/19/15 – IL Wood Utilization Team Meets at Bernhard Woodwork

11/16/15 – USDA Webcast Series Tracks Urban Wood Market Developments

10/30/15 – What to Do with Urban Wood’ Symposium Coming Jan. 7, 2016

10/30/15 – Win a CFDA Creative Furnishings Award Using Urban Wood

10/29/15 – Illinois Wood Utilization Team States Its Case for Urban Wood at IAA Event

10/28/15 – Illinois to Drop Internal EAB Quarantine 

10/25/15 – Photo Gallery: IIT Student Urban Wood Works

10/25/15 – Webinar to Address Cross Laminated Timber, a Potential Urban Wood Use

10/22/15 – NC Urban Wood Group Plans Tour of Carolina Urban Lumber

10/17/15 – Stihl Tour des Trees Supports Urban Forests

09/27/15 – Got Urban Wood News? Share It!

09/27/15 – Save the Date: 2016 Urban Wood Conference & Networking Event

08/30/15 – Picture This: Ex-Cons Reclaim Urban Wood and Their Lives

08/28/15 – Trees Downed in 2012 Storm Crafted into Stand for Local Bell

08/26/15 – Video: Dead Ash Tree Is Chainsaw Artist’s Medium

08/16/15 – IIT Student Urban Wood Works at Aug. 26 Showing

07/18/15 – Urban Wood Makes Waves on Chicago Radio

06/04/15 – ITT Seeks Urban Wood Donations for Traveling Exhibit

05/26/15 – ‘Full Circle Urban Forestry’ Lesson of New Children’s Book

05/21/15 – Illinois Wood Utilization Team Receives ‘Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle’ Grant

05/15/15 – WUT in the News – Replacement Trees Adding New Look in Southland Neighborhoods

02/05/15 – WUT in the News – Beating the Beetle: Giving Trees a Second Life

New Project to Certify Responsible Urban Forestry and Urban Wood Use

Photo: Greenability magazine feature on Urban Wood Lumber Co., Kansas City, MO.

A new initiative to support increased urban wood utilization and community benefits has been launched. The project will develop a unified urban wood certification strategy with the goal of aligning existing programs that recognize responsible management practices in the urban forest. Existing urban forestry programs range from accreditation and licensing to training and certification programs.

“We’re not starting with a blank slate,” said project manager, Kathryn Fernholz, executive director of Minneapolis-based Dovetail Partners. “There are many high-quality existing programs that support the practice of urban and utility forestry – from Tree City USA and Tree Line USA to Arborist certifications – and we’re looking at how these programs support shared goals and can respond to the growing interest in urban wood and responsible sourcing.”

The intent of the project is to develop a certification process to be incorporated into existing professional and accreditation standards, adopted by municipalities, and embraced by tree-related operations within urban forests including  arboriculture businesses and wood processors.

Partners of the project include the Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, Tree Care Industry Association, Utility Arborists Association, Right-of-Way Stewardship Council, Dovetail Partners, North Carolina Forest Service and the USDA Forest Service. Support for the project is provided by the North Carolina Forest Service, Urban and Community Forestry Program and the USDA Forest Service.

The project also seeks to develop consistent messaging to engage stakeholders and target audiences in the value and benefits of local urban wood products and promote the value-added opportunity for local businesses. Some municipalities have already incorporated urban wood into their sustainability plans and are utilizing their own wood for local use. The project hopes to support these existing efforts and to encourage similar efforts by other municipal sustainability and solid waste programs. These combined efforts ultimately increase long term carbon storage and avoid carbon emissions associated with burning or decomposing.

“By working together, we aim to increase demand for locally-sourced wood and wood products by the public and businesses,” said Nancy Stairs, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the North Carolina Forest Service. “We want to help arborists and processors put urban wood to good use and reduce the amount of wood entering landfills.”

For more information about this project, visit

About the Project Partners:

The Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. During the last 45 years, more than 250 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.  As one of the world’s largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees.  More information is available at 

Society of Municipal Arborists
Founded in 1964, the SMA is an organization of municipal arborists and urban foresters. Our membership also includes consultants, commercial firms, nonprofits, tree boards, tree wardens, allied professionals, and citizens who actively practice or support some facet of municipal forestry. A professional affiliate of the International Society of Arboriculture, the SMA has members from across North America and beyond. Through our magazine, City Trees, our conferences, our website and our many active members, we strive to create networking and educational opportunities that promote the sound, professional management of a vital and invaluable resource.

Tree Care Industry Association
The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) is a trade association of 2,300 tree care firms and affiliated companies and was established in 1938 as the National Arborist Association. The TCIA develops safety and education programs, standards of tree care practice and management information for tree and landscape firms around the world. We provide continuing education, training, conferences and publications to promote the safe and appropriate practice of tree care.

Utility Arborists Association
The UAA is an organization of over 4,200 individuals with interest in and a commitment to the maintenance of trees and other vegetation for the purpose of ensuring the safe and reliable distribution of energy, including electric, oil and gas, to business and residences.

Right-of-Way Stewardship Council
Right-of-Way Stewardship Council is an accreditation program that is being pursued by a diverse group of stakeholders to provide standards of excellence for environmental stewardship along rights-of-way (ROW) and presents the opportunity for utility companies to demonstrate their commitment to such standards. It establishes standards for responsible ROW vegetation management within high-voltage electric transmission corridors. The aim of the program is to promote the application of integrated vegetation management and best management practices to the utility vegetation management industry in order to maintain power system reliability and address ecological concerns.

Dovetail Partners
Dovetail Partners provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives. Dovetail is a highly skilled team that fosters sustainability and responsible behaviors by collaborating to develop unique concepts, systems, models and programs. Dovetail Partners is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

North Carolina Forest Service, Urban and Community Forestry Program
North Carolina’s forest land is one of the greatest influences on the state, providing economic value and adding immeasurably to the quality of life for its residents. The forest products industry is the largest manufacturing business sector in the state, contributing approximately $31.4 billion annually to the state’s economy and providing around 144,000 jobs for North Carolinians. The NC Forest Service’s primary purpose is to ensure adequate and quality forest resources for the state to meet its present and future needs.  The U&CF Program supports urban forestry in North Carolina by administering a cost-share federal grant program for municipalities, local governments, non-profits, educational groups and schools and providing technical and/or educational assistance.

USDA Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

Sterling Lumber Garners Pair of Business Awards

Sterling Lumber

Carter Sterling, third from left, is among winners of Ernst & Young’s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Midwest region.

Lightning struck Sterling Lumber Company of Phoenix, IL, in a good way. The company was recently recognized for its business leadership in separate award ceremonies, one by accounting firm Ernst & Young and the other by the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation (CSEDC).

Ernst & Young named Carter Sterling, CEO of Sterling Lumber, as its EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2016 in the Midwest Region. The award recognizes trending entrepreneurs who have elevated their respective companies in the areas of innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

The 60-year-old family business is a national leader in the production and installation of ground protection mats for the building of electrical transmission and distribution networks, as well as major highway and bridge infrastructure and the oil industry. Sterling Lumber has been listed on Crain’s Fast Fifty in each of the last two years and has amassed a five-year growth rate of 569 percent.

Sterling Lumber has also been active in the Chicago-area urban wood market, including partnering with the Chicago Park District on a number of initiatives such as using felled park district trees to remodel the Bears Den at Soldier Field. Its division, Sterling Tree Solutions, is an active member of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team and sponsored the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference held in March.

Sterling accepted the award on behalf of his father and brothers during a black tie gala held at Navy Pier. “The timing of this award couldn’t be better,” Sterling said. “It reflects an amazing year of growth and accomplishment for our company. We’ve evolved from supplier to manufacturer in a single leap, with the goal to dominate industry sales.”

Throughout its three decades in existence, the EY Entrepreneur of the year has honored the inspirational leadership of entrepreneurs such as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Robert Unanue of Goya Foods, and Mindy Grossman of HSN. Recent U.S. national winners include Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn; Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani; and 2015 winners Andreas Bechtolsheim and Jayshree Ullal of Arista Networks.

As a Midwest Award winner, Sterling is eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 national program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur of the Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, CA, on Nov. 19. Read more about the EY Award.

Sterling-Lumber-Big-Shoes-AwardCarter Sterling was also on hand when his father John and his family were presented with 2016 Big Shoes Award by the CSEDC.

Phoenix Mayor Terry Wells told the crowd of 150 in attendance that the Sterling family was well worthy of the Big Shoes Award for bringing its business to his south suburban town.

Read more about the Big Shoes Award.



MSU Retails Wood Goods Crafted from Campus Trees

By Rich Christianson

Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, MI, is graduating many of its felled campus trees into lumber, dining tables, picture frames and other wood products, rather than relegating them to the chipper for mulch and biofuel.

The university created the MSU Shadows Collection as part of its Sustainable Wood Recovery Initiative. The collectibles, ranging from business card holders ($25) and diploma-sized frames ($50 to $150) to an American elm Waterford side Table ($750) and walnut coffee and occasional table set ($2,150), are all produced by local artisans from trees removed from campus due to decline, storm damage or construction. The items are sold online through the MSU Surplus Store with profits supporting the MSU Department of Forestry and the planting of new trees on the university’s campus

According to a presentation by Paul Swartz, campus arborist, there are more than 24,200 trees on the 2,100-acre campus and approximately 3,000 acres of farms south of the main campus. In the past these trees and branches were chipped and used as landscaping much or burned as biomass fuel. But that was before the university adopted the Sustainable Wood Recovery Initiative, “a cross-functional collaborative formed to look at processes and development of comprehensive business plan for urban wood utilization on campus.”

Among the many highlights of the initiative noted by Swartz include:

  • Developing a model recovery and repurposing supply-chain system for trees removed from MSU for the development of value added products that provide economic, environmental and social benefits to the MSU community;
  • Creating a comprehensive campus tree management system that expands the current tree inventory, maintenance, and removal practices to include wood recovery and utilization;
  • Moving from “cradle-to-grave” to a recycling-based “cradIe-to-cradIe” plan;
  • Improving waste reduction and conserving resources in line with the highest and best-use model of solid waste management promoted by MSU Sustainability; and
  • Improving the university’s total capacity for carbon sequestration through long-term use of solid wood products.

The program is being directed by Dan Brown, wood recovery coordinator at MSU. Approximately 300 trees will be removed each year. Logs suited for lumber will be milled and kiln dried MSU in a 45-year-old steam kiln operated by students under Brown’s guidance. The kiln will dry about 10,000 board feet of lumber per year.

Brown attended the March 18 Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference in Oak Brook. He toted an American elm waterfall side table made by Michigan artisan Nathan Shaver to the conference that was displayed in the Urban Wood Products Showcase.

Urban Wood Showcase: Furniture

ILWUT_LogoForm meets function with these inspirational furniture projects crafted from community trees and featured in the Urban Wood Products Showcase, a popular component of the March 18, 2016 Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL. The event was organized by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team.

Wade Ellis of Ellis Custom Sawmilling and Woodworking crafted a cherry chest that garnered the most votes in the People’s Choice awards for the Furniture Category. A train bell stand created by Jeff Perkis primarily using white oak salvaged from storm-damaged trees was second in the voting by conference participants.

Read more about each of these way cool Urban Wood Products Showcase entries.

Train Bell Stand
Jeff Perkis, Owner, Story Wood

Materials Used: Red oak, walnut and metal

Urban Wood Source: Storm-damaged trees from Reed Keppler Park of West Chicago, IL, acquired after storm of July 2012. Milled and kiln dried by Ron Meyers and myself in West Chicago. 

Theme/purpose: The City of West Chicago commissioned Perkis to create this 4-foot tall, solid red oak bell stand with walnut accents, sturdy enough to hold the approximately 80-pound train bell, which has been at the center of the spirited historical re-enactment of El Grito de la Independencia or the Cry of Independence. Perkis became aware of the need for a suitable bell stand from Lorenzo Covarrubias who holds the distinction of being West Chicago’s Patron de la Campana, or Patron of the Bell, and has offered the use of his bell for West Chicago’s El Grito for the past 23-years. Perkis designed the bell stand in the arts and crafts style of many of the homes in the area and was influenced by architect brothers Greene and Greene. He presented the stand at a public ceremony at the West Chicago City Museum attended by the mayor and art patrons. The sawdust will be used to make paper on which he will print the details of the stand’s creation so that it will “tell its story” for future generations. Read related article.

MSU Shadows Collection W- Leg Table
Nathan Shaver

Material Used: American elm

Urban Wood Source: The tree was grown on the campus of Michigan State University, and was taken down due to disease. The Department of Forestry’s Sustainable Wood Recovery Team milled and dried the lumber on campus. Local wood worker, Nathan Shaver was commissioned to build the piece for the MSU Shadow’s Collection.

Theme/Purpose: The MSU Shadows Collection has been created as part of the Sustainable Wood Recovery Initiative at Michigan State University. MSU Shadows collectibles are made from salvaged trees that are removed from campus due to decline, storm damage or construction. Trees are milled into lumber and kiln dried by MSU’s Department of Forestry. The lumber is sent to Michigan-based artisans who design and craft the items. Purchases of these handmade collectibles enhance campus sustainability through tree planting initiatives on campus, and supports student educational programs in forestry and urban wood recovery.

“Love Seat” Bench
Ron Meyers, Meyers Woodworking & Lumber, Batavia, IL

Material Used: Tree of Heaven

Urban Wood Source: Meyers Woodworking and lumber. I intervened on just another local tree heading to the dump.

Theme/purpose:  This is a small bench intended for a couple having to sit close, a love seat, to be used in a setting somewhere overlooking God’s great creations. This is why I chose The Tree of Heaven for the material.

Ebonized Elm Sofa Table
Eric Beauchamp, Beau Bois Custom Creations of Evanston, IL

Material Used: Kiln dried American elm

Urban Wood Source: Homeowners Felled Tree / Horigan Urban Forest Products. A mature American elm of an estimated age of over 130 years was cared for as the centerpiece of a garden in Evanston for over 100 years. It had been regularly inoculated against disease but to be removed as a safety precaution. The tree was felled by the arborist who had cared for it.

Some of the wood is being used to grow shitake mushrooms. Large limbs and the main trunk 14.5’ in length and 4.5’ in average diameter were taken to Horrigan Urban Forest Products where is was milled to preserve its unique character. Lumber from this tree is still available.  More information can be found at

Theme/purpose: This project was created to explore the uses of Urban-sourced American elm in art and furniture. This American elm puzzle sofa table top was created from 12 individual interlocking pieces to create the top. After assembly, the top was ebonized utilizing quebracho bark powder and iron acetate which reacts with the natural tannins to blacken the surface of the wood, while revealing the grain and character of the wood.

Oak/Cherry Coffee Table
Mike Dimitroff, Manager of Art Initiatives, Chicago Park District

Materials Used: Oak and cherry

Urban Wood Source: Chicago Park Tree. I saw this piece in the discard pile of a forestry truck after a day in the field. It was a piece that was sheared off of a trunk and had interesting tear and break features.

Theme/purpose: To utilize a broken or featured part of a felled park tree to create and interesting artifact.

I took the sheared section of a trunk and tooled it to match the natural split and shear characteristics. The result is an insect-shaped abdomen floating on three wild cherry legs.

“Furnerector Set” Table
Paul Pettigrew, Architect & Associate Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology

Materials Used: Urban white oak. Finish is a hand applied and rubbed water-based polyurethane. The legs are perforated anodized aluminum, the table-top stand-offs are anodized aluminum tubing. Fasteners are stainless steel.

Urban Wood Source: Reed Kepler Park & Ron Meyers Woodworking & Lumber

Theme/ purpose: Design Indeterminacy/”Furnerector Set” table explores the idea of indeterminate outcome. How might I design a functional object whose final form and aesthetic are beyond my final design control. The project’s four metal legs and hardware allow for urban wood components to be rearranged, added, subtracted and altered over time. The possible future permutations are infinite and depend on the final user’s preferences both today and tomorrow.

Design indeterminacy is seen as the antithesis of what I was taught as an architecture student and architect, i.e. I arrive at a final design, I make a set of construction drawings and the project is built as drawn. Design indeterminacy grows out of my interest in vernacular architecture and vernacular architecture’s tradition of multiple generations, continuously adding onto and altering structures over time.  Recently, I have watched many of my architectural projects get altered, renovated and/or modified without my input. As an architect, I have completed projects that have altered the work of previous architects with my only having the vaguest of clues as to what the original architect might have intended. Alteration, renovation and modification can remain “out of the control” of the architect/designer or the architect/designer can make future alteration, renovation and modification part of the initial design. By making alteration, renovation and modification part of the original design and providing future change-makers clues, invitations and/or encouragements for the future, I am hoping that my work will have a longer life whether it lives on in its original form or a future form anticipated by me, the works original designer.



Urban Wood Showcase: Specialty Items

ILWUT_LogoFascinating and fun things can be made using urban wood salvaged from community trees.

The items featured here are among an eclectic assortment of “Specialty Items” featured at the Urban Wood Products Showcase during the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, March 18 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL. The event was organized by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team.

Paul Pettigrew, architect and associate professor of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology of Chicago, was the People’s Choice for first place in the Specialty Items category for his Electric Acoustic Ukelele and Amp. Second place went to Eric Beachamp, owner of Beau Bois Custom Creations of Evanston, IL, for his Fractal Elm Trays.

Read more about each of these Magnificent 7 projects.

Electric Acoustic Ukelele and Ukelele Amplifier
Paul Pettigrew, Architect and Associate Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago

Materials Used: Spalted soft maple, hard maple, rosewood, chrome-plated ukulele tuners, miscellaneous metal components and miscellaneous electronics

Urban Wood Source: Jack Meyer Wood Supply of Sawyer, MI, told me that this soft maple tree came down in a storm in Buchanan, MI, a number of years ago. It was sawn into lumber onsite with a portable saw mill, dried in a converted metal container kiln and stored for a number of years in a garage on his property.

Theme/purpose: The idea for this project came from the old story of being able to pick up a sea shell, place it over your ear and hear the sounds of the ocean. I liked the idea of being able to “hear the sounds” of Buchanan Michigan, the source of wood for the ukulele and amplifier. The player and audience can hear the sound of Buchanan’s spalted soft maple either in its acoustic form or electric form depending on the performance.

Fractal Elm Trays
Eric Beauchamp, Beau Bois Custom Creations of Evanston, IL

Material Used: American Elm

Urban Wood Source: Homeowner’s felled tree processed by Horigan Urban Forest Products. It was a mature American Elm estimated at over 130 years old that was cared for as the centerpiece of a garden in Evanston for more than 100 years. It had been regularly inoculated against disease but had to be removed as a safety precaution. The tree was felled by the arborist who had cared for it.

Some of the wood is being used to grow shitake mushrooms. Large limbs and the main trunk 14.5’ in length and 4.5’ in average diameter were taken to Horrigan Urban Forest Products where is was milled to preserve its unique character. Lumber from this tree is still available.  More information can be found at

Theme/purpose: This project was created to explore the uses of urban-sourced American Elm in art and furniture projects. These trays were shaped from American Elm. High-voltage electricity was introduced to the surface of the wood to burn fractal designs into the surface of the wood.

Assorted Wooden Boxes
John Lough, Senior City Forester, City of Chicago

Materials Used: Black walnut, red elm, ash and Spanish cedar

Urban Wood Source: Various tree removal projects on private property in the Chicago area

Various woods were reclaimed from tree removal projects. These boxes were made from smaller pieces of wood which otherwise would have been used for firewood or ground into mulch.

Theme/purpose: Use of reclaimed wood to make decorative and functional gifts.

“Furnerector Set” Lamp
Paul Pettigrew, Architect and Associate Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago

Materials Used: Walnut from the urban forest, laser cut perforated acrylic, perforated anodized aluminum, stainless steel fasteners, braided lamp chord, wi-fi enabled light bulb

Urban Wood Sources: Horigan Urban Forest Products & Meyers Woodworking and Lumber

Theme/purpose: While driving I thought about my new Apple watch, iPhone, the life wi-fi enabled lightbulb, the lightbulbs socket switch and chord and the structure that houses the bulb, socket, switch and chord. There are components that are analog and digital. There are components that have not changed much in the last 100+ years since light bulb sockets, chords and switches were invented and there are new components that have arrived on the design scene as part of a digital revolution and concern for the environment.

There are components that can be considered hardware, i.e. support components, socket, chord, switch, bulb, iPhone, Apple watch and there are components that can be considered software IOS 9.2 (phone) & OS 2.1 (watch). The idea for this piece is that just as the software can be updated, improved and given additional/different functionality, so too can the physical components that support all of this. I wanted to design a “lamp” that behaved less like hardware and more like software. I wanted the “lamp” to be as infinitely upgradeable as software and operating systems. All of the components for this lamp can be taken apart, re-arranged, re-placed, added or subtracted over time by a single owner or multiple owners.

Something like the lamp has been with us for quite some time. Artificial light used for ambient, task, decorative and perhaps even protective purposes has been with us for as long as man has known how to control and eventually make fire. Camp-fire, torch, candle, lightbulb/lamp is a familiar sequence and our relationship to these sources of light have been practical at one end of the spectrum and romantic at another end. To be able to control the intensity and color of light using a phone and/or watch is a unique situation if ever-changing possibilities and potential.

Soccer Ball
Ron Meyers, Meyers Woodworking & Lumber of Batavia, IL

Material Used: Oak and walnut

Urban Wood Source: Meyers Woodworking and Lumber. The logs were acquired from tree care companies and municipalities in the western suburbs of Chicago. I dried and milled the lumber.

Theme/ purpose: I was intrigued with the shape of the soccer ball and challenged myself to make one using urban wood. Piecing the wood required precision cutting and gluing. There are two different pieces required to make a soccer ball – a pentagon and a hexagon.  The soccer ball was donated to the Illinois Wood Utilization Team for education and demonstration purposes.

Walnut Wall Hanging
John Lough, Senior City Forester, City of Chicago

Material Used: Natural edge black walnut

Urban Wood Source: Tree from private yard

A homeowner contacted a local wood trim miller and asked if he wanted a black walnut tree the owner wanted removed from his property. The tree was leaning and the owner feared it was going to fall on the neighbor’s house. The mill owner called me knowing I was interested in using salvaged wood, and I worked out a deal with the homeowner to remove the tree in exchange for the wood. I sawed one of the smaller limbs with a band saw and book matched it to create this decorative wall hanging.

Theme/purpose: The purpose was to display the color of sap and heart wood of black walnut using a small branch normally discarded in the removal process. The walnut branch was book matched and the bark preserved to give the illusion of a single symmetrical piece of wood.

Stacking Storage Boxes
Paul Pettigrew, Architect and Associate Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology of Chicago

Materials Used: Urban wood (and a couple of non urban) scraps, acrylic, aluminum, stainless steel and rubber fasteners

Urban Wood Source: Horigan Urban Forest Products and Meyers Woodworking and Lumber. These are leftovers from previous projects that I had been collecting since 2008 when I first started working with urban wood. The urban wood sources are probably the Chicago area and Buchanan, MI.

Theme/ purpose: This is a project I made working alongside my IIT Architecture & Furniture students. It is a stack of five storage boxes inspired by a workbench full of material scraps made over a weekend; the final design/outcome unknown or at risk. The five  boxes can be rearranged and rotated into a near infinite number of configurations. (My daughter helped me with the math on this one…5! (factorial) to the 4th possible configurations). Rearranging the boxes allows for 120 possible configurations. If rotating each box four different ways is factored into the equation the number of possible arrangements is 120 to the 4th.

The assignment is inspired by excerpts from The Nature and Art of Workmanship by David Pye: “If I must ascribe a meaning to the word craftsmanship, I shall say as a first approximation that it means simply workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on judgment, dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works. The essential idea is that the quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making; and so I shall call this kind of workmanship ‘The workmanship of risk’: an uncouth phrase, but at least descriptive.”

Urban Wood Products Showcase Winners Strut Their Stuff

ILWUT_LogoBy Rich Christianson

Among the many highlights of the Bringing the Urban Wood Full Circle Conference held March 18 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook was the Urban Wood Products Showcase. The showcase 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. Nearly all of the entries also told a story about their lives as trees and their rebirth as functional and/or fun products.

Conference delegates got to vote for their favorite products on display in the showcase. First and second place People’s Choice Awards were awarded for two judging categories: Furniture and Specialty Items.

In the hotly contested Furniture category, Wade Ellis, owner of Ellis Custom Sawing and Woodworking of West Chicago, IL, took top honors for his gorgeous cherry chest. The chest was literally a last-minute entry. It took a strong write-in campaign to win first place.

Finishing second was a bell stand designed and fabricated by Jeff Perkis, owner of Story Wood. West Chicago City Museum, which maintains a record of the town’s railroad roots, commissioned Perkis to create the solid red oak stand with walnut accents to hold an old 80-pound train bell. Urban wood used for the project was salvaged from West Chicago community trees damaged in a 2012 storm. The wood was milled and kiln dried by Perkins and his uncle Ron Meyers of Meyers Woodworking & Lumber in Batavia, IL. The bell was finished by Ken Wier, owner of i2i Design of Wood Dale, IL. Meyers and Wier were among runner ups in the Furniture category.

An electric acoustic ukulele and amplifier crafted by Paul Pettigrew, architect and associate professor of the Illinois Institute of Technology was the top winner of the Specialty Items category. The musical instrument combo incorporates spalted soft maple, hard maple, rosewood and chrome-plated ukulele tuners. Like a sea shell captures ocean sounds, Pettigrew said, “I liked the idea of being able to ‘hear the sounds’ of Buchanan, Michigan, the source of the wood for the ukulele and amplifier.”

Eric Beauchamp of Beau Bois Custom Creations of Evanston, IL, took second place with a set of Fractal Elm Trays. Wood for the trays came from an American elm tree estimated at more than 130 years old that Beauchamp said “was cared for as the centerpiece of a garden in Evanston.” The tree was removed as a “safety precaution.” The main trunk, 14.5 feet long and 4.5 feet in diameter, was milled and kiln dried by Horigan Forest Products of Skokie, IL.

The Urban Wood Products Showcase was coordinated by John Lough, Senior City Forester of Chicago. Photos and information of all of the entries will be  posted on in the coming weeks.

Hardwood Workshop Covers Logs to Lumber

Illinois Wood Utilization Team

Dan Cassens prepares to cut a log on a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill.

Illinois Wood UtilizationTeam

Prof. Cassens had an attentive group of students eager to learn more about hardwood properties and markets.

By Rich Christianson

Attaining the most value from hardwood logs, including those harvested from the urban forest, was the running theme of the Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop held Thursday, March 17 at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, IL.

Prof. Dan Cassens, wood products extension specialist at Purdue University, and owner of Cassens Lumber of West Lafayette, IN, presented a mix of classroom and hands on instruction to an audience mostly made up of sawyers, woodworkers and arborists.

Some of the classroom topics Cassens lectured on included wood quality and characteristics, log scaling, hardwood grading pricing and marketing, optimizing sawing patterns and wood moisture and drying. All of the topics were geared to helping nimble custom wood producers better understand how they can successfully compete in hardwood lumber and product markets.

The classroom exercises were broken up by a mid-day sawmill demonstration. Cassens used a portable Wood-Mizer sawmill to mill logs provided by the DuPage County Forest Preserve into lumber.

The workshop was organized by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team on the eve of the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference.